Do you have a fear of the phone?
Believe it or not there is such a thing!, A fear of the phone and cold calling is a condition known as Atychiphobia*1 “an irrational and persistent fear of failing at something, and it’s been found to cause anxiety, panic and feelings of powerlessness.”
Fortunately, I don’t suffer with Atychiphobia, I love my job, I really do. I love picking up the phone and calling someone I’ve never spoken to before, from the gatekeeper to the CEO. After all they’re flesh and bone like you and me!
But there are some people who, even at the thought of picking up that phone and dialling, start to develop a cold sweat, clammy hands, and a raised heartbeat. Does this sound familiar?
Well, hopefully the following will give you a few hints on how to overcome your fear of COLD CALLING.
1. Identify and accept what your fear is, what’s holding you back?
Is it speaking to someone you don’t know or of a superior position? Is it picking up the phone and dialling? Is it what you have to say?
Whatever it is, identify the fear, acknowledge and accept it and practice, practice, practice!!
2. Research – know who you are calling.
Do some background research on your prospect. Take a look at their website or connect on LinkedIn. I’m not talking about stalking your prospect, but just get a brief background knowledge into the person, the company and their market. You could even research what their competitors are up to.
3. Relax, BREATHE and be you! After all, people buy from people.
Start by taking a few deep breaths for 30 seconds to concentrate on your breathing.
By all means use a script, follow the process, but make sure you add your own flavour, your own personality. Take a lead from your prospect, their tone of voice, their position within the company.
4. Have a script – use this as a guide, as your first 20 seconds are golden.
Ensure you have opening and qualifying questions, (the aim of your call), important references or case studies you want to mention. Keep it short and sweet. Explain why you are calling – is it to book an online demo or to arrange a meeting? Usually prospects are busy and prefer to be emailed. If so, always email on the premise that you will call in a day or so to follow up. Close the call and arrange a call back date.
5. Speak calmly, slowly and clearly
Ensuring your prospect can fully understand what you are saying. Try not to use acronyms, jargon or slang, unless the prospect you are speaking to is knowledgeable in the relevant industry. By speaking at a slower pace and lowering your tone you give the impression of confidence, authority and knowledge, enabling you to take control of the conversation, and ensuring you will be listened to.
6. Product/Service knowledge:
You will have a lot more success if you speak with knowledge about your subject matter. Get to know the product/service and not just the USP’s (unique selling points) but the negative aspects too (hopefully there will only be a couple!). Point out how the product/service could help the prospect, by saving money, time or making their processes easier and more efficient. Prospects who have a specific challenge or pain point will have already identified what is on the market and will have done their own market research. Be prepared to have some competitor knowledge. The aim is not to sell, but to be a wealth of information to the prospect.
7. Create your own process.
For me, I like to identify and make my warm & hot leads a priority for calling first. Once I have completed those calls, I then open up and start the next 20, I also record the conversation, email if necessary, and set a follow up task whether that be a follow up call, email or confirming a virtual meeting/call/demo etc.
8. Record your calls!
Some phone systems or CRM systems (Customer Relationship Management Systems) can record your phone conversations. This is a great tool to have as it enables you to playback the call and identify what you said to lead to your confirmed booking. There are numerous CRM systems on the market, so research what you want to record. After all, you cannot remember every conversation you have had, especially if you need to call the prospect back in 3 days, a week or a month’s time! Also a CRM not only enables you to log your conversations but you can also email, create future tasks, import data ….. the list is endless!
9. GDPR & Compliance.
As you know GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into force in May 2018, monitoring and recording how we collect and process personal data. In short, whether you are making a sales or marketing call or sending an email, you must have legitimate interest to approach your prospect. More information on this can be found here.