I teach you how to make the best out of your Cold Calling efforts.
I’m going to teach you how to become a cold calling shark. Your closings per hour will increase and you will find your calls happening with more ease and effectiveness. Get rid of the cold calling jitters and into the hot seat because by the time I’m done with you, you’ll be on fire!
I’ve been in sales the majority of my life and for many years, being self employed out of High School, I never really knew what a good sales person was. I just did what I had to to bring in business and never gave much thought to it.
My first business was a web design company that I started as a sophomore and later sold at 21 years old. I was in the music business for a number of years and I was one of the top Pro/Am MMA fight promoters in the country for 6 years. Of all the businesses I’ve had and learned from, one thing I realized was that I was always selling and building relationships. However, I didn’t recognize this as being a big deal until I got tired of the ups and downs of self employment and began working for someone else. I put out on Facebook that I was looking for a career change and someone who owned a local Mortgage Branch that had come to to my MMA events for years instantly had me come into his office to sell me on becoming a Mortgage Loan Officer. I took a leap of faith and entered a completely different industry I knew absolutely nothing about and he assured me that with my skill sets, it wouldn’t matter. What I knew he couldn’t teach me and what I didn’t know I’d learn. In an environment where all other loan officers had 1 to 2 million dollar loan pipes I built mine to over 7 million.
I was making 150 calls a day to non exclusive leads with an interest in refinancing their homes. I was competing with 15 other loan officers for business on every call and it was my job to not only sell them on the company, but me. I did it well. I later took on a new role as the Director Of Business Development for my branch, but now focusing on building realtor relationships instead of refinance business. You see I’ve been in marketing for 15 years in several different industries. I had a lot of skill sets that I never realized were so valuable to someone else. So, we decided to take my strengths and apply them without my having to worry about the ups and downs in the industry and it’s been working out very well. I’m now not just working to help 1 branch manager but multiple branch managers in 2 states. My passion however, is helping others achieve their goals.
I love teaching and educating others on how to become a better version of themselves by using my experience and arming them with tools to help them, which is why I’m writing this guide on cold calling. The fact is, you don’t need a 500 page novel and collection of DVD’s to help turn your cold calling around. All you’ll need is what I provide you in this article and the biggest thank you that you can offer, is a positive comment and sharing it with your co-workers. Maybe someday, I’ll be able to speak to you and your co-workers in a seminar and really help you take things to the next level, but for now, let’s get started.
Do You Believe?
I’m an emotional guy. Plain and simple. I feel things. I was a bit of an empath as a child and would just know things about people when meeting or talking to them. As such, if I’m selling something, I have to truly believe in it or I’m already cut off at the legs. Whether you are reading this to help you get a job in sales or you just want to get better at it, ask yourself… Do I believe in what I’m selling? If the answer is no, then you need to do one of two things. A. Walk away and find something you do believe in or B. Dig deeper into what you’re selling and find the things that inspire you to stand behind it. Quite frankly if you don’t believe you are offering something that a person needs, you can’t inspire them to want it from you.
For example: Let’s say your job is to set meetings for a Loan Officer or yourself as a Loan Officer. You need real estate agents to want to send their buyers to you for financing. Now, these realtors are being called by multiple LO’s every week and it’s your job to stand out amongst the rest. How do you do that? Some training courses would have you beat an agent down with call after call until they submit to a meeting. Does that work? I’d say, it depends on your market but where I’m from that would only get you blacklisted from every agent in the area because they all hang out and know each other and you don’t want to be known as the pest that nobody wants to deal with. In bigger markets that tactic may work but ultimately I think it’s bad practice. The fact is, if you truly believe in what you are offering, you will find yourself more capable of being naturally inspirational about it and if it takes a couple of calls over the course of a couple of weeks, that’s just fine too in some cases depending on what you’re selling.
Make a list of all of the positive things that separate you from your competitor. In the case of a Loan Officer with my company my list would look like this:
We are an agency direct lender that can close loans other lenders can’t.
We have in house underwriting.
We service the majority of our loans instead of selling them (Less underwriting headaches).
We are team based with a focus on strong communication.
We are focused on building lifelong relationships.
Every loan matters.
We close on time, every time.
Now, this sounds like I’m pitching you on my company, but that’s not the case at all. What we are doing is creating inspiration and rebuttals. You see, I know this list to be true and thus inspiring to me because I know what my target market, i.e Realtors need to help their business. I’m not just trying to sell them on a “service” I offer, I’m trying to convince them to want to learn more about something I believe will truly help their business if they give me the opportunity to show them. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in.
Believing in what you are offering someone else isn’t just about knowing what your company can do or what your product is, it’s about being able to solve problems. A problem is the cause for the birth of invention. It’s about knowing your customer and being able to relate to them while providing a solution. Chance are, if you have been making cold calls and falling on your face it’s because of one or both of two things. A. You don’t believe in what you’re selling thus, you can’t convince someone else to. B. You lack the knowledge of what your selling to be confident enough in it to not be beaten by the person you’re calling. Have you ever had a sales interview where the sales manager asked you to sell him a pen? Lame, right? Take his pen, grab a sheet of paper and write up a quick agreement that says “I, Jason Appleton will work for you for one year, at no expense to you. This agreement is made by and between myself and ___________ Sales Manager. Signed, Jason Appleton and _________” and must be signed by both parties using the pen in Jason Appleton’s hand.” then give it to him. He will need your pen to sign the agreement and you happen to have one for however much you want to be paid for that first year. Obviously, this is creating demand and a solution to a problem.
So, I want you to think of your product, company or service and create a list of the reasons why it will help your target over what your competition is offering. We will be coming back to it.
As I said above, one of if not the biggest hurdle you’ll face in cold calling is confidence.
Confidence in what you’re selling and confidence in yourself to not be beaten on every call. Just today I was coaching someone on making cold calls to realtors and I told him to go through his CRM and randomly click a name. He did, and I said now look at the profile and previous notes. What can you tell about the person based on this. The profile had a photo of a woman, her company and a note about how busy she was having to deal with her kids during the summer and not much time to get things done and didn’t have time for meetings. I said ok, now call her and get a meeting with her. He looked at me and said “but her notes say she doesn’t have time”. Put on the spot, he froze, he was presented with a problem and didn’t have the confidence to turn the problem into a positive solution. I called the realtor myself and talked to her for about 10 minutes and booked the meeting.
My associate was shocked, as was everyone else that heard everything going on in the office. How did I book the meeting? I used the notes someone had entered in the past that explained how this realtor beat them during their call and used it as a means of beating her. The fact is, everyone has 15 minutes or so to meet, you just have to give them a good enough reason why. I told her that I understood she was very busy this summer, but it’s time we began planning for how she was going to ramp up her business when her kids go back to school. Now, there was obviously more involved in the call such as questions she had about the company, a little joking around to keep her off edge and slightly entertained and a system of things I’ve learned to do naturally to build rapport and inspire the target for the meeting.
This woman’s reason for declining meetings was because she was too busy with her kids. Everyone has a reason not to buy, commit or be closed. Your job is to figure out what that is and hopefully, with enough practice be able slam dunk a rebuttal or two on the fly without having to follow up later. Everyone has a button and when pushed, they are yours. Some people have an ego button, a results button, a caution button etc. You have to figure out what that button is in the limited time you have with them on the phone and push it to get the close. Confidence also comes from being prepared. If I sent you to war with a butter knife would you feel confident? What if we planned your attack and armed you with the gear you needed to accomplish your goal? Preparation is as much a part of building confidence as everything else. You will learn more about this in the prospecting section.
When someone tells you no and gives you a reason, they are giving you a road map to how to connect with them and become a solution for them. If you aren’t solving their problems, you’re adding to them. Confidence enabled me to close that meeting. I have established confidence in multiple ways including the fact that I believe in what I’m selling which in this case is partially listed above in the Belief section. I also know my business and my product, our limitations and our strengths so that I can better control the conversation to flow in the direction I want it to go.
To be confident about what you’re selling, you have to believe in it and know everything you can about it.
Now you might be saying, “I believe in my product or service and I know everything about it, but I still struggle with rejection and am so afraid of saying the wrong thing or looking stupid.”
I see this a lot and the reality is, not only are you thinking too much about one person (it really is a numbers game after all is said and done) but you’re giving yourself too much credit. What I mean is, chances are any calls you make today aren’t going to remember you at all in a week unless you closed them. You are likely one of MANY sales calls this person gets in a week and unless you are TRYING to piss them off, you are just another voice in the midst of other voices trying to get something out of them (until you’ve proven to them through your belief, passion and education that you are actually trying to open an opportunity for them not the other way around). When it comes to Business To Business calls, especially when you’re dealing with the whales of your industry, most of them will know they are being sold even if you’re amazing at it, and will respect you for being amazing at it. They understand rebuttals, going for the close and all of that and there is no shame at all in being prepared and showing them how passionate you are about something you know will help them and if you’ve done your job well, they will not only have been closed but they will respect your talent and likely your company. If you are that good at your job, maybe everyone else at your company is as good at theirs…
All of that being said, without being one on one with you, to know your strengths and weakness I will say that if you are naturally a bit dry, calm, boring, monotone, etc, then it’s time to reinvent your phone persona. You’re alter ego if you will. People respond to infectious positivity, happiness, confidence and knowledge. You are trying to attract commitment from other people using only your voice and if you aren’t able to do so naturally, you’ll have to fake it until you make it. If this is you, I want you to think of some amazing sales people you’ve seen either in movies or elsewhere. Have you seen Boiler Room? If not, stop reading this right now and go watch it, 5 times. At least the first half.
Their sales approach in the movie isn’t very personal and complete BS, but the idea is, you have to establish that confidence in your pitch and if you have to channel a different personality to feel comfortable with it, then go for it.
Picture yourself wealthy, full of vibrance and of great health. You’re great looking, great smelling and everyone wants to know you, but you only have time for the people on the other end of your phone. These people are who you care about. They have something you want and you have solutions to their problems and you won’t let their ignorance allow them to push you away. You will educate, inspire, entertain and close these people because that’s what you do. You will be cheerful, charming and quick witted and capture their interest and attention and talk as long as it takes until you feel the opportunity to strike. This is your new alter ago, name this person and when you wake up in the morning, tired and groggy, go into the bathroom and look in the mirror and practice being this other person. If you are this person on the phone, nothing can stop you and if by some chance this person gets rejected, its not you being rejected, it’s this alter ego. You can be anyone you want to be on the phone. If you know you aren’t cutting it as you, be someone else and get the close.
When I’m making calls, I go through my CRM and get my agenda setup for the day. I start with the lowest tier targets to get into my groove. Lowest tier being the people who have the least to offer my business but are worth calling on. This enables me to warm up and set the pace. There is nothing worse than leaving voice messages all day long and one thing I’ve learned is, the people who are at the top of their game are typically the ones who answer their phone. The ones who never answer their phone are typically the ones who are lazy busy. Meaning, if they have to make a phone call, respond to an email and have a meeting in the same day, they are slammed and neglect their business. These people are great practice and depending on how you do your prospecting and what industry you’re in, you can typically figure out who these people are. These people are confidence builders because if the call doesn’t go well, so what. And if it does, it can really get you ramped up for the calls you do care about.
Preparing Your CRM
Preparing my CRM to me is my very first step in locking and loading for war. I open up my CRM and as I add new contacts, I try to find as much as I can about them so that when I call them, I know as much as possible about them with which to establish a connection. What all you are able to get will depend on your industry and who you are calling, of course. If you’re B2B, then this is much easier because if you have a name, phone and company, you can locate pretty much anything you want. I will add a photo of them to my CRM so that when I talk to them, I am looking at their picture to create more of a “face to face” vibe during the call, and I’ll reference their name, phone number and or email address into Facebook to find them there and see what tidbits I can uncover about them, such as are they dog lovers, fisherman, married, have children? Whats their favorite movie? Music? Etc. All things that can come up in casual sales conversation and build a connection.
If you’re selling a product and or service to an individual, the information you have may be more limited but you can generally get a name, phone and email to reference around the web to gather intel.
You are a shark, circling your prey and they don’t even know it until you dial the number and strike. You have the upper hand. You know who they are, what they like and don’t like and you have a lot in common, right? Of course you do.
What you gather about the person can very much help you determine your approach when you call them. Are they at the top of their game or industry and likely very busy? Maybe they are new to their industry and could use a strong contact with lots of support and perhaps some introductions? The more you know, the better your calls will be. With enough practice, you will be able to size someone up based on just how they answer the phone and know exactly what direction to take the call from there for maximum benefit.
Now, a lot of this may sound like I’m wanting you to become someone you aren’t and do and say anything you have to to get the close. I’m not. Nothing is better than a sincere sales person that truly cares about their customers and that sincerity shows through. What I’m saying is, you have to find where you are most comfortable so that you can engage your customers from a place of strength which will free your mind to achieving your goals. I genuinely care about everyone I call. I refer to them as targets in this article because they are in fact targets. You have placed a bullseye on them because they have something you need with which to feed your family. Your target is your goal.
Read this article a couple of times and then put it into practice and I promise you that your results will get better. Practice makes perfect and you will likely fumble and foil for a while, but MAKE ANOTHER CALL. Don’t screw up a call and waste time feeling sorry for yourself or trying to ramp yourself back up to make another one. JUST DO IT. Challenge yourself to make more calls each day than you did the day before and before long, you will be closing more of those calls than you ever have. Everyone has bad days and nothing is worse than talking to voice mail boxes all day, but you’ll have those days too.
Keep pushing forward friend!