Cold calling is something that a lot of people are afraid of and for good reason. For some reason this small house-hold item is a fear when it comes to business owners. We don't have a problem calling our friends and family, but we have a huge problem calling people that we don't know. It doesn't matter if we have their permission or not, we still have that fear. No matter what type of business you work, whether it's your own or you're an employee of a business, you need to make sales. The phone is one of the ways to make it happen. Remember that what you offer will help people, so all you need to do is find them and show them why they need our business.
If you use a leads generation program or search the internet manually looking for sales leads, you are already off to a good start. What you got was the information for not just consumers in general, but consumers within your targeted market. Instead of acquiring a list of nothing but emails, you searched the internet with related keywords and found individuals who are in need of what you have to sell. This already puts you a step ahead of other business owners who waste their money on those standard email lists. But what comes next? Next, you need to covert your leads into actual sales. When it comes to converting a list of sales leads into actual sales, there are some important points you want to keep in mind.
You don't want people to think you are the same as everyone else do you? The answer to that question is always 'No' and that's what it should be. You want people to think you are the best and they should always go with you every time. You need to find a way to stand out above the rest and make people notice. No matter where they come in contact with you; whether it is over the phone, in person, or on your website, you must be someone they notice and remember. When you make a sales call, you need to make sure you do it properly from start to finish. When this happens, you'll likely get the sale every time. When you start the conversation, make sure you start off on the right foot.
Building customer relationships can be very difficult - especially in some industries where customer contact time is minimal. Yet, the businesses and individuals who manage to find a way are the ones who will be successful. The quickest way I have found to build a customer relationship is to find a point of connection that is separate from the business. Many years ago, I had a very good client called Noel. He was purchasing manager of a large electronics retailer and I represented a company that supplied up-market hi-fi equipment. Noel, I discovered, was a keen woodcarver - exhibiting at the annual show and even being paid to carve some doors for a local church.
Cold calling as a sales tactic has been around for years. In days gone by, it was a successful strategy-more successful than sitting in your office and waiting for customers to magically appear, at least. Unfortunately, the majority of businesses haven't seemed to notice that as a sales tactic, cold calling is certifiably dead. If cold calling is dead, why are so many businesses still using it? The answer lies in the sad truism, "If it ain't dead, don't fix it." After all, salespeople reason, if cold calling has worked in the past, and if it still gets some results, why stop using it? As recently as March 2007, one Xerox salesman admitted that he made 55 cold calls a day (30 in person and 25 over the phone).
The reigning theory is that price is the only thing that motivates people to buy - reduce the price and they all flock in, increase the price and they all flock off somewhere else. We take in less to have more! Why we discount ourselves Before we look at profitable alternatives to sales, let us see why we really reduce our prices. Let us get honest. Get a piece of paper and write down your scariest or most embarrassing moment. Got it? Yes, that was probably easy to remember. Now, write down the time when you felt the most safe or comfortable. Got it? No? Not so easy is it? We remember the negative things better than we remember the positive things. You have 200 customers coming in and buying your products/services and they come back again and again, saying, in effect, "we like you, what you sell and your prices".
Unfortunately, we do it the long, hard way: we assume - and this is a baseline assumption in the sales industry - that when we notice a 'need' that our solution can fulfill, we have a prospect. Yet we consistently close 7% of our 'prospects.' Obviously our assumption that a prospect with a need which our solution can resolve is a specious assumption. A NEED DOESN'T MEAN A PURCHASE What we forget is that the 'need' has been sitting in a buyer's environment (I call it their system) for some time. Sitting somewhat comfortably, or it would have been fixed already. Not only that, but the environment has created work-arounds - jobs, rules, relationships - that keep the 'need' in place daily.
Running after a client when you don't know what prompts her decision to purchase is frustrating. Feeling as if your sales strategy is not working and that you are not connecting with that strategy in a successful way is uncomfortable. You begin to fear you are missing out on success, and every time you see one of your competitors close a deal that fear gets confirmation. You can ask your clients as many questions as you want, you can stay in touch expecting to be the most visible vendor when the time to purchase arrives but none of that really influences the client's decision to purchase. What makes this all so confusing is the lack of a hook by which to establish some control over your client's thought process.
Dealing with people at various phases of purchasing is a confusing situation. Not only does it seem as if each person offers a different challenge, but just keeping track of who is the next most likely buyer is frustrating. You are forced to guess who to give attention to, always fearing you might be missing a better opportunity. In these circumstances your sales funnel is working against you; it's intimidating you. What's even worse, is knowing there's an affective way to use a sales funnel, but not having it at your disposal. You keep running from possibility to possibility hoping you're on the right course but getting more stressed from all the haphazard follow up calls.
1. Employ people that understand small business. If possible, employ people that have owned a small business in the past or were brought up in a family of entrepreneurs. 2. They want to deal with people that respect some of the challenges they face on a daily basis. Get your HR department to get your sales people trained up on how to deal with small business 3. Be open and honest when dealing with entrepreneurs. If we realize you've lied to us we'll bad mouth you forever 4. Get involved in the small business community. We love buying from corporations that support us 5. Simplify your pitch keep the jargon for the big companies. Keep it simple tell us the price and the benefits and give us 3 options 6.