Making cold calls is a fact of life for sales professionals. It's part of the job. However, a recent study found that nearly 50 percent of sales professionals are afraid of making cold calls. The primary reasons for cold calling reluctance are the fear of sounding like a sales professional and fear of failure, according to Weldon Long, author of Consistency Selling in an HBR blog post.
Weldon's advises sales professionals to get over the fact that they sound like a sales person because that is who they are. He recommends that sales professionals recognize that selling is an honorable profession. Sales professionals in kitchen and bath showrooms improve the quality of their customers' lives, enhance the value of their homes, solve problems, avoid unnecessary expenses and improve the quality of family time, among other benefits. Weldon relates, "When you dial someone's phone number or walk into their office, remember this: You are there to help them improve their lives and businesses. Be proud of that."
Demonstrating value is key to cold calling effectiveness. Look through the lens of the person with whom you want to establish a business relationship. What is it about your showroom that creates value for the customer? With KBIS coming up, a possible approach could be, "Hi, we just returned from the largest kitchen and bath trade show in North America and have written a summary of style and design trends we found at the show. Would you like a copy? I'd be happy to email you one if you would like to share your email address with me? Another option, "Our showroom has started a new blog to help our customers and partners keep their fingers on the pulse of new technologies, trends and products. Would you like for us to email you a copy or add you to our distribution list?"
If your sales professionals don't make cold calls because they are afraid they will fail, that is a self-fulfilling prophecy. To overcome this fear, Weldon recommends role-playing with coworkers who may be experiencing similar anxieties. The primary reason for role play is to remind the brain that there is nothing to fear in making a cold call. The worst thing that can happen is nothing happens. Another strategy for overcoming fears of the cold call is to offer something of value to the prospect. It may be a trend analysis, new product information, new project information or something else that creates value to your customer.
Making cold calls is essential to sales success. Weldon reminds us that the services that sales professionals provide are valuable because more often than not sales professionals help their clients and customers solve problems. That is priceless.