Cold calling is like that old annoying grandfather you wish you never had.
He is important to (actually created) your existence. Yet despite making you cringe all the time, you can’t get rid of him. Not so easily.
Nothing beats the good old phone. Pick it up. Call the prospect. Simple.
Cold calling is hard. And because it’s hard, we avoid it.
And because we avoid it, they make excuses for it. Some even claim cold calling is dead. Whatever.
Fill the Pipeline
One of the best contributions to the cold calling debate that I’ve ever read has been from David Brock.
David is the head of Partners in Excellence. He concluded his argument (which you should definitely read) that:
“It is our job to fill our pipelines. In the face of the alternatives, cold calling becomes a necessity. As bad as the ROI of cold calling might be (and I’m not convinced it’s bad), it’s always better than the ROI of nothing.”
I couldn’t agree any less with David. We built a sales pipeline of over $250,000 in 7 weeks with intensive cold calling in one project.
But I get it.
Business owners and sales reps despise cold calling because of the rejection. We fear rejection. And the psychological dent it tends to have on our self-worth.
Self-concept and Cold Calling Fear
Everything in sales and appointment setting rises and falls on the psychology.
Brian Tracy wrote the classic, The Psychology of Selling.
He said (emphasis added):
“If you have a poor self-concept [beliefs you have about yourself] with regard to prospecting, you will approach prospecting with fear and anxiety. You will avoid it wherever possible.
The very idea of prospecting will make you tense and uneasy. You will do as little of it as possible and continually look for ways to avoid the activity.”
What happens in a cold call is often an effect of the psychology we have before that call.
I thought this was mumbo-jumbo crap. Then I paid more attention. If we can master the because (ie. psychology), we can master the effect.
3 Questions for Overcoming the Cold Calling Fear
So I found three questions that can help business owners and sales reps master the because.
1) What is the return on an empty pipeline?
That’s the title of David’s article, by the way (again do check it out!). This is a great question for overcoming cold calling fear.
Effective cold calls are the fastest way to get in front of potential customers. They need close to no capital. Yet, the net effect is always positive.
It helps you create more opportunities. That’s what makes a sales pipeline a pipeline. The opportunities.
Sooner than later, your opportunities will dry out. For different reasons. And you’ll need more opportunities to meet your annual quota.
Cold calling creates that environment to improve our pipeline. This, as you’d agree, is way better than an empty pipeline.
But more than that, we lose all the opportunities out there when you don’t cold call consistently.
Just as buyers tend to respond better to value losses than value gains, I’ve often found the loss of opportunities can be significantly motivating for cold calling.
2) What is the return on rejection?
Heck, rejection is unnatural. As long as you’re NOT in sales.
In fact, it is unnatural to NOT have rejection when you’re in sales.
If you’re not getting a consistent rejection, you’re not creating consistent opportunities.
Which is why I am convinced that ‘NO’ is the most valuable metric in sales prospecting. Same is true in cold calling.
If you’re to categorize the reasons for cold call rejections (not counting ones from gatekeepers), it could well fit under these three folds:
- Bad timing
- Poor fit/wrong stakeholder
- Not interested (which also falls under bad timing)
As you’d realize, all these are a pretty good return for your pipeline.
If it’s bad timing, you note that in your CRM and schedule a follow-up. Or if it’s a poor fit, you’d learn the reasons and fine-tune your qualification and outreach. If they are flat out not interested, well, you achieved a ‘No’ goal.
3) What is the impact on your Why?
There should be a reason why you’re in business.
If you don’t have one yet, it would be helpful to self-reflect and come up with one.
Because it helps to start with the ‘Why’ like Simon Sinek describes.
Having a strong Why is a powerful way master the cold call psychology. It changes the perspective you have on cold calling.
It no longer becomes a dreadful standalone activity. But rather, part of your grand master plan to achieving your life’s dreams or goals.
- Do you have financial goals?
- How about family commitments?
- Do you feel connected to a bigger change in your company’s goal?
- Why are you in this to start with?
One of the funniest (but surprisingly true) ‘Why’s I’ve heard is from Grant Cardone.
He said something to the effect that if you don’t pick up the phone and build your pipeline, you won’t be able to afford organic food.
Well, because organic food pretty expensive.
Point is: we always need to connect with the bigger reason why we’ve elected to be in sales.
Ask yourself these three questions to overcome the cold calling fear and build the pipeline. The catch is: this is an ongoing process. So let’s aim for progress.