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Warding off the Rigors of Cold Calls

Take a sample audience in sales in just about any industry you’d like and ask them to name their least favorite part of selling. You’ll find that a large percentage of sales reps, even those with decades of experience, point to cold calling as their least favorite activity. It’s no surprise! Cold calling can be a very stressful experience. Many sales careers have ended (or failed to even start) due to the pressure that many feel when cold calling. Some find the activity to be futile and simply can’t deal with the rejection.  Others feel so much anxiety that they suffer from call reluctance, a term that applies to those who would prefer to do just about anything in the world other than to pick up a phone and make cold calls. 

Dialing for dollars can be difficult but it can also be highly rewarding. It can allow a company to get a leg up on the competition by uncovering opportunities before a prospect is shopping. It can also enable a company to “throw their hat in the ring” wheil a company is actively reviewing proposals. There are a great deal of opportunities out there…many of which need to be sought out. To deal with the associated stress of cold calling, here are some strategies that can be implemented by new and experienced sales professionals:

· Don’t Take it Personally – The person you are reaching doesn’t know you. They don’t know anything about who you are, what you are like and your personality. When they say “no” to you, they are saying no to the sales situation. They reject the act of receiving a cold call. They are not rejecting you personally. Keep this in mind as it is important.  Our self-worth is not defined by what an unknown prospect thinks of us. If you face constant rejection from clients, remember that it’s not about you. Emotionally detach yourself from the project and focus on the task at hand.

· What is the Worst That Could Happen? - This is a question many of us use every day.  Let’s say you call and prospect and they tell you, “I don’t want to buy any and don’t call me again” *SLAM!*  OK… now what?  You’ll never talk to that person again.  That’s it?  That might actually be the worst thing that could happen.  Just remind yourself that no matter what happens, even if someone hangs up on you, you can move on and never have to worry about that call again

· Know Your Prospects – Before you make that call, know what you can find out (within a reasonable amount of time) about your prospect.  Thanks to the Internet, it’s easy to pull up a company’s web page to get a quick feel for their products and services.  Understanding what a company does and who is in their space will enable you to tailor your calls.  This will help your calls be more effective and thus will decrease the stress you face from cold calling.

· Mix Up Your Approach – Leaving message after message for the same prospect can get frustrating.  Sometimes, sending a follow up e-mail will get the results you need. I know of many clients who prefer to use e-mail to communicate. Try different approaches to reach your prospects and you should see better results.

· Walk Away – Sometimes it helps to just take a quick brake from calling.  Get a cup of coffee, talk a spin around the floor or go work on something else.  This should be done infrequently and for short periods of time.  Little breaks can help restore focus.

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