Do you feel an innate sense of fear when picking up the phone to cold call prospects? You aren't alone. According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), nearly half of all B2B sales reps. Calling a prospect with whom you've had no contact in the past can instill a sense of fear. You may end up talking to the prospect for 10 or 20 minutes, only for him or her to reject your offer. While rejections are bound to happen, there are several things you can do to overcome your fear of cold calling and achieve greater B2B sales success.
Acknowledge That Rejections Don't Indicate Failure
Viewing rejections from a different perspective can help you overcome your fear of cold calling. Many B2B sales reps assume that rejections indicate failure. When a prospect rejects their offer, B2B sales reps assume they've failed. After all, generating sales is their ultimate goal for cold calling. If a prospect doesn't make a purchase, B2B sales reps view it as a failure. In reality, though, rejections are just stepping stones to B2B sales success.
A prospect may reject your offer during a cold call, but that doesn't mean you've failed. You may be able to capture the prospect as a lead, and you may be able to nurture these leads in the future so that they turn into loyal buyers. Even if a prospect doesn't make a purchase, you can probably learn something from the communications you had with him or her.
Speak With Purpose
Don't forget to speak with purpose when talking to prospects for the first time by phone. The tone you use can influence your level of confidence. If you speak with purpose, you'll feel more confident, thereby preventing fear from settling in. If you speak with little or no purpose, on the other hand, you'll feel less confident and more fearful.
Speaking with purpose means that you are tone is loud and clear, and that you don't stumble over your words. It's something that comes naturally for many B2B sales reps. The more cold calls you make, the better you'll tone will become. Therefore, you should continue making cold calls. After each cold call, perform a self-evaluation of your tone. If there's purpose behind it, you can proceed to use the same tone in other cold calls. If your tone needs work, make the necessary adjustments to it.
Prepare a Script
Using a script can give you more confidence when cold calling prospects. A script is a written -- or typed -- transcript of the dialogue you intend to have with a prospect. With a script, you'll know what you need to say to prospects. You won't have to try and come up with the right words on the spot. Rather, the script will serve as guidance by offering you the words you need to say.
Keep in mind that you don't have to follow a script word for a word. Scripts work best when used simply as a reference, meaning you should use your own words when it's appropriate. You can still use a script; just remember to adjust it so that your cold calls are personalized for each prospect whom you call. Along with the other tips listed here, using a script can give you greater confidence with your cold calls.
Another tip to overcome cold calling fear is to eliminate distractions. Whether you realize it or not, there are probably distractions in your workspace. Coworkers talking, music playing or even the sounds from vehicles driving by your office can all distract you. Unfortunately, distractions such as these can increase your level of cold calling fear.
If you are distracted, you won't be able to focus on the cold call. Distractions divert your attention to something of lesser importance, which can subsequently instill a sense of fear. When you are unable to focus on a cold call, you may develop a sense of fear. Fortunately, you can typically eliminate distractions so that they don't negatively affect your cold calling efforts. Moving to a different area of your office, for example, can often eliminate distractions. Alternatively, you can wear a headset to make cold calls rather than simply holding the phone to your ear.
Get Ready for Rejections
Preparing for rejections in advance can help you overcome your fear of cold calling. Rejections occur when a buyer explicitly says he or she doesn't want to make a purchase. In regards to cold calling, rejections are common. Some studies show that the average success rate for cold calls is just 1% to 2%. For every 100 cold calls you make, for instance, you can expect to generate about one or two sales. All other cold calls will end in a rejection.
By preparing for rejections, though, you'll have more confidence and less fear. Think about what type of rejections you typically encounter, such as price, and then prepare a solution for each of them. If a prospect thinks the price of a product or service is too high, maybe you can lower it. Alternatively, you can explain the value of the product or service and why it's a smart investment.