Just the mention of the phrase sends a shiver down the spine of many sales professionals.
The anticipation of rejection, the pressure to make a sale, and the anxiety of approaching someone new all culminate into what's commonly referred to as the "first call jitters."
But what if we've been approaching this all wrong?
The Wrong Mindset
Traditionally, the pressure of cold calling comes from the perceived necessity to set up a meeting. The mental checklist often reads something like this:
I need to impress this person.
I have to set up a meeting.
If I don't close this, I've failed.
This mindset is problematic because it puts undue stress on the outcome rather than the process. It turns the call into a pass-or-fail scenario, where anything short of scheduling a meeting feels like a defeat.
Shifting the Focus: Qualifying the Prospect
What if, instead of striving for a meeting, the objective of the first cold call was to simply
qualify the prospect? Consider these questions:
Should I meet with this person?
Can we help them?
Are they the right fit for what we do?
These questions shift the focus from the pressure-laden goal of setting up a meeting to a more manageable, logical task of understanding if this prospect is worth your time and effort. This approach allows for a conversation, not just a pitch. It transforms the call from a high-stakes gamble into an exploratory mission.
Practical Tips to Overcome the Jitters
Prepare: Research the prospect. Understand their needs, industry, and how your product or service could potentially help them.
Set Clear Objectives: Go into the call with the goal of qualifying the prospect, not closing a deal. Be clear about what you want to learn.
Be Authentic: You're not just selling a product; you're offering a solution. Be genuine in your approach, and focus on how you can help rather than what you can gain.
Ask Open-Ended Questions: Encourage the prospect to talk. Understand their needs, their problems, and their goals.
Reflect and Learn: Regardless of the outcome, reflect on what you learned from the call. Every conversation is an opportunity to grow.
Shifting the focus from securing a meeting to qualifying the prospect, you can transform this daunting task into an opportunity to connect, learn, and grow.
Your success in cold calling isn't solely measured by the appointments you set, but by the relationships you begin to build. It's about connecting, not closing, and when you embrace this mindset, the road ahead becomes a journey worth traversing.