Please Don’t Make Me Do This

Let’s see . . . you’ve checked your email twice, looked to see how much your bank account has changed in the last hour, played 2 games of Sudoku, and now you can’t think of anything else to keep you from making those dreaded cold calls. 

I mean, why should you be having to waste your time calling people who probably won’t be in their office anyway, or if they are, wouldn’t talk to you, and if they did . . . they wouldn’t be interested.  It would probably be more successful if you called them tomorrow.  After all, the chances of them being available on Tuesday are much better than on a Monday.

A young businessman arranged meeting,in office

Let me ask you a question.  When a salesperson calls you, do you immediately hang up, are you rude, or do you say something like, “Yes, this is David Jones.”  He or she politely apologizes for interrupting your valuable time, gives you a 10 second pitch, and your brain says, “Dave old buddy, this is a pretty good idea . . . maybe you should hear him or her out.”

Understanding that there’s a lot of email out there, the best way to make contact is by phone.  You’re not a computer, you do have an idea that might help them, but the greatest ideas are only great if someone knows about them.  It’s your job to get the word out.

I spent a lot of years knocking on doors, making countless phone calls, and I’m sure I never got up in the morning thinking about how excited I was to be making any kind of a cold call.  But along the way, my business grew, my customers liked my product and my service, they told others, and one day I wasn’t making cold calls anymore.  The referrals kept me constantly busy.

Over the years, I’ve been told a few times that my phone personality was something akin to having a smile in my voice.  When I’ve taught sales classes, I have used that description when discussing what the first thing you do before calling: think positive, be relaxed, be positive, and at least act as though you care about the person on the other end.  No one likes a grump.

Good deal! Smart and clever brunette in gray checkered blazer speaks on the phone sitting in a comfortable armchair at the desk with the documents, pen and organizer in loft workstation

The other thing . . . and it’s really important: Know what it is you’re going to say.  You don’t want some kind of over-rehearsed, memorized, and non-emotional sales pitch.  Take the key parts of a sales pitch, edit it to your style, and be able to say it without notes, or the words “like” and “uh.”  If they ask you a question, answer it, if you know the answer, and if not, let them know you’ll find out for them.  Don’t make something up.  If you don’t know . . . you don’t know.

It’s not easy to be in sales, but then again, that’s why salespeople are the highest paid people in the country.  It takes discipline, a bit of courage, a lot of time and effort, and knowing what the hell you’re talking about.  But do remember the key item . . . everything begins with that phone call.

See you next time . . .

Doug Jennings

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