If you have been involved in a marketing related profession, or if you’re working on a new initiative or have a business of your own, you would probably be familiar with the concept of cold calling.
Yes, I know. Even the mention of cold calling doesn’t really give a good feeling. And the reason is, no matter how good a sales person you are, you must have had experiences of being insulted, feeling embarrassed, or even suddenly getting anxious over a call when the person on the other end asks a question that you cannot answer right away in a way that would increase your chances of making a sale.
Now some marketing experts say that cold calling is old school. Others say that cold calling is only effective if it is used for closing the deal, and not for generating leads.
What I believe is that, when it comes to marketing or making sales, you just need to go with the flow of your comfort as a sales person. So for instance, let’s say if you are super confident about your selling skills over cold calls and also about the product that you’re selling, then just go for it. And as you move along, you’ll be able to figure out better whether you should or should not continue with this approach to initiate contact with potential customers.
If it doesn’t work out for you, then there are tons of other marketing ways that you can use to introduce your product to your targeted people, and then come back to phone calls for follow ups or feedback.
But let’s leave out those other marketing techniques for now, and today, let’s talk about some of the common fears that marketers usually have when they’re involved in cold calling. And I’m also going to teach you how to overcome or at least minimize those fears, so that whenever you use cold calling, you can do so at its best.
Fear of Rejection
Now the first fear or limiting belief that many people face before getting on a call with a potential client is the fear of rejection. Fear of rejection is actually something that we as human beings face in almost all aspects of life, and it usually comes at the first encounter. So in case of making calls to potential customers, the fear is to get rejected within the first few seconds or on your very first sentence when somebody answers the call.
That’s quite embarrassing, right? You see, when a person is interrupted in their daily chores with a sales call, they are very likely to get annoyed. They might straight out say to you, ‘Where did you get my number?’ or just, ‘Not interested!’ Now why is that a problem? It’s a problem because they just stopped you right at the doorstep from even getting your message across.
The solution to this is don’t bother these people any more. A sale can never be made or in fact nothing can ever be achieved in this world by continuously annoying someone or being pushy about what you want to get from them.
What you can do instead is, make a quick apology and hang up, and move on to the next number on your list. You see, making sales is all about numbers. And if you choose to approach your prospects with phone calls, then that’s just the first step in your sales funnel. If you make, let’s say, 50 calls in a day, and 12 out of those people get annoyed, you would still stand a chance with the remaining 38, right? So instead of pushing in your pitch to people who are not even ready to hear you out, focus on those who give you a more reasonable response.
Fear of Failure
Another type of fear of cold calling comes from a limiting belief that we simply won’t be successful at it. Now this is different from the fear of rejection because rejection comes at the very first instance. But what if you are able to have a discussion with the prospect, and yet by the end of a long call or after exchanges few emails after that, you are still not able to make that sale. You are going to end up feeling like all your time, energy and effort has gone to waste.
So how do you get rid of that feeling? The thing is, when you are in that fearful or nervous state of mind, your prospect can feel it. If you are not able to believe that you will be successful, you are really not going to be successful. Why? Because you won’t feel the motivation to put up with all the queries and effort that’s required in order to finally close the deal. And the prospect will lose interest.
According to health experts at the University of Washington, when you’re afraid, the blood in your body flows away from your brain’s frontal lobe, which is responsible for logical thinking. And the more action-oriented part of the brain takes over, which helps you fight or flee because it causes your blood to flow into the large muscle groups. Unfortunately, while this physiological response prepares you to fight or run from your prospect, it also makes you unable to remember the details, which means you might lose track of the conversation that you’re having with the prospect on the phone, because now your brain is in a state where you are ready to fight more and think less.
So that’s how your ability to respond in a way that keeps your prospect involved on the call reduces, and they lose interest, which means you won’t be able to generate the lead.
What you need to do to overcome this fear is play tricks with your brain. Keep reminding yourself of all the times when you were actually able to make a sale. Practice calling clients by role playing with your friends and family. Tell them to challenge you with difficult questions about the product that you’re selling or question you on your marketing approach. As you practice having these conversations with people you know, you’ll gradually increase your comfort level in talking about your product with complete strangers. So when a prospect questions you, you would already have some practice on how to respond to non-welcoming statements in a polite way.
Another way to reduce this fear is scripting. Now I know that having scripts to respond to what your prospects say on a call is not the ideal way to go about convincing anybody to buy your product, because the last thing you want is to sound like a robot, okay? But when you’re getting nervous on a cold call, it’s at least better to have some ready-made answers in front of you to take help from instead of going completely blank or taking too long to respond.
So you don’t want to go overboard with this by simply reading out the script to your prospect without even trying to understand where they’re at, but you can use pointers from something that you have in written in front of you so that you can catch up on your thinking speed before speaking when you are getting nervous.
Fear of Being Exposed
Okay, the last fear that I want to talk about is the fear of being exposed. Now by fear of being exposed, I don’t mean to imply that you’re doing something wrong or bluffing around with your prospects. What I mean is, when you’re marketing a product or service, you have to sort of make it sound fantastic. That doesn’t mean you have to tell a lie. It just means you have to tell the truth but tell it in a way that makes the truth sound fantastic.
The fear of being exposed usually applies if you have just started a business of your own and you’re trying to get the first few clients to get it off the ground, because when it’s your own initiative, your own product or your own service, you tend to be more possessive and sensitive about it. So you want to make it sound even more fantastic. But the problem is, if your prospect finds out that it’s a new product or service, or when you don’t have many testimonials from customers you have served in the past, or maybe you just started this project from home and don’t have an office to work from yet, it doesn’t really give a very fantastic impression about your brand.
So you might not feel so confident when you start making those calls because you’ll worry that the prospect might find out about these weaknesses that you have, and won’t be interested to hear you out.
Now, the way to go about this is to be honest about the phase your business is at, but be super-confident and fascinating about the service that you’re promoting. This means you can tell the prospect from the beginning that this is a new business or a new brand or a one-man show, to get that stuff out of the way, and then still make a difference by connecting with the prospect on a personal level and relating to their needs with your expertise and experiences from the past.
You see, people don’t really care if your business is new or thriving or even dying. They just need to know that you have something to offer that is going to solve a problem that they have, and they need to be comfortable enough in a conversation with you to admit to you that they need your product. So if you can achieve that, then you actually don’t even need any testimonials or product reviews or any other recommendations that you probably don’t have so far because you’re just starting off.
So these were the three most common fears involved in cold calling, and the remedies to overcome them. The fact is, the more accustomed you get to cold calling, the more confident you’ll be at it, and the easier it would become for you to keep on making sales.