Many salespeople have a love-hate relationship with sales. They love the profession, but they often hate bringing in net new logos. It's the classic case of wanting to have it all without the most dreaded aspect of the process.
If you've been in the business of selling for many years, you know that most of your new business will come from old clients, repeat customers, and a referral here and there. But isn't it time to go beyond just doing well and instead create exceptional results? Of course it is... and that means making "the call" -- the dreaded cold call, that is.
Why is a simple phone call so dreaded? Why is calling into a new account so hated? So resisted?
After two decades of leading sales pros, we have found that if there is no pain ("I am doing just fine the way I manage my business") or there is no vision of what is possible ("I am comfortable to stay with business as it is"), then there is no change. However, if you want to create new results, you need to get out of your comfort zone and into a new way driving your business.
So the question begs itself, do you want to create substantial results this year? How much is substantial? Do you want a 5 percent increase, a 30 percent increase, a 50 percent increase? No matter what the percent of increase, if you are interested -- no, driven -- to create exceptional results, you need to take a fresh look at a technique that will rock your world and deliver on your efforts.
That technique is cold calling. Go ahead and say it: "Cold calling is an out-of-date approach to finding new business," "I've been in sales for a while, so I don't need to call cold," or "calling cold is for rookies." Right?
Wrong! If you want different results you might consider being open to using a tried and true approach in a new way. Here are seven steps to successfully making contact with new clients so you can create a year of new sales and increased commissions.
Shift your mindset. Calling on new clients (yes, ones you don't know or haven't spoken to before) has value -- incredible value. But to realize the value it requires a shift in your mindset. First, calling cold at the clip of 100 calls per day is for rookies. But strategic calling into new accounts with a plan is what it takes to make your year incredible.
Do research. Once you realize that strategic calling into new accounts is not just for rookies but also for seasoned professionals, research your strategic accounts to ensure your call is successful. Get into this part of the process; research demonstrates you've got the skin in the game. Learning about what the prospective company's new corporate initiatives are, why they are in business, and what their goals and philosophies are shows commitment to the person you are calling on. You can usually find this information on their website. As a bonus, you'll often find it's interesting to research the direction and approach each company has and their commitment to it. Each organization's corporate initiative will uncover their plans for the coming year. If you can support this firm in reaching their objectives you will be thought of as a valued resource.
Use caution in the NIZ Zone. It's time to make the call! Remember, less is more when you are speaking to the receptionist. We call where the receptionist resides the NIZ "no information zone." Answer questions straight forward and redirect the questions that may block your success. In other words, give the receptionist answers that will not generate more questions. If the receptionist asks your name, give only your name and that's it. Again, remember you are in the NIZ -- No Information Zone -- so less talking is the key.
Provide value. Create a value statement that has meaning to the company you are targeting. As mentioned above, strategic calling into new accounts by knowing what their corporate initiative is will allow you to be just that -- strategic -- so your value statement will have impact and make a connection to the potential client you are calling. Take time to create a specific value statement that aligns with their corporate initiative.
Ride the bull. Be tenacious. Stay on the call and don't settle for voicemail. Emotionally stay on the bull as we call it until you make contact with an executive at the organization you are calling into. It's best when you start at the top and reach the president or at least get guidance from the executive assistant to the President, they have amazing power to refer.
Stay committed. If you believe the product or service you provide can support your new prospective client, stay committed to reaching a top executive and to making the introduction.
Be a professional. Know your products inside and out. Know your competition. Think of yourself as a trusted adviser and earn the right to be just that. It's an honor to be a sales professional, and net new business is key for you, your company, and the clients you serve.
Reach Your Next Level of Sales Success
Sales is one of the greatest professions in the world. So ditch the love-hate relationship with your career and take the steps to make this your best year yet. Remember, the only way to shift your outcome is to be open to a new approach. Start now with these seven steps to calling on new prospects. The results will amaze you!
David and Marhnelle Hibbard are co-founders of Dialexis. Prior to this, David spent 18 years in the commercial real estate industry. Marhnelle began her professional career as one of the few women in commercial real estate brokerage and commercial real estate development. Their clients include Cisco, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Xerox, IBM, AT&T, Berlin Packaging, Oracle Dell, Vistage and many more.