Truth be told, sales is one of the hardest careers to master. Natural charisma and extroversion will only take you so far. If you want to succeed, one must constantly develop their sales skills. It is a constant tug of war between oneself to push forward past the incognito, past the potential rejection (which is often), and past the common phrase, “No, not interested”.
Take it from me, sales is all I really know. I come from a long line of natural-born sales people. My father, my mother, my brother, and my sister are sales professionals, all of them and they are great ones at that. I guess one might say it is in our blood, yet, as anyone in sales will tell you, it takes more than that. Sales is a craft that is perfected only by hours and hours of working on it.
Cold Calling In Sales
One of the most difficult aspects of sales is the “cold call”. I learned this quite early in my sales career and it really does not get any easier, you just get better and more comfortable with it. Like many things in life, it is all a matter of perception. I used to dread cold calling. It was incredibly daunting, and it made up 90% of what I do! I have always been in a “huntress role” thus, I am constantly in positions where I have to drum up new business. Call lists, drop-ins, networking, and new connections is what I do. I used many different approaches, in many different ways, in a few different roles thousands of times. I have failed, succeeded, lost, and triumphed through the years yet still, no matter how many times I cold called, I could not shake that sinking feeling I had in the pit of my stomach. Although, I fought and pushed through it time and time again, when I stopped to think about it, well, I dreaded it! Then one day, not so long ago, something changed.
Cold Calling Is About Perception
It was my perception. All this time I had been looking at the cold calling aspect of my profession through the wrong lens. My come to Jesus moment is tattooed in my brain, and it went down exactly like this: my little daughter was very nervous about going to summer camp. She had been to camp before, but this was a new camp. She did not know anyone and none of her school friends would be there. She was going in cold. Right away, I sprang into motion because I could relate to her apprehension and her situation so well. As I started my pep talk on how to go right up to people and make new friends, I stopped and looked at her little serious face as she swallowed the lump in her throat and said to me, “But Mommy…they are strangers.” To which I simply replied: “Strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet.”
And that was it. It dawned on me. If I looked at everything like that with my cold calls, whether in person and or on the phone, my dread and fear would go away! It’s just a causal conversation with a new potential friend. My daughter smiled at me, and as we walked into the camp, she hugged me and said, “I’m going to meet some new friends.”
Important Truths About Cold Calling
It does not have to be that cold
It’s all about perception. Remember my come to Jesus moment? The moment I shifted my mental paradigm to think of people we don’t know as friends we are going to make instead of strangers, that was all it took. When you change your lens, you change your life.
Don’t be so hard on yourself
I can write a book on this one! Be generous and gentle with yourself. Did one person pick up your call today after your 49th call of the day? That’s actually a win! Did you get one reply to the 32 emails you sent today? Congratulations! Don’t focus on the no’s and the non reply’s. Believe me, it’s counter-productive and will essentially kill your spirit. Celebrate the victories, big and small!
Be real and be yourself
When you think about it, really who else can you be? Be yourself. If you put on a mask or a fake persona, it just won’t come across as real. You will come across as uncomfortable and make whomever you are speaking with feel awkward. You do not need to be anyone but you. People deal with people they like and they can only like the real you. Have fun and enjoy the ride.