Why cold calling is like going on a date
We have all had this moment: sitting in front of the phone, anxiously anticipating a call you need to make, your heart in your belly as you dial the digits on your phone.
You don’t know what to expect from the person on the other end, or how you should behave. If you’ve never spoken to them before, then you’re working up the courage to get started on a cold call.
It’s a feeling you might know all too well from a different scenario: a first date. You’re unsure what to wear, what to discuss, how to communicate before, after, and during the date, and what to expect going forward.
While cold calling and your love life may seem worlds apart, the feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are not very different… and that’s not the only thing that’s similar between them.
In both scenarios, it’s all about connecting with someone you’ve never really spoken to before. Not to mention, you want them to like you and be interested in what you’re offering. Starting to see the similarities between cold calling and dating now?
Using Similarities To Your Advantage
Ask Yourself, “Am I Ready To Meet Someone New?”
Businesses and sales departments use cold calling as a prospecting method to engage with customers for the first time. This is very much like a first date - an introductory occasion to help you connect with someone new.
But, before you get into a commitment (yes, a first date is just a date, but you are opening yourself up to more…), you need to ask yourself whether you are ready to date?
With your cold calling, you need to have the same approach. Ask yourself:
- Do I have anything valuable to offer the person on the other end?
- Am I well-prepared for this first interaction?
- What kind of first impression do I want to give?
By asking these questions, you can determine whether your cold calling strategy creates a good impression. Then, you can tweak the right areas before taking the plunge.
Identify Your Type
Before you can contemplate what you wear on your date, or what topics to broach on your call, you need to find the right person for you.
Identifying the right individuals that fit your customer profile is important. You have to qualify your leads - a sales process that is pretty much the same as checking out a potential date’s details and ‘swiping right’ if you’re interested.
You don’t want to waste your time and resources on calls to people who would have absolutely no interest in your product. Finding your ideal ‘type’ increases your chances of successful sales calls.
Remember That Relationships Are A Two-Way Street
There is no worse thing you can do on a first date than talk about yourself all night long. Doing so will make you appear selfish, narcissistic, and uninterested in engaging with the other party. One-sided cold calls have the same effect - alienating instead of attracting leads.
Avoid overselling your products or services to the prospect, and don’t try too much to convince them to trust your business either. You want to have a conversation with potential customers. Find out who they are and what they are interested in.
Yet, you also need to make sure that you share the necessary information they need to know about your product or service. The best way to do this is to ask questions, be conversational and confident, and listen!
Your big sales date doesn’t end as soon as you cut the phone. This is a mistake that 48% of reps make. The truth is, your cold call ends only when you’ve followed up with the lead.
If you want a second date, you have to make that intention clear: “Thank you for your time. When might you be available to speak again?”
Even if you do set up a second meeting immediately after the first date, it’s still a thoughtful touch to check-in or follow-up.
You need to nurture leads by keeping your promises and following up at the agreed time. Follow-up calls are also important as the initial contact rarely leads to sales. 80% of successful sales require at least five follow-up calls. You need to build trust and credibility by remaining consistent.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
If you’re actively dating, you’ll probably go on a couple of first dates, and kiss a few frogs before you meet someone you like. And even then, you may still want to explore more dates.
There’s definitely no problem with having many first dates as long as you remember which one is on which day and don’t call anybody by the wrong name!
The same goes for cold calls. While personalized and consistent customer service is important, it’s also a great idea for you to keep your options open. Engage with various clients so that if a sale falls through, you know you have numerous other leads to follow.
Keep in mind, though, that the more customers you have to stay in touch with, the more organized your data and information have to be. Thus, you need to have effective lead tracking and management systems in place.
Don’t Be Afraid To Let Go
A great benefit you gain from adopting a ‘there are many fish in the sea’ kind of cold calling strategy is that you can find ease in letting a relationship end. Not all first dates lead to a wedding, a dog, two kids, and a house with a white picket fence.
Sometimes, you have to cut your losses and let a prospect go.
The cold call is at the beginning of your sales funnel. It is meant to guide buyers through the customer life cycle which includes outreach, acquisition, relationship management, and churning. If you realize that they’re stuck for too long at a particular point in that funnel, it might be time to dump them.
That’s not to say that you should give up after one or two calls, or after a failed cold call. Rather, you should not be waiting for years hoping they’ll pick you one day.
“92% of sales professionals give up after four “no’s”, but 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes”.”
So, if you’re hearing a “no” for the tenth or eleventh time, it may be time for you to admit that it’s over.
Reflect & Improve
Reflection is important in relationships. Once you’ve connected and built a good dynamic with your client, you want to maintain it. You don’t want to lose that spark. Encourage constant feedback and address any complaints and issues.
You also want to give yourself some time to reflect after a customer relationship ends or doesn’t go beyond the first date. Consider why. Was it you in the wrong? Or did the relationship just run its course?
Try to learn from past relationships to improve future connections right from that first call.
Time To Put Yourself Out There!
There is so much to think about when it comes to cold calling and, much like dating, cold calls can be a daunting experience for sales representatives. With a well-thought-through strategy, you can support your sales reps so that they feel prepared to communicate with their leads.
Before this article, you may have never seen the link between a first date and cold calling for your business’s sales strategy. But, now that you have, you can make sure to put your best foot forward and sweep your leads off their feet. It will be love at first, well… “Hello.”