Written by Sean McPheat |
In spite of a gazillion tips, tricks and magical scripts on cold calling, sales people at every level and in every profession still struggle with this often unavoidable task. While cold calling advice ranges from the useful and practical, to the sublime and ridiculous, there are some cold calling ideas and beliefs that are actually harmful.
There are some ideas that sales people have heard for so long that people have just started to believe they are true, when in fact, they are anything but. The following are three cold calling myths that have shrouded the minds of unsuspecting sales people for decades and can cause irrefutable harm to your career.
Cold Calling Myth #1: Don’t Take It Personally
You’ve heard this one before. You have people that hang up on you over and over, and you should just brush it off. Just continue to accept the hang-ups as part of the process, and don’t take it personally. “They are not rejecting, you, just your services or products…” While this appears to be a reasonable sentiment, the fact is that such a concept is insane.
Be honest…how can you NOT take it personally?
This type of thinking is what causes burn-out in the telemarketing industry, and is one of the primary causes of phone-phobia. It IS personal. In fact, usually the main reason for the hang-ups is YOU, and the sound of your voice.
Instead of trying not to take it personally, understand that you need to make some changes in your telephone approach. You may be suffering from Money Mouth or have the old Smile and Dial mentality. Either way, understand that if prospects continually hang up the telephone on you prematurely, then there is a problem and that problem begins with you…PERSONALLY.
Cold Calling Myth #2: You Often Have to Take Some Abuse
Many sales people believe that the only way to be successful on the telephone is to tolerate the abuse you may get from prospects in cold calls. Aside from the hang-ups, many believe in the idea that you must also “Endure the pain to make the gain…” philosophy.
As in myth #1, if you often get overly rude or obnoxious prospects that tend to downgrade or humiliate you on the telephone, then there is a problem in your telephone selling technique. While there are some people that are invariably and unjustly discourteous and intolerable, it’s not a large percentage. If you routinely run into overly rude people, maybe it has something to do with your approach. However, you do not HAVE to just take it. Instead take steps to CHANGE it.
Cold Calling Myth #3: Never Hang Up On a Prospect
Riding along the heels of Myth #2, is the fact that while it is rare, there are times when YOU need to terminate the call with a cold called prospect. Every once in a while, you are bound to run into that truly horrible person. No technique, skill or amount of professionalism will stop this individual from lashing out at whoever it is on the other end of the telephone. However, you do not have to sit there and spend your valuable time taking abuse.
It is true, that you cannot lower yourself to his or her level, and return like rudeness or just slam the phone down. But you can, at YOUR discretion, “terminate that telephone call…with tact.”
Firmly thank the prospect for his or her time, and then use a finger to disconnect the call. Make sure the last words the prospect hears is you thanking them, and then use your hand so there is no sound of the telephone hanging up. If the receiver touches the base of the telephone, it will sound harsh and rude. Instead, use your finger to depress the button so the prospect barley hears a “click.”
If necessary, do this in the middle of a sentence and even speak over the prospect.
Prospect: “…And another thing! I told you people to never call me again, blah, blah, threatens and fire, yell, yell…”
Sales Person: “I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR TIME MR PROSPECT. THANK YOU!” Click.
It is true that you must remain professional. But that does not mean that you have to become a doormat.
Originally published: 15 August, 2012