Cold calling is the hardest thing a salesperson or SDR is asked to do, and for many, it is expected to take up 70% of their time on the job.
The result? 42% of reps struggle with prospecting. An anti-cold-call website claims 63% of salespeople say cold calling is what they dislike about their jobs. Research from ValueSelling found that 48% of sales professionals are afraid to pick up the phone, and 53% give up too early.
Let’s face the brutal truth: for many, cold calling is terrifying.
It’s no surprise that a salesperson can reach a point where they just aren’t motivated to dial anymore. However, as the famous saying goes, “nothing happens until someone sells something.” You must persist to connect with prospects and demonstrate the value you bring to the table. So how do you stay motivated when you’re just not feeling like cold calling anymore?
Recognize that sales is a noble profession. In Weldon Long’s fantastic Harvard Business Review article on the fear of cold calling, he points out that a common reason people fear the phone is that they are afraid to sound like a sales professional. In his words “The key to getting comfortable with sounding like a sales professional is understanding that sales is an honorable profession. After all, we salespeople are talented problem solvers.”
A positive attitude on the phone is directly related to call quality and outcome. Your emotions, energy level, and even posture are easily conveyed through the microphone. This means it’s necessary to practice healthy habits in and out of the office. Get enough sleep, eat a good breakfast, and maintain an optimistic outlook. When making calls, stand up, put on good music, or take a break and go for a walk. Ensure that you are genuinely happy to be talking to your prospect.
Know your “why” for selling. This usually goes beyond simply collecting a paycheck. It could be saving for a special vacation or a sizeable purchase like a house. Some are inspired by helping their prospects solve the challenges. Knowing your “why” is crucial, and will keep you motivated in those times when the going gets tough.
Schedule your cold calling and do it on schedule each time. Start by finding out the best time to cold call your prospects based on your industry. Otherwise it’s easy to put it off, reducing the number of dials and potential conversions for the day, the week, the month and the year. And a shortfall each day really starts to add up. Do your own SDR math – calculate your time to connect rate, your time to conversation, and your time to conversion rates. If you know how much effort you need to put in to get a demo (or whatever your goal), then you become master of your own destiny. You can focus on reducing that time, and also know exactly how much time you need to spend to hit and exceed your numbers.
Set a goal for cold calling such as minimum number of attempts. This is something you can immediately control, when it feels like you can’t influence how many leads pick up the phone or how many voicemails you must leave. Having an activity goal will keep you pushing forward for the entire session.
Be prepared in every way possible including knowing building smooth introductions and value propositions for when the lead answers the phone, preparing responses to popular objections and having your pre-recorded voicemails ready to drop. Doing so will increase your confidence and make cold calling less daunting and more enjoyable by improving your success rate.
Remind yourself of past successes to prevent productivity-sapping self-doubt. This helps you remain positive, energized and moving forward. Don’t ever rest on your laurels and think that because you have been successful, you don’t need to work as hard moving forward. Always apply the same rigor and energy, and be inspired by your past successes, but never forget you are always being asked to produce – your sales leaders want to know what you are doing for them today, not last week.
Coach yourself up by making time for and consistently listening to call recordings and requesting actionable feedback from your peers or manager. Their input combined with the valuable insights around what you need to improve will boost your results. The greatest of all time (GOAT) of every sport swear by their game film. You should too.
Stay focused while cold calling. Don’t procrastinate by making excessive notes, taking bathroom breaks, grabbing coffee or chatting with colleagues. When it’s time to cold call, make as many dials as quickly as possible, freeing up more talk time for leads who answer. Want to go deeper on this topic? Read the book Deep Work by Cal Newport – he explains the massive benefits to our productivity of reducing distractions.
Enlist a partner and cheer each other on. This will help drive you to continue dialing while providing support to work through challenges.
Compete with your partner or a group of colleagues to see who completes the most dials during the designated time. You can even set several metrics to compare. The person with the greatest overall results for the week or the month could gain recognition or some sort of reward.
Track results so you can measure your progress as you improve your cold calling abilities. These metrics give you a yardstick against which to gauge your productivity for each session. Plus they’ll give you a sense of when you’re hot and when you’re not.
Avoid negativity about cold calling, especially when you’re finding it challenging to stay motivated. Don’t spend time whining or listening to colleagues complaining about this necessary part of the sales process. They will only drag you down and reduce your desire to dial. If your coworkers complain about cold calling, avoid them and view it as opportunity. Their weakness is your chance to crush it.
Associate with winners to pump yourself up. Their positive influence will motivate and inspire you. Spending time with successful peers will allow you to pick up valuable tips and tricks to up your sales game.
Try these methods to keep you motivated to make cold calls even on days when you really don’t want to. The most successful sales reps are the ones who do so consistently without hesitation.
How do you inspire yourself when you aren’t in the mood to make another prospecting call? Tell us in the comments below.