Raise your hand if you like to make cold calls. No one? No surprise. In our experience, just three out of every 100 sales reps like to make cold calls. The rest don’t like it and aren’t very good at it, which may be in part why they don’t like it.
So recently I was encouraged by the sincere, if skeptical, interest in cold calling I found during a workshop I did for new commercial real estate brokers. They were clearly interested because they had asked their respective managers to provide this workshop. They were skeptical because they knew how difficult cold calling can be.
The site was the Chicago office of a national commercial real estate firm. The participants averaged about 27 years old, and, though new to commercial real estate, they were not new to business-to-business selling. All had gritted their teeth through cold calls for other companies.
Their sincerity came from their desire to do well in a new field as well as from the significant success this firm had achieved in a relatively short time. In addition, they knew that experienced brokers still made cold calls, if not as many, mainly to set first appointments. The new brokers figured that if cold calling was good enough for their successful mentors then it would be at least good enough for them–maybe even better.
The good news was that they had already cleared the first two hurdles in the journey to successful cold calling: They had embraced the ideas that 1) cold calling would be beneficial and 2) that it would be difficult. The workshop supported the first idea and offered techniques that would make the second idea more of an exciting challenge instead of a dreaded burden. For example, they role-played real scenarios they faced, learned how to identify the decision-makers they wanted to talk to, and how to engage them more effectively once they got hold of them.
Was the workshop helpful? The participants said that it was, and they left less skeptical and more enthusiastic about taking on the cold calling challenge. Soon, we’ll be testing the short-term effect with real-time, one-on-one coaching, so stay tuned.
Scott Pemberton is a senior consultant at Productive Strategies, Inc., a marketing and management consulting firm specializing in consultative sales training, lead generation and appointment setting, and marketing and marketing communications. Scott can be reached at 847-446-0008 Extension 3 and at email@example.com.