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PLANNING ISN’T the most glamorous part of cold calling, but it’s worth the investment every time. It’s always been interesting to me — from a sales psychology perspective — how sales professionals often spend more time fretting about a potential rejection than actually planning for the cold call. Fear can be paralyzing, preventing you from preparing properly and resulting in a strong desire just to get it over with. However, it shouldn’t be surprising that an unplanned approach typically generates a disappointing response. Instead, try to work smarter, not harder. If you plan your cold calls to improve your results, you can easily end up making fewer cold calls in the end. Begin with determining exactly what you want from the exchange. Do you want to set an appointment, generate a referral or request an introduction? With that knowledge, plan a confident greeting and a compelling reason to talk. Next, seek permission to continue the conversation. Then, once you’ve made a compelling case for how your prospect can benefit from meeting with you, you’ve earned the right to suggest a face-to-face meeting. Script your preliminary conversation as much as possible. Believe that every word matters — because it does. You can lose a prospect’s interest in just a few seconds, so every word has to be brimming with potential. While it may seem counterintuitive, the purpose of a script isn’t to read it, word by word, to your prospect. Instead, writing the script makes you more comfortable with your message, so you can ultimately deliver your ideas in an engaging way. Write it down, refine it, and practice it until you’re able to deliver your pitch without thinking about it. Becoming comfortable with your delivery will sideline any fears you might have, empowering you to actually listen to your prospect, instead of scrambling to decide what you’re going to say next. While voicemail should generally be avoided where possible, if you must leave one, make sure you’ve scripted a concise 8- to 14-second message in advance. Resist the temptation to say too much. You only need to pique the prospect’s interest enough to take your call the next time. Expecting prospects to call you back, unless you have a strong and relevant point of connection you’ve alerted them to, isn’t realistic generally. Finally, it’s crucial that you have a back-up plan. If your prospect doesn’t agree to your first request, what’s the next best thing? Don’t miss a golden opportunity. For example, if your prospect isn’t available to meet with you right away, you might want to request an introduction to another contact within the company. You could also ask if you can stay in touch with the prospect to provide updates on new product developments, or you could invite the prospect to an upcoming workshop hosted by your company. A good back-up plan will allow you to keep in touch, and it’s an easy ask. The cold-calling formula is simple: outline your objectives, script the discussion, rehearse until your pitch is conversational and engaging, and make sure you have a solid back-up plan ready to go.

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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