If you are thinking about taking on a cold calling job—whether you will work from home or from an office—there are some amazingly useful “fringe benefits.” Skills acquired to be a successful business to business cold caller and sales appointment setter come in handy in so many other non-work aspects of life.
At a recent company Lunch & Earn, the topic was how the career skills acquired to be a successful business to business cold caller and sales appointment setter have helped in other aspects of life. The Lunch & Earn was conducted in a “round-robin” format, which provided an opportunity for each attendee to cite real life examples from their own personal experience. The examples given were thought-provoking and spanned a great variety of aspects of life.
When the rejections start to add up, cold calling can be a very difficult business. But in spite of the general view of cold calling as an interruption, more often than not, people interrupted by a cold call end up benefiting from the call. Indeed, cold calling to inform prospects of new products or to generate new business in general is essential for the success of most businesses. And cold callers themselves—through meeting the hurdles and difficulties encountered in cold calling—develop a wide range of practical and valuable skills that extend well beyond the cold calling process.
Better Negotiation Skills
Laurel’s story was about saving thousands of dollars when buying a new car. “I know from my long career in sales appointment setting that if you don’t ask, you will set close to zero appointments. We get appointments when we ask for the appointment. I can count on my fingers how many times a prospect has asked for the appointment first. That just hardly ever happens. So, when I went to buy a new car, I ended up saving thousands of dollars because I learned how to ask.”
If you ask, the answer might be no, but if you don’t ask, the answer will definitely be no. Learning to be comfortable asking and learning how to ask better questions are practical, strong skills not only for cold calling but for life in general. Cold calling combines the skills of listening and reasoned analysis. An individual adept at cold calling will find him or herself a better negotiator, not only making more money at work but these skills come in handy when dealing with teenagers or other relatives.
Emma’s story was about a coupon for Marble Slab. “When we drove up to the store, we noticed the location didn’t accept the coupon we planned to use. Instead of giving up, I took the coupon inside and asked the manager if they would honor the coupon. He said yes. If I hadn’t asked, we would have either driven away or paid full price.”
Melanie’s story was about how she overcame shyness and gained confidence, “I was introverted and shy all my life. I had a sales job where on my first
day, my trainer just dropped me off in a subdivision to cold call knocking on doors. I was scared out of my mind. I ended up drinking coffee in a lady’s house for a long time and making a new friend. It didn’t make me any money that day, but that experience really helped me overcome my shyness and get out of my shell. Now I make a good living talking to people on the phone that I don’t know!”
Instead of looking at rejection as something personal, successful cold callers recognize that prospects are not rejecting the individual making the call. They are rejecting the proposal. In order to be successful at cold calling, it is necessary to separate who you are as a person from your role as a salesperson. Separating identity and role is an important concept that can apply to many other aspects of life.
The businesspeople we cold call are often “Type A” C Level executives and entrepreneurs. If you can successfully cold call CEOs, you can do pretty much anything. Success in speaking with people you might otherwise be intimidated by is also a natural result of developing the skills involved in cold calling.
Barbara’s story was actually about work, “I was at the end of the day and still hadn’t booked an appointment. I thought about throwing in the towel for the day, but then I decided to make just one more dial and that one dial turned into an appointment. I was so glad I was able to end my day on that high note.”
Things don’t always go the way we want. Lessons learned in the job teach you to worry less about the “no’s” and keep pushing for what you are trying to achieve without giving up. If you work from home as we do, persistence will be even more important as there usually won’t be coworkers present to help encourage you and help you remain focused.
We have only a few seconds on a cold call to grab someone’s attention, or the next thing you hear is “no,” promptly followed by a click. Conciseness is a must-have skill. The prospect must have a compelling reason to engage with you in a conversation.
The experience of cold calling requires the practice of selecting the right words in the right way to express yourself clearly. This practice also extends to leaving voice mail messages so that your calls get returned. Voice mail technology only gives us a certain amount of time before we hear that beep and turn into a pumpkin. Knowing how to leave a well-crafted voice mail message is a useful skill for many other aspects of life.
Reaching people who are difficult to reach. Experience gained from cold calling can help you navigate the nuances of getting past the people who are paid to stand between you and the people you need to speak to—not just in cold calling, but in getting in front of people in general. During the weird days of the pandemic, we have faced strange challenges reaching people, even people who really want to be reached. The same skills come in handy.
Lynn’s story was about how her daughter was able to sign up for class during the COVID-19 crisis. “Monday was the last day for my daughter to register for an online college class for the first summer session. She had been telling me for a month that nobody answers the phone at the college and she can’t get help to register. Finally, on the last day, I tried myself and it was true, they didn’t answer the phone. So, I tried some of the techniques I learned from work of getting through voice mail and sure enough, we reached somebody quickly and now she is taking her class. I felt good about teaching my teenage daughter a useful skill.”
As fears go, the fear of cold calling is epic, ranking somewhere up there with fear of public speaking and fear of root canals. Overcoming call reluctance doesn’t mean not having the fear. It means facing the fear and making the call anyway. Lessons learned in cold calling teach a person to move toward their goals and shake off the negatives. Without the ability to overcome fear of failure, people may play it safe and miss opportunities instead of moving toward their dreams and goals.
About the Author
Tracie Chancellor, CEO and Founder of TeleReach Corporate, national business to business call center specializing in sales appointment setting and lead generation, based in Houston, Texas. Chancellor is an MBA graduate of the University of Houston with over 20 years hands-on sales and marketing experience, working with privately-held businesses, universities, non-profit organizations, as well as Fortune businesses in the business to business marketing space.