In running a business most of us at some point have to do some cold calling. Just these two words “cold calling” can strike fear into the heart of even the most determined entrepreneur.

So how can we make cold calling easier? Here are some tips that might help:

1. Who are you going to ask for?

Try to find out the name of the person you want to speak to before you pick up the phone. There is nothing worse than saying “Can I speak to the manager?” Immediately the secretary knows that this might be a sales call.

How do you do this? There are many websites and publications that actually tell you the size of the company and who the boss is. Your local chamber of commerce might be able to help with this regard. Attending networking meetings is another way to find out who the decision-makers are.

2. Learn more about your target.

Get to know a little about the business before you call them. This way when you speak for the first time with somebody new you have some common ground.

3. Talk to your existing customer base

Talk to your customers and any business people you are friends with and ask for help. Many will be happy to give you referrals and a little might even make the initial call for you!

4. Make friends with other salespeople

Make friends with salespeople and share information and contacts. This will work great as long you are not selling identical products and competing with each other! You can make the initial introduction call for your friend, and they can do the same for you.

5. Make friends with other business owners

Especially with businesses that have a lot of salespeople. This works on the basis of “I scratch your back, you scratch mine.” You can share referrals and help each other.

6. Practice makes perfect

The more calls you do the better you will become. Reward yourself with a point every time someone says “no” to you. Once you hit ten points it is time to stop for a break.

7. I do not care how good you are…

Nobody can cold call for a full 8 hours without getting absolutely shattered. It is far better to spend say three hours every day cold calling than to dedicate one day a week to this task. Choose the time of the day you are at your best. Some people are great in the mornings whilst others perform better in the afternoons.

8. Buy a decent headset.

This will enable you to make notes whilst you are on phone, stop your neck from getting sore, and even allow you to carry on a little longer when you are on a roll. Work like a pro and get professional results.

9. Send a thank-you note.

Building relationships with existing customers and people who did give you the time of day is what it is all about.

10. Change anxiety into something positive.

Learn to turn your feelings of dread into something more powerful. Actors can turn stage fright into something positive that makes them perform better on a live stage and so can you.

11. If all else fails

Then employ someone else to do it for you. If your time is better spent converting people who have already agreed to meet you then pay a telemarketing company to make your cold calls.

If you can start enjoying talking to new people and stop taking “no” as a personal insult then you are on your way. Tell little jokes and one-liners and have a laugh at the same time as trying to make that appointment. You are allowed to have fun when you are cold calling!

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