3 Reasons Why Your Cold Calling Process is Getting You Nowhere

August 21, 2014 Alex Traynor

3 reasons why your cold calling process is getting you nowhereSo you're trying and trying to improve your cold calling process, to nail down the particulars, to figure out just what to say to get past the massive barriers inherent to any cold contact with a prospect and you're getting nowhere fast. Cold calling may be the single most difficult form of sales to learn, because when your cold calling process isn't good enough you don't even get enough information to learn where you went wrong---just a 'not interested *click*' for your time. Fortunately, this article is here to help, with three major reasons for cold calling process failure, and a few hints at what you can do to overcome these barriers to success.

You're going in blind. 

Or, to put it another way, your cold calling process goes nowhere because your process is starting with 'Call the prospect" instead of somewhere earlier. Depending on the nature of your business and your role in the company, it may be difficult to go much 'earlier' in the pipeline, but you generally want to include everything from lead generation forward if you can. You'll have enough trouble wringing sales from your cold calling process with intelligently selected, well researched leads-you'll be fighting a near-impossible battle going in blind with terrible leads.

Even if you can't learn anything about the individual you'll be speaking with in advance, you'll want a general picture of the type of person you'll be talking to. Work demographics and general prospect statistics as hard as you can, if that's all you have. Otherwise, research research research. Just because they don't know you doesn't mean you shouldn't know them.

You're not analyzing your successes and failures. 

Do you take copious notes, use software to measure your metrics, sit down and rework your process? If not, you're never going to get anywhere with your cold calling process. Sales is a hybrid of science and art, and cold calling particularly relies upon the science side of the equation. You need a perfectly optimized door-opening prospect-warming approach before you can even begin applying the 'art' side of sales.

That means putting your cold calling process down in concrete terms and analyzing the impact of every anecdote used, every choice of greeting, every mention of the competition or boast about your product. You need to develop an encyclopedic knowledge of how different approaches work in different scenarios, with different demographics.

That's also why researching your prospects can be so important-the perfect approach for an older male at an established company already using a competitor's product and the perfect approach for a young female buying for a start-up with no existing solution can be very different things, and applying the scientific method and closely analyzing your cold calling process serves as the only way to concretely say which approaches work and which fail in these different situations

You're not talking to the right people. 

It's amazing how often cold callers fail to take into account the single most basic principal of making a sale, but all too often a lazy cold calling process will end with you speaking to a secretary or lower management figure instead of the C-level executive you need to be speaking with. This goes back to research and preparation. Find out who the decision makers are, then find out how to contact them. The faster you can start selling to the person who does the buying, the better.

Note that a straight line may not always be the fastest path to these individuals. Sometimes, approaching a few people one step removed from the target of your cold calling process will get you speaking to them and selling to them faster (and warmer!) than going straight to the boss. The point of this isn't 'go straight to the boss' as much as 'know who you're after and make sure every movement brings you closer'. 

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