Cold calling can often seem like a monstrous and insurmountable for anyone new to sales, and even some experienced sales professionals will occasionally encounter massive call reluctance. More than any other issue, I get asked for help on overcoming call avoidance in sales people. Some think the answer is just cranking down on your discipline and forcing the call activity, like a daily dose of a foul tasting medicine that you know is good for you, but that’s only a short term solution, because the heart of the issue is mindset. If you don’t fix your mindset around cold calling, you can make all the calls you want but it won’t get easier. If you want to beat the cold calling blues, you need to fix belief and intent in your brain around cold calling.
Ask yourself this question: What is your actual intent of making a cold call?
That might seem obvious, but the issue is often misunderstood by sales people, and hence they continue to struggle to hit their daily or weekly activity number. That reluctance likely comes from a very natural and very healthy instinct to not want to bother people and/or be pushy. You’re not comfortable with imposing your agenda (making a sale) on someone. It feels like begging, nagging, desperation. Those are not bad instincts, and simply powering through doesn’t fix it.
The answer is to switch to an accurate perception of the intent of a cold call. Yes, some people only reach out to make a sale, but that doesn’t have to be your intent. Your intent can be better, and based on a noble and laudable goal.
Imagine this scenario. Your best friend invents a pill that cures migraines, and asks you to handle sales outreach. You have tests and data that show this pill is effective and really helps most people who have chronic migraines. You believe this is a good solution (belief is key to a good intent). Now ask yourself this question. Would you reach out to people? You can make their pain go away! Wouldn’t you want to reach as many people with chronic migraines as you could find? That’s a very noble and sincere intent. If you reached someone, and after a quick explanation and question, you discover that they don’t suffer from chronic headaches, would you keep trying to get them to buy? Of course not. And that’s the difference between powering through cold calls or understanding the power of your intent!
The “salesy” aspect of cold calling and sales in general comes from always trying to get a yes. Free yourself from that mental trap by making your intent to “qualify for a fit” and not “to make a sale”. In other words, you are looking for a yes or a no, and you’re OK with either answer. In fact, even seek out the No’s as the agenda and let the yes’s come from failing to disqualify prospects. Even better. In the example above, you’re calling to check to see if they have chronic headaches, and if they don’t then you don’t need to push or even present. The agenda is them, not you, and that change of intent makes you someone who’s trying to help, not someone who’s calling because they want something
One of my mentors says something that resonates with me on this subject. “It is true that it is unethical to try to sell someone something they do NOT need. But it is also true that it is unethical to NOT try to sell someone something that they DO need!” Doctors, for example, call this the hippocratic oath. There is an obligation to help people. I feel the same obligation as a sales trainer and coach. If you have a sales problem I can fix, then I feel obliged to reach out and offer a solution, especially if you might not know about that solution. If you don’t have a sales problem then I can just move on and search for someone that does.
If you believe in what you sell, and if your intent is correct, then cold calls are nothing more than a search for people who you can help. You’re not trying to CONVINCE anyone. You’re trying to DISCOVER if you can help them. The more people you reach out to, the more you find those you can help. That’s a noble and helpful intent. Your job isn’t to convince everyone to buy. It’s to find the ones that need what you sell. That’s the proper sales science answer to beating cold call reluctance.