Here are four hidden sales pressures that we bring to our cold calling:
1. Focusing On the Sale
If you’re like most people who make cold calls, you’re hoping to make a sale — or at least an appointment — before you even pick up the phone. The problem is the people you call somehow almost immediately notice your mindset. They sense that you are only focused on your goals and interests, rather than on finding out what they might need or want. This short-circuits the whole process of communication and trust building.
So try this. Practice shifting your mental focus into thinking, “When I make this call, first I’m going to build a conversation. From this, a level of trust can emerge which allows us to exchange information back and forth. And then we can both determine if there’s a fit or not.” When your focus shifts from making a sale into making a conversation, there’s no sales pressure. Many people enjoy conversations. Moreover, as long as you’re sincere, this will be one of them.
You’re also exchanging information rather than “informing” someone of your product or service. This helps your potential client know that he or she matters to you. This means you’re not being experienced as “pushy.”
Keep in mind that letting go of trying to force the outcome of the conversation into a sales event means being totally relaxed with the idea that your solution may not be a fit for them. When you’re exploring right along with another person whether there’s a “fit,” then that person feels no sales pressure.
2. Talking About Ourselves First
When we start our cold calls with a mini-pitch about who we are and what we have to offer, we’ve introduced sales pressure right away. The other person knows we want to make a sale, and they have to respond to that pressure. Most will respond with defense or rejection.
So instead, start your conversation by focusing on a need or issue you know the other person is likely facing. Step into their world and invite them to share whether they’re open to exploring possible solutions with you.
3. Forcing the Conversation into a Pre-Planned Strategy or Script
Here’s a hard one to avoid if we’re using scripts or carefully planned cold calling strategies. When we rely on these methods, it’s usually because we just don’t know how else to “do” cold calling. However, when we take charge of a conversation in this way, the other person almost always feels like they are being maneuvered. That’s pressure.
If we aren’t allowing someone else to be fully involved in the conversation, then we’re using sales pressure to try to control the outcome. Potential clients feel this sales pressure, even when it’s subtle. Therefore, once again, “The Wall” goes up.
I’m not suggesting that we don’t prepare and plan for our cold calls. There are some really good ways to begin cold calls that we’ll want to use over and over. Additionally, there are special phrases we can use that convey well the fact that we’re interested in solving a problem for the other person.
What we want to avoid, however, is trying to control a cold calling conversation. This almost always happens with scripts and old-style sales strategies. Potential clients feel this pressure and respond negatively.
The problem with over-enthusiasm in our cold calling is that the other person has to make a decision whether to “buy into” our perspective, or reject it. They feel the hidden sales pressure that wants them to be carried along with our enthusiasm. This usually means braking, whether gently or abruptly.
With over-enthusiasm (which is often just an offshoot of our tension), potential clients feel somewhat boxed in. They feel the pressure of our expectations so they feel compelled to respond either positively or negatively. Most will almost always respond negatively.
Completely eliminating all sales pressure from your cold calling conversations will certainly invite the other person to respond much more warmly and positively.