Common cold calling mistakes

June 1, 2021

The toughest part of our tech sales course at Hyrise to most of our students is the cold calling training.

Here are common mistakes we see from sales beginners:

1. Procrastinating

Not scheduling or respecting cold calling calendar blockers and therefore always finding “better” things to do for which they don’t have to leave their comfort zone. The result - 3 calls today, 5 calls tomorrow but no focused, effective work.

2. Wrong mindset

Not being convinced that they have a solution that actually adds value to the other person or being afraid of the first “no”, therefore feeling insecure. Getting comfortable with rejection as a natural element of sales takes practice. Not taking it personal even more.

Also, sales trainees think they need to convince a lead or win a deal at any cost, rather than thinking about themselves as an advisor that wants to find out whether a lead is a good fit with what their company offers. Sales is not about selling to anyone and qualifying them so that they do fit, it’s just as much about disqualifying those leads that are not a good fit and therefore a waste of time.

3. Thinking about the sale, not the next step

Especially when cold calling, you don’t sell your product. You always sell the next step (in this case, a discovery meeting). At the beginning, newbies often focus on the final outcome, rather than thinking in steps along the sales process.

4. Wrong setting

Doing a couple of cold calls here and there, but not dedicating sufficient time in one block to “get in the zone”. Also, not having distractions turned off that allow them to fully focus.

5. Insufficient Preparation

Not preparing a set of necessary leads prepared in a way that they only need to be called one after another, with no research required in between calls.

6. Engaging the other person too late

The introductory line(s) usually take too long, therefore feeling rushed and stressed while bombarding the receiving person vs. inviting them to a dialogue.

7. Wrong intonation

Anything from too monotonous or too shaky, to negative or too salesy. Not having the right mindset is usually reflected here.

8. Leading with the what, instead of the why

They usually present their solution, rather than the value and pain point addressed which in turn screams salesperson.

We see that many of the above can be addressed and drastically improved within the first 30 cold calls.

The most critical piece often is to get started and overcome any potential “phone fright”. Once they are in the game and see things working, confidence sets in fast.

Besides practice and working on mindset, two simple things are paramount to improvement:

  1. Have everything scripted out! Yes, scripts, especially for newbies, are key to gaining confidence and working on intonation when they don’t have to focus on what needs to be said. It’s key to be literal here and improve the script following an iterative process. Once a working script has been found, the words can then be “acted” out with life and fitting intonation.
  2. Set and respect calendar blockers of at least 1-2 hours where a previously prepared list of leads (we refer to as “ready to call’s”) only needs to be called without any distracting research in between. Just like any good athlete does, it’s important to fully focus on getting in the zone, zooming out everything else. Then, it can and will actually be fun.

In our book, anyone who is picking up the phone actively leaving their own comfort zone is already a winner. Putting yourself out there and embracing failure and mistakes as a natural progression to growth is the first element to success. With the right mindset, everything else can and will be learned.

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