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The fear of flying and the fear of cold calling

Posted on: October 26th, 2011 by Monika 2 Comments

It’s real. Cold Calling is scary to most sales people. Even in a consultative sales environment, they talk about it all the time. It’s almost like the fear of flying. While we consciously know that flying is still the safest way to travel, there is always those planes that crash.


The fear of cold calling, or in the better case scenario the reluctance to do it stems from the same fear. Somebody could hang up on us, or be nasty. It really doesn’t happen very often, but the fear is there. I get strange looks when I to people mention that I actually love cold calling. Part of it is probably that I am a bit different than most people because I don’t mind rejection. But I also feel that cold calling is a misunderstood concept.


When you are trained to sell in a consultative environment, it’s quite easy to take the cold calling fear away from your sales people. As long as you are targeted in your approach, you know who your ideal prospects are and your sales people know their pitch, it really shouldn’t be such a big deal as long as you hire the right people. And that’s essential as well. Not everybody is cut out to be a good consultative sales person.


What happens very often is that sales people are put in a position where the sales managers or CEOs expect them to rattle off a script rather than letting the sales person be themselves. And the script very often contains phrases such as “we are the ideal provider in the industry”. So what? What does that mean to the prospect? Where is the benefit?


I wouldn’t want to act or pretend to be somebody else. And I certainly wouldn’t want to be told what to say when cold calling. Whenever I hear somebody coming up with the brilliant idea of role playing and using a prepared script, I ask them how natural they think anybody who is not a trained actor would come across when they don’t own their pitch . Sales people aren’t actors, they should be trusted advisers.


But are they?


When you hire the right people to operate in a consultative sales environment and you establish the framework for them to succeed, cold calling will be a lot easier.


Here is what you need:

  • Hire the right people (they need to be curious, asking a lot of questions, research based in their approach)
  • Have a sales process in place that is transparent and embraced by everybody in the company
  • Develop and manage a database where progress can be monitored

·        Provide a frame-work for success, such as coaching, script development that the sales people co-create


There is ways to create e-mail scripts that trigger a response so the sales person doesn’t have to call completely cold. But even if they have to, they should be confident enough and work off guidelines so they get the attention of their prospects.


I have found that courtesy and respect go a long way. If you ask a prospect “is it a good time now” and they hesitate. Just let them know that it’s OK to talk later and ask them when you can call again. Prospects will be very grateful if you do that.


I just had a call from a market research firm and the woman started out saying “Hi there, this is not a sales call, and then without missing a beat she said “what party are you registered with?”. Usually, I take the time to respond to market research requests because that’s my industry but I was so taken aback that she never asked if this was a good time for me and that she just assumed that I would be OK with it. So I told her that I didn’t have time. And by the way, whenever you are asking somebody for something, it’s kind of a sales call. No, you are not trying to sell me something, but you are trying to get time from me, which in today’s environment is the highest currency. So, yes. You are selling and you also need to be mindful.




Monika D’Agostino – Chief Consultative Sales Officer

Office: 203-299-1645

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