Every artist has to know how to draw. Every boxer must know how to fight. Every salesperson should know how to cold call. Cold calling is an essential part of any multichannel outbound campaign. However, it is also one of the biggest challenges SDRs have to deal with on a daily basis. In fact, 48% of them say that they are afraid to pick up the phone and make cold calls. As a result, these SDRs have trouble reaching their quotas and achieving target goals.
Sales call anxiety is clearly a widespread issue, causing much personal distress for salespeople, and potentially costing thousands of dollars in lost revenue to the companies that hire them. To help you overcome the pressure, use our best tips at CIENCE to effortlessly tackle that next cold call.
Why Are You Afraid of Cold Calling?
Many salespeople just like you know all too well that overwhelming feeling of panic when it comes to making that first cold call on Monday morning. While anticipating the dreaded call, you find yourself getting jittery or avoiding the situation altogether. Eventually, when you can’t put it off a second longer, you reluctantly dial the prospect’s phone number, bracing for the worst.
One of the most common reasons cold calling can be so stressful is the fear of rejection. To succeed in B2B sales, you must be able to overcome this fear. Fortunately, there are some tricks you can use to come out on top.
Check out our guide How to Cold Call, Connect, Convert, and Crush on the Phone.
How to Conquer Your Anxiety of Cold Calling
Drawing from years of experience, our expert SDRs have identified five top tips as being the most helpful for overcoming the fear of cold calling.
1. Prepare for the calls.
The foundation of every good cold call is preparation. The first thing to do to conquer the fear of cold calling is to prepare for all the possible scenarios and outcomes of the conversation. Conducting research on your prospect is essential: define your buyer’s persona and ideal customer profile (ICP), find out what problems they often face, and figure out how you can personally help them to solve these issues.
At the same time, be mentally prepared to hear an abrupt “No thanks,” and know how to react. Be ready to handle objections or receive negative feedback. Prospects are humans too, trying their best, as we all are, to deal with the constant pressures of work and other life challenges. Just remember never to take their behavior personally or let it affect your confidence.
2. Create a good sales script.
Having a good script to follow is the best way to lessen your awkwardness on the phone. Besides that, it helps to overcome call anxiety, simplifies the process of sales training for beginners, and helps SDRs to lead the conversation with the prospect in the right direction. The cold call script should always include the following key elements:
1. Introduction and rapport building: Briefly explain who you are, then immediately focus on the topics that matter to your prospect.
2. Key message: Start by giving the prospect the intent of your call: “The reason why I’m calling you today is ... ”
3. Pre-qualifying questions: Ask five to ten questions to make sure you are talking with the right person who fits your ICP.
4. Appeal to the prospect’s values: Based on the answers to your pre-qualifying questions, make an offer that builds value for the prospect and can widen their perspective.
5. Conclusion: End with a final call-to-action such as setting up an appointment or scheduling a follow-up conversation.
There are, of course, many other elements you can include in a cold calling script. If you want to dive deeper into this topic, check out our article on how to create cold calling scripts.
3. Take pauses and breathe.
On average, people take 17, 280 breaths during a day. But for SDRs talking on the phone with an important prospect, this number might be much lower. Driven by a fear of cold calling, sometimes, they simply forget to breathe in and breathe out, ask questions, and engage with the prospect at all. Unconsciously, they start to sound like robots, quickly repeating the words written in their script while they still can before the prospect hangs up.
Unfortunately, speeding up won’t increase your sales conversions and won’t help you to overcome the call anxiety. Instead, try to slow down, take a deep breath, ask your question, and pause until you get the answer. Easy does it.
Mastering the power of pauses can help you to emphasize your key message, reveal your prospect’s pain points, and extract more value from a call. Besides that, pauses make you sound more confident and help to transform your sales pitch monologue into a conversation between two people.
4. Create a dialogue.
This brings us to the next point—cold calling should always be a dialogue, rather than a one-man show. Receiving signs of interest from your prospect during the call makes the conversation easier and helps you to get over the fear of cold calling faster. Here are three ways to engage your prospect into a dialogue:
- Ask more questions. For example, starting the conversation with a simple question like “How are you?” correlates with a 3.4 times higher likelihood of booking the meeting with this prospect.
- Use personalization. Before the call, do research on your prospect to find out more about their personal and professional life. For example, saying that you enjoyed reading your prospect’s last article, congratulating him or her for a recent job promotion, or emphasizing some similarities between you two (e.g., attending the same university), shows that you care and opens up another topic for conversation.
- Avoid awkward silence. Don’t forget that during a call, the prospect needs to hear your voice. That’s why you can’t be silent for too long. When your prospect stops talking, rephrase, summarize, and repeat the main points to show that you understood everything correctly. Also, phrases like “Aha,” “I see,” “Sure thing,” “I agree,” etc. help to demonstrate that you are an empathic listener and that you care what the prospect is talking about.
5. Put some creativity into your process.
Even if you are still not sure how to overcome the fear of cold calling, there is one not-so-secret recipe that always works—instead of stressing out, make it fun! Be creative and find out what “untraditional” methods work for you to get you the best sales results:
- Do vocal exercises to make your voice sound better before the calls.
- Listen to your favorite band to pump yourself up.
- Practice the script with a colleague.
- Listen to the speeches of history’s great orators.
- Rehearse your pitch in front of the mirror.
- Try different techniques to develop your speaking skills.
- Celebrate every positive call you make.
Get Cold Calling Confidence
Most importantly, you should remember that when you enjoy what you are doing, good results will soon follow. Be proud of your achievements and stay positive, even if sometimes your self-confidence suffers from minor setbacks.
If the thought of calling your prospects on a Monday morning still makes you anxious and you have the option, delegate this job to our SDRs. They overcame their fear of cold calling a long time ago and now know exactly how to make it work for your business.