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Becoming a Cold Calling Expert

In today's competitive sales market, preparation is everything. Often it'll mean the difference between getting the opportunity to meet with the decision maker and being able to have a productive meeting with a prospect. Pre call preparation can either be an asset or a detriment to your competitors.

You need to be able to understand what the prospect wants and have the ability to embrace their objections. So, exactly what does preparation all entail? Preparation involves doing your homework on the company, planning and using good critical thinking. Start by learning as much as possible about the prospect's company. Ask yourself basic questions that will assist you in helping them. For example, what are their organizational objectives, how do they see their company experiencing growth, and what are their current challenges, who are their competitors. These questions will allow you to determine whether they would be a good fit for you as a client.

The most essential piece is getting all the information so that you can later explain why it makes sense for the prospect to meet with you. Doing this shows the client that you are genuinely interested in their needs, not just wanting to sell your product/service. If you play your cards right, it should expedite the sales cycle. Gaining early credibility is extremely helpful in helping overcome objections that may appear.

It is also valuable to gather any information regarding their current challenges prior to your meeting since this gives you the ability to offer solutions when you get together. Planning and critical thinking before a phone call or meeting helps set objectives and the means to achieve them. An example might be, prior to a management ride along be sure to discuss the objectives of the activity, potential objections your may experience and a plan for moving forward.

In addition, prior to a meeting it is essential that the role of manager and sales person is defined. Answer the question, who is going to handle the meeting? The manager needs to base those decisions on the salesperson and their personality attributes. In order to comfortably prepare, the manager may want to role play some different scenarios with the representative prior to the meeting. In summary, there will be times when planning will not help you effectively handle the situation, just remember that if you don't have the answer offer to find out the correct answer for the prospect.

It is also important to remember to smile, whether in person or over the phone, people can hear enthusiasm in your voice and it catches. By doing your homework, planning for the call and using good critical thinking skills you'll be on your way to a successful cold call experience.

Tim Hagen, President of Sales Progress LLC, builds programs to help organizations increase sales. He has worked in a variety of industries and has been instrumental in assisting them in building a strong sales culture. He can be reached at or 262-240-1077.

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