One month into my new gig at Skyline’s DirectFED Payment Solutions, one notable addition to my list of experiences (but not necessarily my skills) is selling. I don’t mean standing at a trade show booth and selling to professionals who were wandering the aisles, I mean cold calling by phone. “100 calls a day.” That formula is how Shai Stern built his success. Being new to this and respecting his success, I’m doing my best to do a lot of calls. (Keep in mind, I’m also responsible for marketing so I usually do a lot less than 100.)
I used to think that cold calling meant always having to say you’re sorry. You’re interrupting someone’s busy day with an unexpected intrusion, and then giving them a pitch that they have usually decided in advance they will turn down.
You do feel like you’re interrupting a person’s busy day . . . so you have to get them engaged immediately or lose any chance of continuing. So, as part of my job, I’m continually refining the “elevator pitch”, er, make that a “pitch while the elevator door is closing” which is almost literally the sequence of events when some CEO picks up the phone and gives me ten seconds.
Not wanting to suck at this as much as I have so far, I did some research on-line for tips. Oddly enough, there are only about half a million pages of content to read on Google. But the AllBusiness site had the most succinct tips that made the most sense to me.
First Thing in the Morning
One of their tips is to do your calling early, when you’re fresh and when decision makers are in their offices before gatekeepers arrive. So far, this hasn’t worked. For me, I look at selling as something to divert myself from all the marketing activities that occupied my day. I actually look forward to dialing numbers and trying to find someone on the other line besides voice mail. It’s fun to connect.
Have a Script to Refer To
I haven’t tried this yet. I feel like I should know the shpiel. I don’t. A script is in order not for reading but for giving me cues. I won’t read from it, but it will help me to focus on the key messages that catch the listener and invite them to NOT hang up two seconds after I call.
However, this is the bottom line for me. I want to earn commissions just like any hungry sales pro. More than that, I recognize sales as a skill that can have advantages in terms of negotiations, persuasion, and thinking on my feet. I’ll keep you posted.