Inside sales is tough. Really tough. So tough, in fact, that people spend thousands of hours every year avoiding it. People attend webinars on how to be better at it. People sign up for countless trainings detailing best practices and tips on how to improve cold calling techniques. Even at my company, Launch Leads, we specialize in cold calling and appointment setting because we know it something that companies hate to do (we were actually recommended on Forbes.com for our award-winning appointment setting services). Still, like it or not, it is something that all B2B companies have to face. You have to cold call. You have to set up appointments. You have to generate sales leads. You have to do it or you die.
I train cold call techniques every day. And my first piece of advice is always the same: you have to pick up the phone. Sure, sales techniques matter. Sounding natural on the phone matters. Being confident matters. Closing the sale matters. But none of that matters if you don’t pick up the phone and make the call. You have to pick up the phone!
I still make cold calls every day. I do this for three reasons: (1) I never want to expect something from an employee that I am unwilling to do myself; (2) I think leading by example is many times the best route to take; and (3) I believe that every dial makes a difference. If you are an inside sales manager, or even inside sales executive, make the dials right along side your team. Show them that picking up the phone is important. Do it everyday.
Recently, I was dialing late into the day. It was 5:30 MST. I knew that my dialing would be limited to areas in Mountain Time and Pacific Time so my contact ratio was going to be low. I was tired after a long days work. Still, I wanted to show my team that making dials matters. So I picked up the phone and made a call. With the assistant being out of the office already, I was able to get right through to the CEO of a leading online university. We spoke briefly for about five minutes and he referred me to another person in his organization (he even gave me the phone number). I thanked him for his time and jumped right on LinkedIn. I found his info and made the call. It was now 5:45 pm. Once again, I got right through! After a brief explanation about my call, I was able to secure an appointment for later that week with my VP of Business Development. It turns out they were in the process of looking to outsource and the timing couldn’t have been better. All of this happened because I picked up the phone.
Imagine if I had decided I was too tired? Imagine if I decided to do “research” rather than picking up the phone. Imagine if I had decided to comb through emails? Or even worked on something else that seemed important at the time? Picking up the phone matters. It is the first step to success in cold calling. Train your people to pick up the phone. If you are cold calling yourself, teach yourself to pick up the phone. Constantly. Everyday. Remember what happened to the man the climbed the mountain: he eventually gets to the top (it just takes one step at a time). Picking up the phone is your first step. Don’t avoid it. Make your success happen.