Step #3- Cold Calling
Unless you have a magic lead fairy in your back pocket, you are most likely going to spend some time cold calling in the sales world. Ladies, this is where it can get interesting. Now, my perspective is mainly from medical device sales, as that’s where I spent most of my time selling (pre-kids), so keep that in mind.
Now that you absolutely know your product and audience you need to get the message in front of them. One of the most tried and true ways to do it is to bloody those knuckles by knocking on doors. I’ve found that the most effective way to reach people is by getting in front of them face to face. This is the best way to begin a relationship. Phone sales is a completely different ballgame, and something I have avoided at all costs. No matter who you are, one can only handle so many “screw you’s!” followed by an intense hanging up of the phone. When you are face to face with people, you will still face resistance, but will do so on a secondary level.
Cold Calling Broken Down
- Learn the Gatekeeper. March right in that building like you own the place and make your way to the gatekeeper. Think of the gate keeper as the guard dog for the company. This guard dog will filter information that reaches its way back to the decision maker. The decision maker is ultimately who you want to get in front of, but in order to reach him/her, you have to make your way into the gatekeeper’s heart. The gatekeeper will deem what you have to offer as worth or unworthy.
In medical sales the gatekeeper is the person (usually a girl) who sits at the front desk and answers phone calls, schedules appointments, etc. First and foremost, you’re going to need to figure out how to relate to this gatekeeper. They are automatically going to view you as an obnoxious salesperson and most likely shoo you away without hearing what you have to say.
- Get Creative. I did an experiment when I started cold-calling to see how I could get the best response to the gatekeeper. I first started by following my boss’s guidelines: wear my best clothes, complete with done up hair and makeup and a briefcase to look uber professional. The response? A whole lotta glares and eye rolls. I thought to myself, “If I want to get across to this girl, I need to be on her level.” Typically, the gatekeeper at a medical practice is wearing scrubs and has her hair pulled back. The last thing they want to see is some girl who thinks she’s a supermodel marching through the doors. So, regardless of the fact that I wasn’t in surgery (who was anyone to know?), I started wearing scrubs with my hair pulled back. I didn’t overdo my makeup and I left my heels at home. (Let’s hope so if I was wearing scrubs, right?) The response? More smiles, listening to what I had to say, and scheduling appointments with the decision maker started to happen.
- Remember, They’re People Too! I realized that the single most important thing to do when it came to cold-calling was to treat the gatekeeper, or whomever I came into contact with at the practice, like they were the most important person in the world. Start a friendship with them. Be yourself. Remember their names, their children’s names, and their favorite coffee. Drop treats at the front desk on your way to other appointments, and so forth. At the end of the day, even if Susan has RBF and has a rude tone, she’s still someone’s daughter, mom, and sister. Be kind. You’re not going to get anywhere if you’re a jerk.
- Consistency is Key. Sales don’t happen overnight from cold-calling. Cold calling requires a lot of work, will result in a lot of rejection, but over time with persistence and confidence will result in sales. If Susan glares at you the first time you cold-call and tells you that they’re too busy right now, smile and ask her a better time to come in. Then, do it! Go back the next time and keep being kind, remember her name, and ask for that appointment. Keep going back until you get a flat out: “Get the hell out of here!”. It was because of this practice that I earned the nickname “The Stalker” at my company. My sales numbers reflected it and I was dang proud of it.
- Use Flattery. This is where it can pay to be a woman. Now, I’m not telling you to sell your body here to get a sale. I’m not telling you to flirt and cheat on your husband. I’m not telling you to compromise your integrity and self worth. By any means. But for goodness sakes ladies, if you have a pretty smile and nice eyes, use them! Compliment people, make jokes, and look pretty while doing it. There’s nothing wrong with a little intellectual banter with other professionals, especially when it will help you achieve your end goal.
There’s a reason some people are better at sales than others, and a lot of it has to do with confidence and the way they carry themselves. If you aren’t confident in who you are, you’re not going to be able to build others up. There is a balance here, however, because you don’t want to come across as overly confident either. Example? That car dealership guy on every billboard who’s teeth are blindingly white and a little ‘ding’ sound plays in your mind every time he smiles. He also has a weird mustache. Stay tuned for part 3.