How to Make The Most of Cold Calling
Cold calling is often discounted by advisors because they are wary of the compliance rules, and because it tends to have a low success ratio. The ‘Do Not Call’ list makes it difficult as does an inherent skepticism that permeates our society. However, cold calling can be a valid prospecting tool, especially for those new to the business.
Why is it still worth the effort? Because lots of people are unhappy with their current advisors but don’t want to rock the boat. A phone call out of the blue from a professional, likeable advisor could be just the thing to get them to take action.
There are people out there who want to talk to you: You just have to find them.
To succeed at cold calling you will need perseverance and a positive attitude. Here are some practical ways to help you achieve greater success.
1. Structure your approach
Cold calling is tough. It’s hard to convert strangers. So, don’t make life even harder for yourself by going in without a plan.
Always call at reasonable times of day and bear in mind that there are productive and non-productive times to call people, based on their profession. For example, don’t bother calling accountants during their busiest time of year i.e. at year end between January and April, and don’t call bankers when they’re likely to be fully occupied with work which generally means between 10 am and 3pm. You’re more likely to get hold of builders before they start work, at lunchtime or after work, and leave off calling executives until they are well into their working day after 10.30 in the morning.
2. When you call think about how you can add value
Try not to be overly aware of the fact you’re calling a stranger without an invitation. Think instead that you are calling someone new because you know you can add value to their life. They don’t know it yet but you can change their life for the better. Because of you their kids can go to college without borrowing money; because of you they can look forward to a comfortable retirement without worrying about money.
3. Create a conversation – don’t try to sell
Don’t ask personal questions – but try to ascertain a prospect’s goals by listening carefully to what they say on the phone, because even without realizing it they may be releasing valuable information. For example, you can learn about their families, kids or a recent life-changing event – things that can help identify why they could use your financial advice.
Then give prospects a reason to have confidence in you. Present yourself as a great candidate by telling them a story about how you’ve helped past clients achieve similar financial goals. Don’t talk too quickly since this can overwhelm people, and don’t overload prospects with technical jargon.
Don’t give prospects a sales pitch. This is a first tentative call, so see it as an introduction and opportunity to take things further. Ask whether you can arrange a follow-up call or meeting with them and set a date.
4. Recover gracefully from bad cold calls
When a call ends negatively this can deflate your ego, but it’s essential you learn how to stay buoyant when faced with rejection. In fact this is one of the most important aspects of your job. Your success as a cold caller and as an advisor rests on your ability to take rejection as a form of motivation. Instead of focusing on the number of yeses you get aim to chase down the number of noes you get. When someone says no, he or she is rejecting your advice. They are not rejecting you.
5. Smile before you dial
Although it may seem silly research suggests that smiling while on the phone brings benefits to cold callers. Smiling helps to reduce stress, lowers the heart rate and even affects how we speak (listeners can pick up on facial expressions at the other end of the line), creating a good vibe.
Body language is another tool you can use, according to researchers. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy revealed that body language matters even when the other person can’t see you. So, try standing in a power position, feet apart with hands on hips for two minutes. This apparently increases testosterone, boosting confidence as well as decreasing cortisol, the stress hormone.
If you want to try something different, something your peers are most likely not doing, give cold calling a try. Cold calling can still be a useful way of building up a clientele especially for newer advisors. Always remember however that it shouldn’t involve a hard sell – it’s a chance to engage with new people and showcase your talents to them.