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Taking the First Step

September 26, 2010
Mary Jane Copps

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I get approached frequently for advice on cold calling and the topic a lot of people want to talk about is procrastination. For many people, it is not fear of cold calling that is stalling their sales process, but the fact that they simply don’t sit down and do it!

Why? What makes it so easy to procrastinate on cold calling?

The primary reason is building it up in your mind as a HUGE project, something that’s going to take hours to do and you are too busy right now to deal with it. You’ve got existing clients and meetings with potential clients and, quite frankly, cold calling will have to wait.

First of all, it is important to recognize that procrastination drains our energy, our vitality. Knowing that you are not doing something you should be doing – it takes energy to walk around with that thought in your head all day and continue to avoid the necessary task. How can you end the procrastination cycle? Some simple math formulas can help. Here’s an example of one of them in action:

A coaching client of mine came to me believing that cold calling was going to occupy a lot of her time and didn’t have any idea how she was going to fit it in to her already very full schedule of meetings and travel. My first question was: “How many new clients do you need this year?”

She didn’t hesitate. “Twelve” she said. (Can you answer this question? If so, the following formula will be helpful to you in designing your cold calling schedule.)

I multiplied those 12 clients by 10. Ten is a standard sales reference to the idea that we “close” one out of every 10 people we “pitch”. You may well be a better salesperson than this number implies. It is possible you close one out of every 5 people you pitch, but use the standard as a starting point.

So now we know that she needs to reach 120 qualified prospects in 12 months in order to achieve her goal of 12 new clients. Divide 120 by 12 and we know she needs to cold call 10 new clients each month to fulfill her cold calling target.

This recognition, of 10 new clients a month, served to release some of the built up stress around cold calling. She knew this number was completely achievable. We then went on to figure out how.

What has worked for her is setting aside one hour in the morning two days each week. She has booked this time on her calendar and written in the names of the prospects she will be calling, exactly like booking a meeting.

On the first day of the first week, she called two prospects. On the second day of that week, she called two new prospects and left messages for the other prospects if they had not returned her call.

In Week Two, she followed the same pattern – adding two new prospects each cold calling session, leaving messages for prospects that had not returned her previous calls. She follows this same pattern twice a week until she has all 10 prospects for the month “in play”. She completes the month with messages for these prospects and, when October arrives, she begins to incorporate her 10 new prospects for that month into her sessions.

The result: well, she has had some amazing conversations with potential clients and that is certainly helping to keep her focused and on track. But perhaps more importantly, she has a lot more energy. The simple act of taking charge of the cold calling, mapping it out, setting aside the necessary time and following through has eliminated the “weight” of procrastination she was carrying around. Once a cold calling session is over, she is truly free to focus on the other vital aspects of her job, knowing that she has done what’s necessary to cultivate new business.

As the expression goes “this isn’t rocket science”, but what if you don’t know how many new clients you need? What if you are aiming for an overall revenue goal? There’s a formula for that as well and unless something incredibly exciting happens on the phone this week, I’ll share it with you in my next blog.

Happy phonework everyone!

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