Just about every sales organization performs some sort of cold calling. And most of those organizations incorporate some sort of training for their sales staff. The training may include some information on the products and services that are being sold, maybe some information on the company systems and processes, and likely a focus on general sales methodology. What is not very common in most training curriculum is some form of very focused cold call training.
Training on cold calling is very specific material around the art and discipline of picking up the phone and performing outbound calling. And while most organizations see the value in doing sales training, there is often not a lot of information and training provided specific to the area of cold calling.
It could be debated that the reason there is often not training provided at the cold calling level is attributed to the three myths of predicting a successful cold caller:
Outgoing Personality: There is a common belief or perception that if a person has a very outgoing personality, they will likely be a good cold caller. This is an understandable assumption to make as both cold calling and being outgoing require a person to be fairly talkative. Unfortunately, that alone is not enough to make a strong prediction that an outgoing person will be successful at cold calling. It definitely helps, but without proper cold call training, outgoingness alone will not automatically lead to success.
Sales Experience: The second myth that can occur is that people assume that if someone has sales experience already, they will be able to successfully make cold calls. Experience is definitely a good thing for a sales person to bring to a position, but there are many different types of sales positions and someone could have years of experience but actually has very little knowledge about how to successfully pick up the phone and generate leads. Even if they have experience making cold calls, if they have never had formal cold call training and sales coaching, their experience might not add anything to their position for success.
Activity Equals Results: The third myth for predicting a successful cold caller is that if they work hard and have high activity levels, they will be successful. The reality is that, unfortunately and fortunately, in sales effort alone does not directly lead to results. Especially in the area of cold calling, if we pick up the phone and make 100 calls everyday, but we do not know what we are doing, that effort will not automatically produce lead generation. And on the other extreme, if we know exactly what we are doing and are highly effective, we can drive a high level of results from a below average level of effort.
When we look at these three myths we can see why a very busy business operating on a tight budget might skip the activity of delivering training for cold calling. Instead of making the investment of time and money, they invest in outgoing sales people that have sales experience. Management then puts them on the phone with a set of goals and pushes for high activity levels. While this this approach will deliver some results, it also could lead to unsatisfactory sales performance, sales staff turnover, and missed sales opportunities.
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