How Do I Book More Sales Appointments, or, The Challenges of Cold Calling and How to Overcome Them!

I recently ran a poll on Linkedin, asking the question - What is the most difficult part of cold calling new business prospects for you or your team? I gave four options and these four options are things that I hear from delegates in my training rooms up and down the country.

1. Overcoming Fear and Demotivation

2. Getting Past the Gatekeeper

3. Gaining Interest from the Prospect

4. Closing for an Appointment

The results really surprised me.

I thought, based on what I hear in my training classrooms, that I could predict how these results would come out, but one particular thing really took me by surprise.

The results came back like this:

Overcoming Fear and Demotivation - 31.6% of the people responding said that that was a key problem for them.

34.2% of people said Getting past the Gatekeeper was the biggest issue.

26.6% said Gaining Interest from the Prospect once we're having in a conversation with them.

7.6% said Closing for an Appointment was the biggest issue that they faced when trying to book appointments in B2B.

For me, the real surprise was that such a large percentage of professional sales people struggle with the motivation to pick up that phone and cold call. Some of them actually experience fear and, when you consider this is what they do for a living, this becomes a statistic that is quite interesting. It gives us something really to work on with these people to increase that motivation and decrease the fear, giving them more opportunities.

Just imagine what it must feel like to somebody brand new to sales who's never made a cold call in their life or who doesn't normally do this activity as part of their job but now needs to. Or for sales people who might usually need to cold call but they don't because they're too busy managing accounts looking after existing customers, but then have to come in to cold calling when the business requires it because existing business might be tailing off. They're not used to it. There's no culture of it.

So, it was definitely a surprise finding that high percentage of people saying their biggest problem was overcoming the fear and finding that motivation for making calls.

Let's look at each of these situations in turn starting with overcoming fear and demotivation.

Why do we think it exists? In my conversations with people and having followed up on some of the people who responded to this poll, the biggest fear is that fear of the unknown. What's going to be said?

What's going to happen at the other end of the phone?

Am I going to be told no?

Am I going to be rejected?

Am I going to be offended by what is said to me or am I in danger of offending people?

Is this actually a fear that I'm creating because I’m scared, I’m worried that I’m going to disturb people or interrupt them from what they're doing? As a result, they won't welcome my conversation and they won't want to listen to me in order to ascertain whether they need to engage with me or not.