Stop your expectations from sabotaging cold calls.
Sales pressure is a mighty saboteur. And it comes in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. Beginning any conversation with the anticipation of a sale puts the whole conversation under pressure. This doesn’t normally create good outcomes. It usually triggers pressure, resistance, and tension.
People have received so many calls with such a strong focus on sales that they respond in a defensive manner to any sales calls at all. If you can release your expectations while making a cold call, you’ll diffuse the underlying tension that comes with sales pressure. And you’ll be surprised how often others will welcome talking with you.
Most of us truly believe that our product or service can help others, so we assume that anyone who fits the profile of a potential client should buy what we have to offer. Isn’t that one of the first things we learn in our sales training?
But this is a recipe for disaster when it comes to cold calling. When we make a call assuming someone will be interested, we’ve automatically moved into expectations. No matter how well camouflaged they are, sales expectations block the flow of natural conversation and put pressure on the other person.
So move away from making any assumptions when making cold calls. After all, how much sense is it to have assumptions about someone you’ve never spoken with? How much can you possibly know about their problems, issues, needs, budget, or other key information?
If you approach your calls from a place of genuine interest rather than expectations, you’ll diffuse any sense of sales pressure. The other individual will relax and the interaction will flow naturally.
However, if you’re already convinced in your own mind that they should be a fit, certain pressure has already started before the conversation has really even begun. The last thing you want is to introduce this into the conversation. So rather than moving into a sales presentation immediately, maintain the natural flow of interaction instead.
You can diffuse underlying sales pressure within any conversation by focusing first on whether you are a good fit. Invite the other person to focus on this with you. And determine together whether a good business relationship might genuinely be possible.
When our honest objective is not to make a sale but rather discover the truth of the situation, we have released expectations. The key is to offer options, so the person we’re talking with doesn’t feel pressure from us. This would only trigger the defensive reactions we’re trying to avoid.
Overcome the temptation to immediately discuss what you have to offer. Instead, help the other person overcome the fear of who you are and what is expected. Potential clients are much more likely to respond to you when they are not subjected to an immediate mini-presentation. This approach usually just creates suspicion and rejection.
So allow the conversation to have a natural sense of rhythm. Define mutual interest before launching into a description of your solution to a problem you probably know very little about at this point.
If you’re still caught up in the traditional mindset of making the sale, your voice and demeanor will be full of expectation. Although you may even be using the "asking questions strategy," you are really thinking about moving the conversation into the sales process. Others will subtly (or overtly) react to this expectation with resistance.
It’s perfectly fine to describe your product or service. However, you must introduce this at an appropriate time.
So be relaxed and low-key. Otherwise you risk introducing sales pressure immediately.
Rather than a presentation, you might begin with the question, "Hi, maybe you can help me out a second?"
The person will almost always respond by saying "Sure. How can I help you?" You’ve now diffused any immediate sales pressure. You’re being genuine and not using the canned phrases that every other salesperson is using. You’ve gotten rid of the usual initial pressure and tension that comes along with sales expectations.
When your expectations are released, others won’t feel you’re trying to lead them down the path to a sale. They are usually willing to examine along with you whether a business relationship might be good.
So there you have it. Release your expectations to avoid conveying a sense of sales pressure. Potential clients become more interested and involved as a result, and also much more truthful about where they stand.
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