It has been 3 months since I started my career in Sales.
Roughly speaking, I spend 40% of my time on warm leads (inbound), 40% on cold leads (cold calling / emailing) and 20% on key account management & other projects.
I bet you know which of these 3 main tasks made me go through mood swings the most. There were some interesting things I learned during my first 100 cold calls though. Let me quickly tell you about the journey:
The beginning – getting pumped up
In the beginning, I was hoping that each call would be as short as possible. I simply wanted to get over it and go home. I mean, what successful business person would want to hear a kid with an East European accent tell him how he can help his company?
Of course, everything was in my head. The people on the other side of the line have no idea who I am. They are used to being approached by potential partners and, if the timing is right, they might be looking into a product similar to the one I want to pitch.
Even though I knew that, I still felt a fear of rejection. I didn’t want to be hanged up and I thought that I might freeze if a person asks me some questions. As soon as the first calls were done, I felt pretty good. Then, after one person showed interest, I wanted to have more of that.
But things don’t happen as you want. Thus, some day I could have a 7 minute conversation and the next day have all conversations shorter than 7 seconds.
At that stage, it didn’t matter – I was pumped up and ready to rock and roll!
The middle – slowing down
50 calls later, something was not right. I wasn’t feeling as enthusiastic as before, potential clients barely replied and I was already looking forward to my Christmas holiday.
I started reading more about cold calling, listening to different opinions and asking myself why am I not feeling pumped any more?
The funny thing is that during this phase I became aware of what cold calling and SEO have in common: everybody has an opinion about them; but because there are so many myths around, it is almost impossible to achieve great results.
Thus, I realized that the only way I can keep moving forward is to remain the dumbest person in the room:
I told myself that I am going to keep listening to opinions & advice, but I am going to trust my own data. I am going to test different times of calling, different lines / approaches, different email titles / lines etc. Then, I will see what works and what doesn’t.
It would be the only feasible way of reaching a conclusion.
The end – stopping taking things personal
Fast forward a few weeks later: after I got hanged up a few calls in a row, I realized that I was not feeling as bad about it as I was 2 months ago.
One conclusion after 100 cold calls is that there are all kinds of people I am trying to approach. Some simply hate getting called and don’t want to speak with a person they never met. Others are extremely busy. I cannot control these aspects.
I still get rejected, but I react differently to it. I started to internalize the mindset of never giving up. I am also focusing on things I can control, such as the words I am using / the tone of the voice / different techniques I can use to overcome objections.
I am also applying different tips to avoid the mood swings, eg.: keeping track of the progress is fun. 85 calls done and the weekend comes soon? Let me stretch 15 more so I reach the 100 mark. Then, I can draw some conclusions and maybe write a short article about it 🙂
The future – in data we trust!
Now it’s time to gather a new sample of data for which I am going to use different words when introducing myself in a call, a different email & title and maybe an extra way of approaching (eg., LinkedIN).
We’ll see how that goes.
Until next time, keep testing and keep pushing!
Note: if you liked this article, you might enjoy reading about my 2nd month into Sales: I talk about why listening is important and how I failed to do it.