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Perfect your cold calling

Today with unlimited access to internet and advanced technology, cold calling isn’t as stressful as it used to be. And acing it is not so difficult at all. A lot of information is available to salespeople these days through social media and other sources.
This exercise also helps to determine fundamentally whether something will happen at all or not.
More than all the stages in the selling process, the stage of cold calling aids the sales person to interpret, to define and to command the situation – just like the conductor of an orchestra. The sales person can easily determine the interpretation, direction and cooperation between the customer and herself/himself.
This – rather than merely delivering a script to a list of contacts – is the sales person’s role and opportunity at the cold call stage.

When you dig deeper, you’ll be able to answer the question as to who is best positioned to view and respond to the overall system? It is definitely not the CEO, not the managers, not the technical project managers. The person best positioned to see and adapt to the whole system is the cold caller. Only that sales person has the breadth and depth and an apt view of their own organization as well as a view into the prospective customer’s organization. Merely understanding this helps immensely to adopt an empowered and strategic approach to cold calling

 

And with the help of a few pointers, a salesperson can ace sales like a pro.

1. Don’t forget to do your homework
Market research and analysis is an important aspect that needs to be always kept in mind to identify common pain points of your targeted prospects. Know about the company or individuals you are going to call in advance.

2. Keep the script ready but use improvisation too
If you’re anxious about accidental blunders or nervous tics, prepare a sales call script which has solutions to questions that customers are likely to ask. But don’t come across as a parrot. Be ready to improvise in the midst too.

3. Introduce yourself well
First impressions still matter! Your first words in the first minute or so will set the tone of the conversation. As a result, you need to prepare a stellar introduction that can entice your prospects and keep them invested in what you have to say.

4. Hone your talking style
Sales calls can be just as intimidating as face-to-face meetings. If you’re edgy before a call, practice a few times. Record yourself while rehearsing your pitch during cold calling to understand your strengths and weaknesses.

5. Don’t shy from asking for more
Get into the frame of mind where you ask your customers what they want. Ask them about their requirements, the problems their business faces and the kind of solutions they are looking for.
Cold calling is a skill and much like any other skill, it needs practice and perseverance. So, practice, work a bit harder and ace your cold calling skills!

Questions to ask in a startup interview

Having worked in a company that was one of the best and had even been voted as one of the “Best Places to Work”, it wasn’t really an easy decision to quit and start on my own. Before I decided to take off on my own, I had a word with some investors and had numerous exchanges with a handful of CEOs too. And then came the scariest part – HIRING the right team.

Armed with my own experiences and know-how, here are some nuggets of wisdom to all of you who wish to join a startup. Ask and you shall receive the answers! Here are some questions you should consider asking your employer:

What do you expect me to complete in the first quarter?
Almost everyone thinks they have come from a high pressure, fast turnaround environment, till they actually start working for a startup! Here priorities change by the day. The whole direction could be steered in an all new way in just a week. Make your interviewer give this question a thought and delve into details. This will also give you an opportunity to ask smart follow-up questions about the work you would likely be doing the day you step in.

What KPIs are earmarked for me and how would I be evaluated?
Enquiring about your performance review shows that you have the confidence and the ability not only to think you’ll get the job, but also to do whatever is expected to be a high achiever. Also, this is a practical question to ask. The way a startup executive looks at success may be very varied from your previous employer. Get to know what the employer expects from you and also learn about the priorities of your future seniors all at the same time.

Do you see my skill sets as suitable for this position or is it vice versa?
Now this one’s actually loud and bold! But when addressed with panache and élan, would go on to showcase how you have a sense of humor and add some levity to the interview. You want your interviewer to see your drive, determination and confidence and you also want to put them in a position where they see you as a natural fit and hire you on the spot.

Who are our biggest competitors?
This question makes the interviewer think as tough you’ve been hired and are accepting the organization as your own. This also goes on to showcase your thinking prowess as a leader. That you are someone who knows how to put the company first. In the startup world, this comes as prerequisite as leaders are forged in fire. Demonstrate that you’re ready to take on the world from day one.

What is your leadership style?
Get your interviewer to talk about herself/himself. There’s no one who doesn’t enjoy speaking about themselves! People always like to discuss their accomplishments and by asking about a specific leadership style you’re readying the interviewer to hit a home run, patting themselves on the back all the way around the bases.
There are other questions you can ask, but it is equally important to listen closely. What is more important is to pay attention to their responses and how each individual answers the questions. From their responses, you can identify if the company and you are a fit for each other.
If you are going to join a startup, you should not only be totally sure that you are passionate about the company’s vision and product, you should also be 200% excited to work with the founders, investors and potential colleagues. Your time is valuable. It is the one asset you cannot make back, so it’s critical to be protective of your time and spend that time with the people you’re not only excited to learn from but grow with.