10 Steps to Increase Cold Calling Confidence in Sales Reps
How do you transform someone who has no cold calling experience whatsoever into a fully competent and confident prospecting superstar?
That may seem like a daunting and time-consuming task. But if you have the right sales coaching tactics and technology and your sales reps have a positive mindset, you can transform your fresh sales reps into prospecting powerhouses who thrive in the world of cold calling.
How to Create Cold Calling Confidence in 10 Steps
For sales reps to succeed at cold calling, companies must have a structured process for training them. Follow these 10 cold calling training steps to help your reps overcome barriers, develop their skills, and become more confident in sales and cold calling.
1. 1-2-1 Start with a mindset session
Cold calling is really hard. It requires bravery, resilience, and mental toughness. Cold call reluctance, as a result, remains prevalent across many sales teams where reps are anxious and fearful of picking up the phone. They get nervous about rejection or feel awkward being an interruption.
Therefore, it’s imperative that before you start training somebody at cold calling, you discuss the importance of having the right mindset and uncovering the hidden mental barriers that will hold the person back.
Acknowledging the realities of this with the salesperson up front shows you understand their concerns and helps them realize you are on their level. It also enables you to discuss and agree on strategies for dealing with rejection ahead of time rather than after the fact, when often it is too late.
2. Whiteboard session call structure, scripts, and objections
There’s nothing quite like getting a marker pen in your hand and drawing a process out on a whiteboard. It feels like you’re being creative, not to mention the obvious benefits for more visual learners.
Whiteboarding enables you to take salespeople through a step-by-step class in an interactive fashion, which is more engaging than just running through a slide deck. It helps them appreciate sales calls as a process and workflow, and something that can become repeatable.
It enables them to better understand the pitfalls and likely moments of calls where objections are going to pop up. It helps them figure out most likely moments where they need to try and close prospects or qualify out.
It’s the theory before the practice that helps to enhance confidence in sales.
3. Listen to call recordings of the good, the bad, and the ugly
Any salesperson will learn more about how to cold call by listening to real sales call recordings for an entire day than if they sit in a classroom listening to a trainer preach for a week.
There’s no more impactful way to help salespeople get familiar with what real sales calls sound like than giving them access to best practice conversations that end in booked appointments.
But critically, it’s also important they hear the calls that don’t go so well, so that they gain an appreciation that it’s not all happy, smiley conversations.
It brings some reality to the theory, and moreover, listening to libraries of recorded calls one after another is immensely more productive than live call shadowing.
4. Role play rapid-fire objection handling
You’ve drawn out your list of sales objections on the whiteboard and talked around ways to handle them. Now it’s time to get your salespeople practicing their responses. The best way to do this is to shout out an objection from your whiteboard and get the salesperson to say their response.
Try mixing up the objections, whilst revisiting the same ones again and again. This starts to build the crucial muscle memory that sets the top reps out from the rest.
Doing this in the office in front of the rest of the sales team has the added benefit of getting them comfortable with “selling” in front of their peers.
5. Use Conversation Intelligence to record sales call role-plays
Practice makes perfect. This is no more true in sales than it is when perfecting your craft in sport or playing an instrument. Effective role play is crucial to helping green sales reps get “game ready,” while building their cold calling confidence in the process.
Practice the first 30-60 seconds of the sales call rather than the entire conversation. Breaking it up into bite-sized chunks helps reps learn in a more manageable format and doesn’t overwhelm them.
The problem with role play is that traditionally, it’s been carried out in false environments and settings. If you are practicing role-play cold calls, then practice on the phone. Doing this face to face is false and unnatural.
Even better, record these calls through tools such as Conversation Intelligence, so you get the benefits of post-call review and feedback. Reps get to hear how they sounded, and more times than not, they can self-diagnose areas where they can improve. Their learning curve just got that much quicker, and they are one step closer to cold calling confidence.
6. Set scenario challenges to practice value propositions
Understanding and relaying your company’s value proposition(s) is one of the most crucial parts of a salesperson’s sales call, yet despite this, most sales reps struggle to deliver this in an impactful way.
They resort to feature bashing or confusing prospects with jargon or complicated language. They need to sound crisp, to the point, and aligned with the problems you solve for your buyer.
I’m going to sound like a broken record, but the only way to improve this is to practice. Giving video-based scenario challenges to sales reps and getting them to practice delivering the value proposition again and again is the route to building that all-important muscle memory and confidence in sales.
This also gives them a safe place to practice versus messing up with real valuable prospects.
7. Listen to best-practice call recordings from the playbook
After practice comes call listening. Mixing in the practical activities with the power of hearing actual sales calls delivers that further reinforcement and transparency that new sales reps need to gain cold calling confidence before they get on the phone with prospects.
I’ve also learned that for the right type of coachable salesperson, they really crave and enjoy listening to the “game tape.”
At this stage of the learning journey, providing access and exposure to the best-in-class conversations gives them the appreciation of what “good sounds like” and massively increases the chances of them replicating this when they speak with prospects.
8. Observe call velocity shadowing sessions
While call shadowing is a time-inefficient process for getting reps listening to sales conversations, there is one unspoken huge benefit of having reps observe you making calls live. They can see how achieving the right level of activity to generate quality conversations is crucial to success.
Getting inexperienced salespeople to simply observe the process and importance of rattling through calls at pace and clocking up the dials gives a more rounded appreciation of what’s expected of them to achieve the right results.
Lead from the front and set the benchmark, while sharpening your own prospecting skills in the process. What’s not to love?!
9. Use Conversation Intelligence to record role-play calls end to end
Like a jigsaw puzzle, it’s time to put all the cold calling training pieces together and start practicing sales calls from start to finish. Again, using tools like Conversation Intelligence to record these practice calls enables you to do rapid post-call debrief sessions. And it encourages reps to self-diagnose and critique their practice sessions.
Try a variety of call types, with some trickier than others, mixing in different objections and call outcomes. One off-shoot benefit of capturing these practice call recordings is they also become great learning material for future fresh sales reps.
10. Make real calls and capture recordings for feedback
Now it’s time for your reps to put all the learnings and rehearsal into practice. Set up “power hours” initially to get reps to start making calls to real prospects. Observe how they conduct themselves and how comfortable they are making dials.
Sit close to them so they feel they have your support, but don’t breathe down their necks so they feel under pressure.
Again, use tools like Conversation Intelligence to review conversations as they happen and deliver real-time feedback back to reps so they can quickly fix mistakes ahead of their next conversation. This cold calling training can, over time, build cold calling confidence and create selling superstars.
Coach Sellers to Make Better Cold Calls
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