While you call

You have your list, elevator speech, and what's left of your patience from completing the first section. Right now you're as prepared as you're ever going to be. It's time to make your first call! But wait, you're still nervous...

1. Take a deep breath

INHALE. EXHALE. REPEAT x10. It takes a lot of courage to call a stranger and pitch them your blood, sweat, and tears. You have love and passion for your business but from my experience with cold-calling, that enthusiasm you bring to the table isn't always reciprocated. You WILL stutter, speak too fast, fumble your words, get hung-up on, get nervous, and even get yelled at. It could happen on your second call or your 5,000,000th. Michael Jordan missed free-throws and Tiger Woods has missed a putt. Bad calls are going to happen and it's important that you remember to not let them affect your psyche. Each deep breath you take is like a fresh slate and refreshing transition into the next call (transcendental meditation helps).

3. Take notes

Who did you speak with? How did the conversation go? Did you talk to the decision maker? What is the best day to follow-up? What is the best medium to reach the decision maker? If you had a good conversation with a receptionist or any other employee, it's extremely important that you record as much information as possible. 

2. Build rapport   

Remember that you are having a conversation with a person. Our initial gut-instant when we start to call is to go right out of the gate with our elevator pitch. Though we spent hours, maybe even days on our pitches, we want to remember to not come off as "robotic". Try to use the elevator pitch when you are queued with a set-up question. "Can I tell Ms. Wilson what this call is regarding?". Boom! Hit that gatekeeper with your masterpiece, confidently assure them that you genuinely want to help their business increase in revenue with your product/service. If you build a good rapport with anyone you talk to, them helping you is more probable.

4. Use a color system

Using a color system is a fantastic way to quickly gauge how close you are to closing certain accounts. Use the following system to improve time management when making a follow-up list (which we will talk more about in the next section, appropriately named After You Call). 

Blue = Cold Lead; Told you no, or maybe even have a service similar to yours. If that is the case refrain from pushing back. Politely thank them for their time and ask if you can follow up in a year. 

Yellow = Warm Lead; Spoke with the decision maker, maybe you made a good impression, but you don't know for sure because he/she was busy and had to go. However, you did receive their email address.

Orange = HOT lead; Spoke with the decision maker and you guys had a fantastic conversation. You were able to provide the DM with some information about your company and he's genuinely looking forward to your appointment. You have also received an email to send some more information. 

Red = Closed Account; Congratulations, the DM has paid you for your product/service!