By: Kristi DeMoisy on May 18th, 2020

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Sales and Cold Calling: Tips From A Logistics Perspective

Agency Ownership | Best Practices

In today's world, most people have a hard time admitting when things are uncomfortable or something makes them fearful. Cold calling, prospecting, and cold emails are things that make most of us uncomfortable. 

A very small percentage of people in sales look forward to picking up the phone and making cold calls. As someone who has worked as both an agent and an agent recruiter at Armstrong Transport Group, I have had to face my fear of cold calling. Over the last 5 years, I have found some tips and tricks to make that process a little bit easier. Improving my cold calling technique has enabled me to generate new sales leads, and grow my current customers, making me an all-around better salesperson.

So, how do I motivate myself to make those calls? Let me share a few tips that have really helped me become successful.  

Call Today, Profit Later   

Not feeling motivated to make that first call of the day? Think about what you want success to look like in six months, and pick up the phone. Salespeople drive growth in their business by reaching out and connecting with potential customers. 

My absolute favorite part about cold calling is the anticipation of what will follow. Try to find joy in knowing that after you stumble through that first call, leave those messages and send follow up emails, you will eventually get results.  

Stop Overthinking

Pick up the phone and make the call. Don’t psych yourself out. If you have a client you are nervous to call, do a few warm-up calls, then call that client! 

This simple step creates action, almost like getting warmed up for a workout or a game.  As you take action, you are learning things about yourself and improving your process. 

Have a Plan

Having a hard time motivating yourself to cold call? Set your day up in blocks of time. Don’t try to make cold calls for your entire day. Nobody thrives with that much rejection.

Sit down and cold call for 20-30 minutes, then take a break or work on a different task. Go on a walk, make a cup of coffee or you can always respond to all those emails waiting in your inbox. When you are ready to try again, repeat the process. 

By the end of your workday, you will have made progress, which is exciting!  Use that excitement to motivate yourself to make cold calls the next day. As time goes on those cold calls will start turning into warm leads and progress. 

Log Your Calls and Emails

Count your cold calls and your cold emails. Track your results on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Sales Managers are constantly evaluating Key Performance Indicators or KPI’s, and you should too.   

  • How many prospects answered/returned your call? 
  • What was the total length of the call?
  • How many prospects responded to an email/LinkedIn message?  
  • Set a follow-up action: quote a load, demonstrate the system, check-in via phone.

After tracking your cold calls and emails, analyze the response rate. Use this to determine the numbers needed to generate opportunities.  For example, it may take 47 calls to earn one opportunity to quote, and 94 calls and earn two opportunities.

Research

Set aside time for researching each day or week before making cold calls. It is possible to research a  business or a person too much. If you are spending more of your time doing research instead of contacting people, you are probably avoiding making the calls. And ultimately inhibiting your success.

Research needs to provide the who, what, why, and where basics to empower a salesperson to have an intelligent conversation with the prospect.  

Topics to Research

  • Key People: Utilize LinkedIn. What does this person do within the company? Are they my main contact for what I am trying to achieve?
  • Product: What is being shipped and what type of equipment is required? Do they use flatbeds or double drops?  Do they have any LTL being neglected?
  • Industry Trends: Includes season items. Is there a large upturn in this product or industry? Prospecting during an off season can actually be more beneficial. Be prepared when they are starting to get busy and know their industry well enough to know the ebb and flow.
  • Gatekeepers: If you can't get past the gatekeeper to the person you need to speak to, research the gatekeeper so you can start a conversation with them.

Position Yourself As “Plan B”

I use the strategy I refer to as “Plan B.” When the prospect tries to dismiss you or get off the phone, ask them if they have a Plan B: 

  • What if their current agent can't find them a truck, or is out of town?
  • What if they have a problem with their current brokerage?
  • What if the rates or the pay changes in the future?

If any of these ‘what if’s’ takes place, what is their plan? It’s a very low-pressure approach to say, “I don’t expect you to do anything now, but I want to at least be on your radar when you do consider making change.”

Don't try to make the sale or get too personal with the first call. Introduce yourself, ask questions, and try to get the prospect to engage with you.  

If they are receptive to that approach, begin reaching out either by direct emails, sending blogs that you or your organization has written, or subscribing them to your corporate newsletter. Keep yourself on the radar for when they are ready to buy. 

Tenacity

Once you get through the potential customer, try to keep them on the phone. Find out about their current situation and what they like about it. Be respectful and positive to their choices. Always ‘go high’ and refrain from badmouthing a competitor. 

Closing these calls with a request for a meeting, to quote a load or the ability to follow up in the future will keep your dialog open. Use a CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce to create workflows and tasks. I like to use a combination of automated communication and workflows within the CRM with task reminders to make calls. 

I typically employ a low-pressure but consistent approach, and circle back to leads every 60 days. Agent recruiting tends to have a long sales cycle, making that time frame appropriate. Consider what has worked for you in the past, direction from management, and set realistic goals for yourself and follow through.  

Motivation and Education 

Take the time to read or listen to inspirational speakers and industry leaders. Teach yourself how to get up after you fall. Learn how to motivate yourself when it seems like the answer will always be a no. 

It's the people that continue trudging forward after they feel defeated that tend to prevail.  Reading and listening to motivational tales can be inspirational! 

Favorite Resources:

Although this is not your typical business resource, the author overcame so many obstacles in life and will not take “no” for an answer. He reminds us that what we think we can do, we can. And what we think we cannot do, we can’t.

Worth A Read or Listen: 

Keep Dialing

Cold calling can be a scary proposition for all salespeople. Some of them can even be as bad as we imagined. Don't take it personally. The more calls you make, the better you’ll  learn what works for you. Do your research, get to the right person, and try to keep them talking. Set follow-up calls and work towards getting the results that you want.

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