It’s common that new SDRs feel anxious or nervous about cold calling a prospect. They may still be learning about the product they’re selling, feel self-conscious about colleagues hearing their calls, or simply fear being told “no.”
For those of you getting started, we’d like to offer some tried and true advice for overcoming these fears and flourishing in your new SDR role.
Build Your Mental Toughness
Calling prospects is the essence of being an SDR. Your job is to get hold of the decision-maker, qualify the prospect, book a meeting for them with an account executive, and make sure the meeting happens.
Especially at the beginning, the thought of getting rejected or hung up on can be daunting. Sending an email is so much easier and less stressful. However, our experience shows that phone calls are by far the best way to get a meeting booked. A 2-3 minute conversation is much more effective and efficient than emailing back and forth dozens of times.
Working through these initial fears requires mental toughness. A common “problem” with inexperienced SDRs is that they let the negative vibe of a bad day (or three) trickle over to the next day. Big mistake. You’ve got to let go of yesterday, because it’s going to hamper your performance today. Prospects are going to pick up on your discouraged tone of voice – lessening your chances of success.
Instead, try to find the positive in each day and hour (and call…) – maybe you got a couple of referrals, or you set two meetings despite being told “no” ten times. It’s important to focus on the good stuff, because there are always going to be bad days in sales. Shift your mindset to “OK, maybe today I had a bad day, but I know I can set five meetings tomorrow.” With such a frame of mind, a few bad calls will inevitably lead to a great one. And that’s all you need to get back in the groove.
Making the Pitch: Less Is More
Sure, your end goal is booking the meeting, but to do that you need to generate enough interest in 30 seconds for the prospect to want to talk with your outside sales rep. This is where the pitch comes in.
A winning pitch needs to be short, specific and tuned to the prospect’s title and responsibility. Again, mindset is critical here. Go into the call with the mentality that this person wants to meet with you because it’s important to them, and you’re helping them solve a real problem.
Be confident in your pitch, know your product, but don’t obsess about being an expert (a big fear reducer). Keep in mind that your job is to book the next meeting, and it’s up to the account executive to close the sale.
At RightBound, we like to think of the SDR as a matchmaker for a first date. The SDR’s job is to get the prospect to the date with the account executive, who will take it from there.
Protect Your Meetings
Congratulations – you’ve had a great call and booked a meeting for next week. All set, right? Not exactly. As a rule of thumb, the closer in you book your meetings, the more likely they are going to happen (i.e., three days vs three weeks). People are busy and invariably cancel or reschedule meetings (or simply don’t show up).
So how can you improve the odds of the prospect showing up for your meeting? If your meeting is set, for example, 5-6 days out, you need to protect it from getting bumped from your prospect’s calendar.
Verbally confirming the meeting on the phone two days before the scheduled time will make it very hard for them to cancel at the last minute. When they look at their calendar in the morning and decide which meetings to attend and which to skip, they’ll feel obliged to go because they told you so on the phone. If they have to cancel, they’ll more than likely reschedule because you went to the trouble to call them to confirm.
Voicemail or an audio message over LinkedIn is another effective confirmation option (if you can’t reach them by phone) as it signals to the prospect that the meeting is important to you.
Overcoming Fear Is Part of the Job
We know from experience that calling prospects can be a scary proposition, particularly for new SDRs. By keeping a positive mindset, never losing sight of your end goal and using proven tactics for getting better cold call results, you can overcome any fears and focus on the job at hand. The good news is that the more calls you make, the better you’ll get and the more confident you’ll be.
Go get ’em!