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Cold calling is popular even in this digital era. If you want to be a successful salesperson, you need to crack the ‘cold call’ puzzle.
How can one go about cold calling successfully? Cold-calling is similar to acting in a movie wherein one has the script, but still needs to slightly amend it to suit the circumstances. Imagine yourself to be a sales professional who is looking to make a successful cold call. Where am I going to start and what do I say to my first prospect would be some questions puzzling you. This post tells you tried and tested cold calling techniques.
What is cold calling?
Cold calling is the technique of contacting individuals who haven’t expressed a prior interest in the offered product or service. It generally involves conversation by phone but can also include in person door-to-door visits.
How do you prepare for the game of cold calling?
‘A good beginning and you’re halfway there’ – cold calling is no exception to this. The first set of words are the most difficult ones. What do I say after ‘Good morning/afternoon/evening’ is what puzzles most salespeople. It is very important to ensure that the beginning doesn’t become the end. The best opening lines for cold-calling are the ones that persuade the prospects to stay connected atleast for the next few minutes and from there on it lies in understanding the prospect before making a sales pitch.
‘We don’t know one another and this is basically a cold call’ can really be a great line to start with because the prospect gets an idea of what to expect next. There’s no one line that fits every cold-call, so be ready to experiment. ‘I know your time is valuable, so I’ll be quick. The reason for my call is…’ – is another nice line that acknowledges that the prospect is busy but gives an idea that you’ve also got something important to say. Moreover, with this approach it is possible to straight away jump into the core message to be conveyed without having to take the ordeal of explaining everything about you and your company.
As important as the first line of your cold call is the first cold call itself.
Make the best of your first call
Making a sale is the end goal of cold calling and trying to accomplish that right at the very first call might be tempting. But, that is not the end goal of the first call, it is to establish a relationship with the prospect. Making the best out of the first cold call simply means establishing an ever-lasting relationship with potential customers. It is to be understood that prospects don’t want to be sold to, they only wish to be informed so that they can make a decision on their own. Just imagine calling a friend after a very long time. You start with the discussion on a lot of different things that interest both you and your friend. Your prospect is just a to-be-friend. Now, you might wonder what it takes to be a successful cold caller. Should you randomly cold call?
Create a highly targeted list
The best way to reduce ‘No, Thank you’ messages to cold calls is to create a highly targeted list of potential customers. While random cold calling might seem to provide a greater bandwidth to make sales, but by doing so you’re hurting your organisation’s future cold calling attempts. Knowing precisely who might be interested in the product and making targeted calls is the best use of time and effort one can make. This also ensures that invaluable time of prospects is also put to best use. It is always important to remember that people only appreciate and acknowledge things that add value to their lives. So, trying to sell by presenting potential customers a great product that adds value to their lives is the best way to make use of cold calls. In case of cold calling an organisation, few traits to look for are industry, size, and geography. In case of individual people, their role, the tools they use to perform their job are the go-to traits. The list to be targeted is ready, the first few lines to be spoken have been decided and you’re prepared to make the best of your first cold call. But the right time to make the call is the next big question.
Schedule your calls
Creating a chart with the customer’s most responsive time of the day can help cold callers. Making calls during lunch might infuriate prospects. There are times when people are more likely to attend calls. A call right in the first hour of work might not be something that people might want to respond to but one during evenings can definitely be worth the attempt. If prospects don’t attend calls, are voicemails an effective option?
Effective voicemails can be game-changers
With rising irrelevant cold calls, people are avoiding unsolicited calls. So, effective voicemails can be a good way to get attention. The aim of the voicemails shouldn’t be to sell but to kindle the interest of prospects.
Turn gatekeepers into allies
Many sales professionals suggest other roadblocks to cold calling than just prospects not picking up calls. One such is bypassing gatekeepers, like secretaries. When cold calling high-profile prospects, it’s gatekeepers who first decide on taking it further or cutting it there. So, it’s pivotal to convert gatekeepers into allies to get to high-profile prospects and not just bypass them.
Responding to ‘send me more information’
There are times when salespeople are not immediately rejected, people try to end the conversation by saying ‘send me more information’ so as to not sound rude. New salespeople see this as the ultimate opportunity to make a sale and send the prospect generic information after ending the call. The mistake lies here. But, there’s a way to leverage this to the advantage of salespeople. When the prospect says ‘send me more information’, replying ‘cool, thank you for showing interest in our product/service’ helps keep the momentum going. Following it up with a question like ‘Are you interested in Y or Z of our service?’ will help know a lot more information about the prospect. This also lets you make a long conversation with the prospect and then send across personalized follow-up emails. Follow this up with more personalized questions. This will create a compelling situation for the prospect to give due attention to the salesperson’s follow-up email. Your answer to ‘send me more information’ can sometimes turn out to be pivotal for making a great sale.
Leverage social media contacts
A sales professional must build trust with the prospect to be successful at cold calling. Is there a way to build trust? Take this for starters, the receiver of a cold call is 70% more likely to speak with a person who is a mutual connection in a common LinkedIn group than to someone who isn’t. It is true that having a social media connection increases the prospect’s receptiveness when cold called.
Being turned down is quite normal
Even after all the humongous effort that has been put in, there’s still a chance you could be rejected. In a process like cold-calling that expects one to make unsolicited calls, being rejected is something you must accept and get used to, even if it means dealing with angry responses sometimes.
Quick idea : One simple idea to vent out all the bad experiences would be to form a group with similar cold callers and share interesting things that prospects told them.
Cold calling myths
Cold calling is dead
The biggest question that keeps lingering in the mind of new salespeople is ‘Does cold calling still work?’
Cold calling is dead, it’s outdated, who even does that anymore? these are some of the common responses you get when you ask, “why not use cold calling for sales?”
But Dale Dupree of Sales Rebellion begs to differ, and he is on a mission to change the way people sell. We sat down with Dale to uncomplicate ‘cold calling’. He starts off by saying, “Cold calling is no different than meeting your best friend for the first time. (He/She) was a stranger at one point, and now you have a wonderful relationship with them.”
Humanised way of selling
Dale then breaks this concept down further. A lot of sales folks and people from the SDR teams are scared to call the CEOs or CxOs for a sale. The key to overcoming this fear is to flip the switch when it comes to cold calling.
The trick is to not start too strong by immediately launching into one’s product or company. More often than not sales people try to find pain points, talk about product fit, and dig a little too deep, too quickly.
“You need to nurture the cold call. You need to recognize that when you call somebody for the first time, it is a little awkward,” says Dupree.
While it may have its benefits, a cold call is seen as a hindrance to the daily job of the person on the receiving end. To overcome this, use simple techniques that have been known to work on the human psyche, like kindling a person’s curiosity, or striking a genuine conversation that will interest the person.
Flip the funnel
Dupree’s most trusted maxim is, don’t start about who you are, your accolades, and all those details. Try and interrupt the normal pattern, and be proactive in a sales call. The mindset should be along the lines of thinking proactively about what the person is used to hearing.
Let’s not forget that it is a real human on the other end of your phone line, and not a mechanized robot.
For instance, you go to someone’s cubicle, you find all kinds of instances of objects, paintings, and stuff that talks volumes about their character and their interests. Ever wondered why these elements are always around in plain sight? “Because we long to be ourselves on a daily basis,” says Dupree. That hits the nail right on the head. At the end of the day, selling is just a byproduct of great conversations.
Cold calling is about the number of calls
When it comes to cold calling, ‘quality’ beats ‘quantity’. The number of cold calls one makes in a day isn’t as important as the quality of the calls. Making a few calls and converting all or most of it into great leads for the organisation is of great value to both the caller and the prospect.
Cold calling is nothing but an interruption
Because everyone’s been at the receiving end of irrelevant cold calls, we just know that cold calls can be an interruption. Yes, cold calling is an interruption, but if that interruption has some value for people, there can be nothing better.
Numbers don’t lie. Here we go:
It takes an average of six cold call attempts to reach a prospect – cold calling is difficult but worth the attempt. It takes time for a successful cold call but dropping in the middle isn’t something you should think about
82% of buyers accept meetings when salespeople reach out to them – there’s a huge probability that the next buyer is from your next cold call. Make the call now!
Only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs – this is exactly why this post encourages you to cold call only a highly targeted list of people who might be interested in the product or service
Wednesdays are perfect for cold calling and have a better strike rate than other days. Second half of Friday is the time one should for sure avoid because people tend to avoid work(weekend is approaching!) (Reference : Call Hippo’s research)
80% of calls go to voicemail – that’s exactly why voicemails can make or break the technique of cold calling.
92% of customer interactions happen over phone – So, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t cold call in the future! Cold calling is alive and thriving. There’s a great reason to keep it going – nothing beats a great conversation!