As a salesperson, you know a thing or two about talking to people on the phone, effective communication and forming relationships. However, one aspect of sales that even the best salespeople fear is the dreaded Cold Calls. Use the following 10 Tips for Cold Calling to help guide you through thoughtfully preparing your pitch and making effective cold calls a part of your daily routine.
Cold Calling is the solicitation of business from potential customers who have had no prior contact with the salesperson conducting the call. Picking up the phone and making these calls can be scary. This is not only because you’ve had no prior interaction with these people and you don’t know what to expect, but also because cold calls aren’t always received with the most open of minds.
While sometimes a stressful process, cold calling is an essential part of growing your business and improving your outreach. What you’re trying to do is...
- ... introduce yourself and your business to potential clients.
- ... communicate your product or service’s value to the person on the other end of the line.
So you might find these Tips for Cold Calling useful:
- Know your Prospects
- Collect the Information in the Right Way
- Think about your Positioning
- Prepare a Good Script
- Keep it short
- Stay focused on volume
- Get Comfortable with Rejections
- Always follow up
1. Know your Prospects
Before you pick up the phone, do a general Google search on each prospect, their company and what they do. Find out as much as possible on each prospective client. In this way you can strictly tailor your sales approach to the person you’re going to talk to. When you use a script for every call it can seem impersonal and people are more likely to hang up the phone.
To maneuver around this, create a general sales pitch template that you can easily personalize with specific details. If it seems that you’re just reading from a script, your chances of getting the sale are much lower. You should put in the front-end effort to research and better understand your prospects. Therefore, you’ll be able to form a more genuine connection.
- Research what business or industry the company is in.
- Find out why and how your product/service can help them.
- Communicate the added value that you will add to their business lives.
Aside from the generic Google search, utilize the many different technology-based platforms available to even better understand this new lead. Build a complete profile of your prospects by checking their social media presence, LinkedIn account and online reviews, giving you great insight into what they share, in what they’re interested in and what service you could provide them with.
If you want more insight on how you can improve your prospecting and overcome sales challenges, check out this interview with the CEO of Badger and Sales Expert Steve Benson. He gives great advice on how to approach prospecting while avoiding the common mistakes preventing reps from becoming more successful.
2. Collect the Information in the Right Way
After you’ve collected all the information on your prospect, it’s important to organize it in a useful and efficient manner.
Your success in sales depends a lot on how organized you keep client data. This often means having a contact management tool to compile all the information in one place. In such a way you have a good picture of your potential future clients.
Let’s say that while you’re on a call, the information you need just doesn’t come to your mind. You frantically start looking around to find that tiny piece of paper on which you wrote it. After huffing through your things, you can’t seem to find it anywhere and you’ve lost the sale in the process.
Organizing all your client and prospect information in one database helps you avoid these stressful situations. You can stay organized and be prepared for your cold calling endeavours.
3. Think about your Positioning
While you prepare your cold calling sales pitch, remember to put yourself in your prospects’ shoes. Doing this allows you to take some time to self reflect and think about the reactions to your sales approach. We’ve all experienced being cold-called, and too often it comes off as overly assertive and the salesperson sounds like a faceless robot.
Take the time to “cold call” yourself, paying attention to how you come off. It is useful practicing how you would approach both bigger and smaller companies/clients. Taking this extra time to practice will help you form real relationships with the people on the other end of the line.
4. Prepare a Good Script
Having a script or template to base your calls on will help you stay on track and clearly convey your message. When you begin to write your script, start out with a strong presentation sentence clearly identifying yourself. Introducing yourself from the get go will keep people from immediately hanging up on you. Furthermore, your potential clients will enjoy having a name associated with your company or product
Second, ask if they’re available and if they have time to speak. Make it clear that you’re not going to waste their time and you call will only be a few minutes at most. Demonstrate respect for their time. Specifically, make it clear you appreciate them taking some time to help you get to know them better.
Once you’ve introduced yourself and expressed your appreciation, you can go ahead and communicate why you are calling and the services and value you’re going to bring them. But be careful not to sound like you think they’re doing something wrong, just mention how and why you think you could help them and make their lives better. Provide a concrete example of what you have done for other companies and clients. This will help engage the prospect and allow them to have a better idea of how your product/service could be used.
Finally, just remember not to read the script verbatim. Engage in a real conversation and get to know who you’re talking to!
Side note: If they express that they don’t have time to talk now, give them a concrete time that you’ll call back. If they mention they have no time, you could say something like: “Would tomorrow at 3pm be a better time to reach you?”. Often, trying to get off the phone as quickly as possible, they will agree to this call time and will be more willing to talk and listen at said meeting time.
Practice is crucial to developing your skills in any field, and cold calling is no exception. Make trial calls with your colleagues, ask them to be the mean, difficult to deal with client and prepare yourself for the worst! Try to explore every possible answer to the weirdest questions from prospects. You have to be ready for anything once you pick up the phones and begin making calls.
Getting an overview of what could possible happen in your cold calls will help you to figure out how to make them more successful.
6. Keep It Short
Don’t overtalk. If you jump right into your sales pitch, your potential client’s first impression will be that you’re wasting their time.
- Draft your script to be short and sweet;
- Try to be as succinct as possible in your first few sentences;
- Once the person expresses an interest in your product/service you can go deeper into your product details.
Remember that if you keep talking and talking, your prospect will stop paying attention. You should use your sentences wisely, keeping your information relevant!
With all the preparation you’ve done you should be able to deliver your message accurately and efficiently, while keeping it tailored.
What you say is important, but what’s even more important is what the person who you are talking to is saying. Listen, listen, listen. This will help you figure out what to reply to him/her and truly understand their needs.
What your prospects tell you will be helpful for your other calls as well. Most prospects usually argue the same things. This is why listening, understanding and learning how to effectively respond to them will be useful in the future.
8. Stay Focused on Volume
Cold calling is a numbers game. The more people you will call, the more good results you can (and will) achieve. Results are driven by volume.
As a professional cold caller sometimes the only thing you have control on is the number of times you pick up the phone and call again. Use this to your advantage and call as many people as you can!
9. Get Comfortable with Rejections
Unfortunately, getting a “no” is more likely to happen than getting a “yes” when you’re playing the cold calling game. Don’t let rejection get you down and keep doing your best to be positive, friendly and make them change their mind.
In the end you are convincing them to buy something, whether it is a service or a product, they have to spend money. Getting people to spend money can be tricky!
Think of getting a “no” as a starting point, not an end. Overcome rejections by being kind, but persistent, but also know when you won’t turn a “no” into a “yes” and move on to your next call.
10. Always Follow-Up
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how prepared you are for your calls, some questions can be difficult to answer.
Go back to your team and figure out with them what the right solution would be. In this way, when you will reach out to them again you will be able to handle it better and directly answer their questions.
Following-up helps to gain a place in prospects’ mind, so do this before they have the time to forget about you!
Cold Calls can be a tough activity, making them successful depends on various factors, but following these tips for cold calling you can enhance their quality–and make your life a whole lot easier. Prepare, practice and personalize your calls to see your sales success skyrocket! Personalizing your calls will probably rise the probabilities of success!
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