The internet is overflowing with tips and techniques for cold calling. The main reason for this is to boost the morale of salespeople who dislike it! Even though cold calling is not a favorite of the majority, reaching out to cold prospects over the phone is not going anywhere anytime soon. Despite having emails, social media, and instant messages, cold calling won’t lose its position in the sales world.
Before looking at the best cold calling techniques, let’s learn a little about cold calling.
Cold calling is a sales activity that salespeople indulge in to reach out to potential customers who have not shown interest in the products or services you offer. The cold calling techniques are to get the attention of prospects over the phone without any prior contact.
Cold calling forms a part of the early stages of the sales cycle and is the most important one for any business.
Over time, cold calling has seen progress from just being a task where a sales rep reads out the sales pitch to a communication technique that boosts sales.
Cold calling is a challenging activity as you reach out to a person who isn’t aware of you or what you have to offer. It is more of an art that involves approaching people professionally and meaningfully and placing a worthy proposition before them.
There is also a popular misconception that cold calling isn’t legal. While different countries have specific rules and regulations that salespeople have to follow, cold calling is legal.
Some people even say that cold calling is dead. However, that is not true because many businesses depend on cold calling to drive sales. That holds good for Fortune 500 companies as well as startups.
Therefore, cold calling is a legal and effective way of bringing in customers and boosting sales.
While cold calling is not dead, you can’t stick to the practices followed back in the 90s. Many changes have taken place in the last two decades, and to make cold calling work in 2021, you have to adapt to them.
Here are some cold calling tips on how to make cold calls. They will help boost your B2B sales,
You can’t undermine the importance of doing your research before calling prospects. Prospects would appreciate the fact that you managed to get enough information about them before the call. Researching can help you start a better conversation with the prospect and show that you are interested in them. It will help you build stronger bonds.
Try to get started by checking their company website, social media, and professional networking sites like LinkedIn. Look for the latest news about the prospect’s company on their website, find out the company’s backstory, and see whether you know any of the board members. Looking at the careers page will give you an idea of the different open positions and the required skill set.
Apart from the above-mentioned company-related research, you also need to know about the prospect to be impressive.
Learn about their education, professional background, role in the company, recent achievements, hobbies, interests, and most importantly, find out whether you have any mutual connections.
Cold calling can be a challenging task even for experienced salespeople. It can get you nervous and anxious, leading to stumbling or speaking too fast. That is not good when you have to make sales, and therefore, having a script would help.
Using a script is one of the best cold calling techniques as it offers many benefits. With a polished script, you can bring clarity to your thoughts and refine your approach.
It can also be easier to improve the sales team’s selling skills because if one of the reps deviates from the script and finds a better way out, it gets shared with the entire team.
Also, sales scripts can support reps on their low-performance days and save them from delivering poor results.
You can begin with a basic script for your campaign. Feel free to make changes in it as you progress, because, over time, you can find out what prospects like and what they don’t.
While using a sales pitch can be helpful, you shouldn’t sound like a robot reading out the lines word by word. Try using the script like how an actor would and improvise on it. Your human emotions should be there in the conversation. Begin with memorizing the introduction well and be ready with open-ended questions to get the conversation flowing. Prepare yourself for the answers to common questions. Be thorough with the script but keep the emotions alive.
Over the phone, you have only ten seconds to prove your worth to the prospect. After a quick introduction, you can shift your focus on what you know about the prospect through your research. As your opening sentence matters, you can begin with complimenting the prospects on their latest achievement.
Here are a few examples,
1. Congratulations on your promotion!
2. I saw your article on the XYZ website.
3. Your work on the ABC project inspires me.
The ultimate goal of every sales call is to keep the prospect on the line. As the other person doesn’t know you, they would not be too keen to speak with you. Therefore, it is your responsibility to make sure that the other person doesn’t get a chance to hang up. So, it is better to avoid asking, “Is now a bad time?”. The prospect would say yes just to shut you down. Try to capture the prospect’s interest with personalized statements instead so that they want to continue speaking to you.
Getting rejected is nothing to be ashamed of. It is part and parcel of sales. The truth is that there is no one in sales who has not faced rejection.
People can be rude to you at times, and it may be discouraging, but you can’t let the fear of rejection slow you down. Just remember that you shouldn’t take it personally.
If someone declines your offer, do politely ask them the reason for it so that you know where you went wrong. It may not always be because of you; at times, the reason for turning you down can be the product’s price or the fact that they didn’t need it. Understand the pattern and make tweaks in your cold calling strategies but don’t let rejection block your path.
Be a true salesperson and embrace rejection.
One of the best cold calling sales tips is the proper use of your voice. Apart from your words, the success of your cold call depends on the tone of your voice. The prospect would judge you by your tone of voice and decide whether to trust you or not. Therefore, you should keep a few things in mind,
a. Keep your volume level right to sound confident
The prospect usually notices your volume first. If your volume is too low, it will show your lack of confidence, and the other person will pass you off as nervous or afraid. It would be a total bummer for your sales call. On the other hand, shouting over the phone is not acceptable either. It will make you look like an aggressive person. Your voice should not be jarring to hear.
Between being too timid and too loud is a spot that you should settle for. Just make sure that you are a little louder than average so that the prospect can hear what you have to say. The prospect will feel that you are a confident person who knows what he is doing.
b. Keep your pace optimal
Speaking at a slow pace can make the prospect think that you are unsure about what you are saying and may not show interest. However, talking at a breakneck speed can do you no good either. Just let your pace be lukewarm i.e., in between both the extremes. Keep it a little above average so that you seem intelligent and confident.
c. Use confidence-building body language
While making cold calls, sit up straight, look above the ground, and smile. Though the prospect can’t see you, they can feel your vibes from your voice. It will give you a boost and make you sound full of energy and confidence.
Note: To master the right tone, try to listen to call recordings and hear your voice. It will tell you where you have to improve.
The timing of your call matters a lot. You have to ensure that you don’t disturb the prospect at the wrong time. For instance, calling a prospect on the second half of Friday is not a good idea. At this time, everyone waits to finish off work and get into their weekend mode. They would not want to attend any cold sales calls.
On a similar note, Monday morning is another wrong time to call people. It is the beginning of the week, and people are dragging themselves to the office and feeling sad about the weekend getting over.
The best days to call are Wednesdays and Thursdays, either early morning between 6:45 and 9 am or later in the day between 4 and 5 pm.
In cold calling, the prospect on the other end will try to get off the phone, but your job is to keep the conversation going. For that, knowing how to deal with objections is essential.
Here are a few of the common ones you would face,
1. The prospect asks you to send them an email – This is quite common, and to overcome it, say, “I will email you for sure but to know what to include in it, can I ask you….” Doing so will keep the conversation moving ahead.
2. The prospect says, ‘There is no time to talk now’ – You will hear this often but as a reply, tell them – “That’s not a problem, when can I reach you for a 2-minute conversation?” You won’t sound too desperate here and let them know that you require only 2 minutes of their time. Doing so will make the prospect continue the call.
3. The prospect says, “I can’t decide right now. Call me next week” – This is usually the scenario in large companies where there is the need for the approval of many people to purchase a product or service. But you can’t leave the prospect without knowing what to do in the meanwhile.
Try to ask where the meeting will take place and whether you can be a part of it. Explain the prospect about the rest of the steps to take the deal forward.
The truth is that the behavior of other humans influences us. It holds good in selling too. Tell your prospect the story of another client of yours facing similar challenges and how your product or service helped them. Presenting social proof on your call with the prospect will make them more likely to close the deal.
To increase the chances of getting a response from the prospect, asking questions beginning with how, what, who, when is one of the best cold calling techniques that work.
For example, you can ask, “How would you feel about trying a new platform for cold outreach?” instead of asking, “Would you like to try out a new cold outreach platform?”
You have to get the prospect talking to learn as much as possible, such as their needs and expectations. Asking questions such as the one above will increase the chances of a discussion over the call.
When you can’t reach the prospect, consider leaving a voicemail. Make sure you keep it 20 to 30 seconds long. Instead of thinking about the reply, focus on building trust.
Begin the voice mail by saying who you are and give your connecting statement. In the end, try to arouse the prospect’s curiosity so that they want to hear more from you.
Try to use social proof and stats to make it sound more compelling.
Remember to replace your ‘I’ with ‘We’ to make your cold call a success. There is no room for ‘I’ in a team. It is like bringing in the spirit of teamwork that gives out positivity.
Research says that the We-to-I ratio in successful calls is 35 percent higher than unsuccessful sales calls.
On similar lines, say ‘Our ‘ instead of ‘My’ or ‘Mine’. The Our-to-My ratio in successful calls is 55 percent higher than that of unsuccessful sales calls.
Therefore, it means that the use of collaborative language fetches you better results.
One of the most essential cold calling techniques is to schedule the next steps in the call. All the successful cold calls devote more time to discussing what the next step would be. In some, more than half of the conversation is about moving to the next stage of the sales cycle.
Those reps who have a long sales pitch run out of time and cannot talk about what the next steps should be. Another reason for failing to talk about the next steps is not keeping the prospect on the line.
The solution for this is to keep the sales pitch shorter so that you can capture the prospect’s interest and schedule the next steps without having to rush through it.
If your call is going well and you have made the prospect ready for a meeting, you have almost made it. You are just one step away from scheduling it, but how should you ask that to the prospect? The closing question is simple,
“Do you have your calendar with you?”. Doing so will expedite the process of scheduling the meeting. Try using it to get the best results.
Before you get on to your next sales call, consider the cold calling sales tips mentioned above. They will help you get the desired results. It is not mandatory to follow all of them as that would not be a practical approach. Just try the different techniques to see what works for you and what doesn’t. That is the only way to keep improving your cold calling techniques and add more prospects to the sales funnel.