Cold calling is dying fast in today’s virtual world. If you had your way, your phone would ring all day with prospects offering business. But the truth is that cold calling if done correctly, can be an effective sales strategy.
According to a survey done by DiscoverOrg in which 60% of the more than 1000 respondents said they had taken an appointment or attended an event after being contacted via cold calls or emails, 60% reported that this was true.
These cold calling tips will not make your stomach sink, but they will make cold calling more enjoyable.
Cold calling tips for more cold calling success
1) Keep your eyes on the end goal.
Cold calling is often a way to make sales. It’s not. It’s all about making the sale. A cold call is used to set up an appointment and make the pitch.
2) Do your market research before calling.
Targeting your cold calling to the right audience is key. To focus on your target audience, you can use market research. Next, learn as much information as possible about the person or company you are going to call. This will give you the advantage of being able to talk to them about their business and their requirements when you call.
According to Gartner Group, seven people make up the majority of buying decisions in a business with 100-500 employees. This is why it’s important to connect with the right people to ensure your success with cold calling.
3) Increase your chances of connecting by using social media contacts
According to Foresight statistics, calling someone who is part of a similar LinkedIn group increases your chances of speaking with them by 70%. And what’s true of LinkedIn is true of other social media platforms; having a connection through a social media group will increase the prospect’s receptiveness when you reach out to contact them (one more reason to work on establishing/extending your social media presence).
4) Prepare an opening speech for your call.
This helps you to organize your thoughts and avoid making mistakes that could lead to the person calling you terminating the conversation. When cold calling, don’t ask “Is it a good time for me to talk?” Or “How are you today?” Do not read your opening statement out loud, but instead use it to set the tone for the conversation.
5) What should the opening statement of a cold call be?
This is a good organizational plan for cold calling, taken from AllBusiness.com: “Include greetings and introductions, a reference point (something about prospect), your benefits and a transition to questions or dialogue.”
Here’s an example for a cold calling opening:
“Good afternoon, Ms. Marshall. Kendra Brown from Green Works. According to the local newspaper, you have just broken ground on a new office building. We offer commercial landscaping services which will allow you to lower your in-house maintenance costs as well as comply with new environmental regulations. “I’d like to answer a few questions and determine if one of our programs might be able to meet your needs.”
6) Write a script to guide you through the cold calling process.
Describe the benefits of your product/service and why your prospect should purchase it. Write down any objections you might have and the answer. It’s easy to forget something or wander without a cold-calling script. It’s not necessary that you read your cold calling script word-for-word when you call. But that you have prepared the framework for the cold call.
Prepare to answer any questions you may have about your products or services. Forbes Insight reports that 58% of potential buyers feel their sales reps cannot answer their questions.
7) Request an appointment during your cold call.
You could say, “Would Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. be an ideal time to meet?” Instead of asking, “Can you meet with me to discuss this week?” Instead of saying, “Can I meet with you to discuss this next week?”
8) Keep in mind that gatekeepers are your allies and not your enemies.
When cold calling, be friendly to anyone who picks up the telephone or guards your inner sanctum. You can develop strategies to win the trust of the gatekeeper. Asking “I wonder if I could help you?” is a common question. This will allow you to get the information you need. It is helpful to learn the names of gatekeepers and be friendly when cold calling.
9) Send prospects a unique promotional item to ease the call.
This will help you break the ice and make your business stand out among the rest. It’s incredible, says Pat Cavanaugh (Inc.com), sales guru. We have Fortune 500 accounts because of a $2.15 little item that we sent. They answer the phone and say “Oh yeah ….you sent me that …”.” It may sound cheesy, or unimportant, but it works.
If possible, do your cold calling in the morning or in the evening.
These are the best days to contact the decision-maker directly. According to InsideSales.com, Thursday is statistically the best day for cold calling, while Wednesday is second and Tuesday third (InsideSales.com).
11) Be persistent.
“80% of new sales are made after the fifth call, but the majority of salespeople quit after the second call.” Do not give up. You must keep trying if you are going to close the sale.
Here’s one last tip for cold calling
Practice, practice, and practice. Although cold calling is not something you enjoy, it can be fun. The more you practice, however, the more effective your sales techniques will be. Get your script and call list ready and dial the number. There are people out there who would like to do business with your company – but they need to know you first.