Let’s be honest. Who actually enjoys cold calling?
However, done right, it's an effective tool that empowers you to qualify leads, book productive meetings and, crucially, hit or even exceed your sales targets. We’ve compiled our top 7 tips and tricks to help you refine your cold-calling technique. Follow them and you’ll soon be converting qualified leads, working your way up the sales league table and earning additional commission.
1. Do your research before you pick up the phone
When you call someone blind – without knowing anything about them or their business – you’re at an immediate disadvantage.
With the vast amounts of information in the public domain, there’s no excuse not to do your research.
What position does the prospect hold? Are they likely to be a decision maker or a gate keeper? What are their pain points and challenges? When did they last update their equipment?
The more you know about the person you're calling, the easier you’ll find it to start a meaningful conversation, build rapport and work out how you can help them with the right product and package.
2. Pre-qualify your prospect on social media
It’s also helpful to contact your prospect before you call. In fact, social media channels like LinkedIn are a brilliant platform for introductions. A short, professional message – introducing your business and suggesting a call – is an easy way to sniff out receptive prospects.
With this approach, you’ll also have the opportunity to arrange a convenient time to speak.
So when it comes to actually picking up the phone, you’ve already pre-qualified the prospect. They’ll be waiting to hear from you and open to the reason for your call. In other words – a positive start.
3. Have a plan but don’t try to stick to a script
Imagine that you’re on the receiving end of a cold call. Feeling magnanimous, you answer the phone only to be greeted by a parrot-like robot who's clearly reading every word without listening to anything you say in response. There’s no quicker way to elicit a ‘no’.
Conversely, without a concrete plan of what you want to say, the conversation is likely to meander and go nowhere.
You need some broad outlines (think open-ended questions) and pointers, but don’t allow yourself to regurgitate the same sales patter time after time.
4. Ask the right questions and make it about the customer
Successful cold calling is all about asking the right questions and building up your knowledge of the prospect.
While it helps to make an initial, powerful, benefits-focused statement – ‘Working with us typically delivers costs savings of £X and productivity benefits of Y for businesses like yours,’ for example – you then need to make it all about them, not you.
What are their plans for the business? How are they finding the current market conditions? What challenges are they struggling to overcome? Why are they considering updating their equipment?
Ultimately, everyone’s different and will respond in different ways. It all comes down to building rapport – demonstrating empathy and understanding. So it helps to be able to adapt your cold calling technique depending on who you’re speaking to.
Remember, the more information you elicit, the easier you’ll find it to qualify the prospect and move them through the funnel.
5. Be helpful and genuine but never pushy
Your end goal is the sale. But you’re never going to convert your prospect by being pushy or aggressive. Instead, be open and honest in your approach.
Find out about what your prospect needs from equipment and what they’re not getting from their current product.
Then explain that you’re able to recommend the precise product/service that will address their pain points – the ones they’ve recounted to you earlier in the call – and make their life easier.
Remember, you’re not trying to close the sale over the phone, so don’t feel the need to make an immediate recommendation or sales push. You need to maximise your chances of getting to the next stage, so try to replace questions like ‘Would you like more information?’ with ‘Where can I send some additional material?’ That way, you’ll reduce the chances of hearing the dreaded ‘no.’
6. Focus on value not price
During a cold call, you’re likely to face the question ‘So, how much does it cost?’
Wherever possible, you need to establish the value of the product you’re recommending – how much better it will make your prospect’s life – before you get into the nitty gritty of price.
Ultimately, your goal is to demonstrate how the system aligns with your prospect’s needs and pain points. And this all comes down to asking the right questions to give you that insight and detail.
7. Always follow up after a call
80% of sales happen after the 5th contact following your first meeting, according to research in Marketing Donut. So when you’re cold calling, it doesn’t pay off to have a ‘now or never’ approach. You need to think about the bigger picture.
That’s why it’s beneficial to find out as much as you can about your prospect. And if you don’t succeed in booking a meeting after your initial call, don’t give up.
Instead, think about other ways of engaging your prospect. How about sending an email thanking them for their time? You could consider linking to some genuinely useful – rather than sales-focused – content. Anything that helps to build their trust and establish you as a go-to expert.
That way, once they’re ready to think about a purchase, you’ll be the one they want to contact.
- While it’s everyone’s least favourite task, cold calling is an effective way for resellers to convert prospects into leads and customers
- Research your prospect before you pick up the phone so it’s easier to start a conversation and build rapport
- Ask questions to create a picture of your prospect’s pain points and challenges, getting the insight you need to make the right recommendation
- Always focus on benefits and value, steering the conversation away from price wherever possible