While it may be easy to speculate about the end of cold-calling in the wake of all the digital media we have access to, plenty of Fortune 500 companies still rely heavily on calling to boost their sales.
Cold Calling is an art-form now more than ever.
Calling someone on the phone, having to strike a rapport with them quickly, convincing them that they need your product, hoping they are interested in talking to you again – it’s a dance that is often eerily similar to dating.
So, with that in mind, here are our top tips to nail your next cold call.
- Don’t be desperate. The best way to sell is to not seem too desperate about selling to them. You will never sell a product, if the person you’re talking to is aware that you’re selling them something. You sell a product when you make the other person feel like they want to buy your product – put yourself in the drivers seat.
- Be a good listener. Remember that this conversation isn’t about you, it’s about your prospective client. On this call, introduce yourself, focus on them, try to get to know them. Try to establish a relationship with them. The more you get to know them personally, the more likely they are to feel comfortable meeting with you in person to discuss more about the product.
- Don’t sweat the rejections. Gordon Tredgold, a business consultant on making 2000 cold calls for a month writes that only 1 out of every 17 calls he made even went through. Half the calls he made went straight to voicemail, where the conversion rate drops further. Only about 6 percentof his calls led to a sale – and he was elite.
- Be confident. Tredgold also writes, ‘Attitude is everything’. Trying to make a sale by cold calling is about earning your prospect’s trust. Would you trust someone with your business who didn’t sound too sure of what they are offering or bringing to the table? Be bold and confident and your prospect will feel more comfortable trusting you.
- Know what you bring to the table. An elevator pitch is a quick, 10 second, 3 sentence, sales pitch to the prospect. Don’t waste the first 10 seconds of the call listing down all the services your company provides. The elevator pitch must be custom prepared for every broad category of your potential clientele and must be delivered smoothly without sounding like you’re reading from a script.In this case, your elevator pitch must be tailor made to their potential needs. Listing down services that are irrelevant to them is a waste of your time and theirs. Use the first few seconds to catch their attention with your elevator pitch and your affability (meta-note: while we love this analogy, please don’t start off your next first date by listing all your positive traits!)
- Know the other person. One situation you don’t want to find yourself in is realising you know nothing about the prospect before you make the call. Make sure to do a bit of light research on your prospect and their industry before the call. This gap in information is something that plagues the entire industry: according to a survey by Lattice Engines, and CSO insights, 42% of respondents and telemarketing reps feel that they do not have enough information to speak to a prospect– good sales pipelines & data enrichment tools will help with this.
- Keep an air of mystery about you. Don’t divulge all your information to the middle man or the ‘gatekeeper’. The gatekeeper could be the PA of the decision-making authority, or a deputy or a junior manager. Given that you’re calling with an expectation of a concrete, tangible outcome, try to reach around the gatekeeper and get a meeting with the decision maker. Once in the call, don’t dump everything right away – slowly buy in more investment by gradually revealing your offering.
- Don’t give up – you can always turn things around! Especially when you’re starting out, it might be difficult to keep focus and give up too easily on facing resistance or when the client is interested but isn’t committing. It might be easy to lose track of the conversation and deflect. Remember that your goal for the call is to make a sale or to get a follow up call or appointment. Be transparent about your goal and don’t forget to ask for it.
- At the end of the day, it’s a numbers game. In their book ‘How to start a business’ written by the staff of Enterpreneur media, Inc. they suggest keeping a goal of 50 calls in 150 minutes. Given that most of your calls won’t go through, will end up in voicemail, or won’t result in a conversation, this seems like a good average goal to have. Don’t waste too much time on dead calls because remember, time is also money. A great way to track these calls is with Tubular’s call logging feature.
- Follow up immediately when there’s solid interest. Don’t wait to do it tomorrow or later when you have time because you may never end up making the call. The relentless pursuit of prospective sales is the mantra of successful sales rep. Some sales take time to close, but as long as they are responding to you, it makes sense to keep on it. According to a Harvard/ Gallup poll, morethan a quarter of B2B sales take more than 7 months to close.
Cold calling is very much like going on a first date. It emulates the tension, the excitement, the anticipation for a second meeting, of first dates. If you’re confident, smart and know what you’re worth, you’re in great shape. And yet, just like a first date, even the best of us face a ton of rejections. Accept that as a part of the process.
Sales is something you get good at through practice. The probability of conversion from a particular call is an instinct that is honed and developed over time. It’s difficult primarily because the high rejection rate is difficult to stomach at first. However, if you keep at it, and slowly yet progressively improve, you start to notice patterns and the whole process becomes much more methodical.
That’s the key to being a great salesperson.