A lot of sales people have experience of working with cold calls and for many of us it’s often not something we enjoy. Cold calls are time consuming and difficult and you never know what you’re going to encounter on the other end of the phone. You might make a sale, you might get hung up on, you might even get verbally abused.
Small wonder therefore why a lot of sales professionals avoid cold calls. They’re a little out of vogue in the industry right now but while they can be difficult cold calls offer considerable reward. Cold calls continue to be made for one reason – They work.
Six of the best tips on cold calling for sales
Cold calls needn’t be a painful experience for yourself or the prospect. With the right training and techniques you can use cold calling to turn yourself into a successful salesman. There is no better way to achieve urgency in sales so let’s examine six tips you can use to crush cold calling over the phone.
Learn to accept ‘no’
Nobody likes to experience rejection but if you’re going to work with cold calls you better get used to it. The most common response to your pitch will be ‘no’, sometimes even accompanied by vulgarity. To be successful in cold calls you must embrace the possibility of rejection and learn to accept the word ‘no’.
When your prospect tells you ‘no’ this doesn’t mean that all is lost. Being a good salesman involves flexibility after all and while this particular pitch might not go anywhere you can use it to your advantage next time. Ask the prospect why they said ‘no’ and listen to what they have to say
To be clear you shouldn’t use this question to try and get them to change their mind. Being a pushy salesman is extremely off putting, instead use this opportunity to learn. Then use what you learn to avoid similar issues in subsequent calls thus making future sales more likely.
State your name and business
If you’re involved in an in-person sales meeting with a new prospect you always state your full name, and the name of your company if it isn’t already known. With that in mind, why would you do any differently during a cold sales call? It may surprise you to learn that many sales professionals forget to do this.
People who introduce themselves using their full name command respect, it makes them appear authoritative and it also allows them to stake control over the conversation. By giving your prospect your full name and company you will also appear more trustworthy. The prospect will be less likely to doubt your company if you’re open about your identity.
Your cold call prospects will appreciate your openness as much as they will respect an authoritative manner. Therefore make sure you’re direct and honest about who you are and why they’re calling. This makes for better calls and better sales prospects.
Act don’t automate
It’s very easy to just read off of a sales script while making your pitch over the phone, but this is not sufficient. You can’t just read off your lines like an automaton, instead, you should be treating your sales script as an actor would. Actors do more than just read words aloud they inject them with emotion.
A good salesman uses empathy to achieve results. Your script should serve as your pitch’s skelton, as your foundation. You should then flesh out your pitch with open ended questions and inquiries when your prospect expresses emotion.
Not only will this increase the possibility of establishing an emotional connection with your prospect you will also be more likely to learn information that you can use to your advantage. Plan out open ended and emotional inquiry questions in advance in dummy runs, like an actor would in rehearsal. The key is being able to adapt to what your prospect says quickly.
Create a cold calling schedule
Cold calls need to be planned in order for them to have maximum efficacy. There’s no point in calling most people over the weekend for example, or during what’s likely to be their dinner time. In fact timing your calls for the wrong moment can actually damage your sales prospects.
What you need to do is to divide your cold calling schedule into positive and negative times. The next step is to look at your prospects and list out what their positive and negative times will be. An example of a positive time would be just after they start work as they’re likely to be checking their emails at their desk, whereas a negative time would be when they’re likely to be commuting to and from their office.
Keep track of these times and plan your calls for when they’ll have the most impact. Remember, you need to do this for each individual prospect especially if you’re working over different time zones.
Research your prospect
There’s no excuse for not doing research before any sales interaction or meeting, especially so for cold calls. You need to go beyond just personalizing your message, you need to personalize your preparation too. You have to know exactly who you are contacting, and what their potential needs and pains are.
Luckily LinkedIn makes this process very easy for you. Before any cold call you should look up your prospect on this social network and take notes about their experience, interests and position. Look for statistics about their company and note the kind of language they use as well.
Try to gather as much information about your prospect as possible. You can never have enough information about a prospect so invest time in using LinkedIn. Good research is one of the best techniques a salesman can have at their disposal and it can be used in more areas than just calls.
Finish with a CTA
A call to action (CTA) is a marketing term for any device designed to prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale. Examples include getting a prospect to sign up to something online, commit to making a connection request on LinkedIn, or agreeing to a follow up call. Naturally the latter is most relevant in cold sales calls.
You should always finish your cold sales calls with a CTA. This allows you to push the prospect further down the sales funnel by creating actionable steps they can achieve under your control. What the CTA is is not particularly important, what matters is that you include one.
Practice various forms of potential CTAs with different prospects on the phone and take note of which ones work better. Make a note of the most effective techniques and use them in your next cold sales calls. Be inventive, and don’t be afraid to experiment, in fact you should try to match a CTA to something the prospect mentions during your call.
Cold calls – Not so intimidating after all
Cold calls need not be an intimidating prospect for yourself or your potential customers. They can prove to be extremely lucrative for your bottom line. Implement the six techniques outlined above and you’ll be well on your way towards success in this area.
Let us know how you get on with these tips on cold calling for sales. If you use other techniques let us know as well, we love hearing from fellow sales professionals. Tell us which was the most effective, for example, or give us feedback on a tip you altered to better suit your product.
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