The evolution of digital marketing techniques has led us to a polarising situation. Some do not consider cold calling as an effective Lead Generation Technique. The basic difference between Inbound Marketing and cold calling lies in filtering leads. Inbound marketing has an edge over Cold Calling where they filter out unwanted leads.
Cold Calling, Dead?
But with that said, is cold calling actually dead? If it is so, why would a majority of companies still invest a lot of time and effort into it? The answer is simple. Cold calling works great if done in a meaningful way.
There are always salespeople who will never be in favour of cold calling. A major reason is the builtin discomfort with low efficiency. It affects salespeople's confidence, as they say. Some believe cold calling as an outdated and conventional approach. It is time-consuming, and generates very few conversions.
If you think you are a part of this set of people, then this article is for you. By the end of this article, you might change your opinion on cold calling. As you get to understand the ways to make it more effective by time and conversions.
1. Be Confident. It hurts no one
This is the most important thing for every Salesperson. Being confident enough to drive the cold call to roll through the sales cycle and make it a deal. Many salespeople feel nervous and try to avoid rejection. The first step to being confident? learn to tackle the negative responses from the prospects. You should believe that the cold calls can't hurt you. You should be bold enough to take the potential risks and dial in your cold call.
Even if you make the worst cold call or mess it up, right in the beginning. You need to understand that there is no one to question you on that. It doesn't mean that you will make every cold call worse, but instead, try to overcome your fears. Learn to be confident when you are speaking to the prospect. Try different strategies to make the prospects ascend to the next step. This could be possible if you believe no one can hurt you for what you have spoken.
Try to turn your fears around, change your approaches, start taking risks. In time You will find the best strategy that will change your cold calling results and get you back on track.
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2. Consider it as a fun game
Are you fed up with cold calling? There are a lot of people who feel this way. Believe me, cold calling is all about numbers. It is all about pushing through potential rejection until you find a lead. One who is fit and ready to go to the next step.
Most Salespeople believe out of 99 cold calls, only 1 turns to a successful lead. This conversion rate of 1% or 2% makes salespeople demotivated. Some even start thinking cold calling might not be the ideal method to generate leads.
Doesn't matter how good you are at making calls. Your conversion rate can hike only when salespeople consider cold calling as a game. Start having fun.
So make it a habit and have fun with calling. This will motivate you to become stubborn to hear a “no” from the people.
3. Warm it up before cold calling
An Ideal cold calling begins at the exact time in the prospect's life when they need your service the most. At this point, you can claim to have a solution for your prospect's needs.
Familiarity is the weapon. Hence, before the cold calling, you should familiarise the prospect with your service. As much as possible. For this, you need to start a campaign that creates awareness about your existence. But even more than seen, you have to hold the position of a value creator. It means you have to be known as somebody who has got the ideas and insights about their company.
You should have the ability to make a difference for them while providing a tradable value. Always offer more value to the client, than taking value from them. Your prospecting campaign must include sending emails, sending letters, and voicemails.
Go to their blog posts and highlight those relevant points for the client and write a note on it. "Look, these are the only three things you need to look out to grow your business". This makes you a familiar person and allows you to get some valuable time from the prospect. Look, by the time you cold-call the prospect, you have already interacted with them.
Most of the Salespeople, after their initial 2-3 attempts, give up the lead as they didn't respond well. But recent data has proven, most of the lead conversion takes place after the 6th or 7th attempt. So, my piece of advice would be to warm up as much as possible. That way, it won't be a real cold call by the time you make a phone call.
4 Script out the entire call
Many great salespeople felt nervous on their first cold call. That is normal human behaviour. This is because they contacted the prospects only via cold emails.
When you feel nervous, you lose focus on the prospect. Start stumbling on your words, end up wasting your and the prospect's time. The purpose of your cold call is to keep the call tight, focusing on what you are going to say to them.
So, how can you do this?
Follow a script.
Write a brief script of three to four lines. Start by describing who you are, what your company does, and the benefits you provide.
Always keep in mind that the key purpose of the script is to get an appointment with the prospect. And not to communicate too much about your company and your offer.
Many salespeople disagree with the idea of a draft script for cold calling. As it may sound scripted to the client.
My answer to this is to think about your favourite actors in a Movie or TV series. They used to read the script many times before they shot it. But we are witnessing a natural performance when we look at them on the screen.
So, because you have a script in front of you doesn't mean you need to read line-by-line in a single tone. Instead, use it as a guide and keep your tone in an engaging and inviting voice.
5. Nail your first 15 seconds cold
The primary mistake at the beginning of cold calling is not in Mirror and Match to people in the way they speak. It means if somebody speaks very fast and says, “hello, who is this?”. You must say quickly, “hello, this is Vamsi(Use your name).” A lot of guys make mistakes here. What should you do then? Mirror and Match!
It means you must copy their tone, pace, and volume as much as possible. This brings an air of familiarity and takes your prospect farther away from being a cold call to talking to someone known.
Let's see an example: (Let's say the prospect name Peter)
Prospect: Hello (If a male tone is heard)
Salesperson: Hey Peter, this is Vamsi. ( In an acceptable tone that he knows you)
What you were trying to do is create an environment where the prospect believes that the call is from a known person. Instead of saying, “Hello, this is Vamsi. I'm looking for Peter,” which is how a typical sales call will go, say “Hey Peter, this is Vamsi”. You can spot the differences that he may not be Peter, but you can ask them to pass the phone to Peter. Now, he will give the phone to Peter without any questions like “Who is this?”, because you did it acceptably. So, here you are eliminating the feeling of a Salesperson and igniting the feeling of being a known person.
From there, when you introduce yourself, a lot of Salespeople say, “how are you?” or something of that kind. My advice is to stop that now itself. Many people think it's a polite way to do so, but it's not needed as everyone does.
So what should you do?
After the initial introduction, start by asking a question, “Can I take your few minutes? I promise to be brief.” or “Do you have a second?”. That's the way to respect their time, and he directly responds whether he can talk to you now, or he asks you to call after some time. If he says, this is the perfect time to talk, just shoot your questions as you have asked only one second. By this time, you're already nailing the first 15 seconds, and you're trying to buy the next 25 to 30 seconds. This is the perfect way to grab the first 15 seconds of the prospect and try to fix an appointment to discuss the offerings.
6. Focus on the challenges, not on yourself
No prospect will appreciate it when you speak about yourself and your company. Even studies reveal that when you talk about yourself and your offerings to the prospects, the worse it becomes when it is a cold calling. Instead of focusing on who you are, how great your company is, what your company does, try to focus on the key issues the prospect is facing.
When the prospects pick your call, try to introduce yourself quickly, and talk about the purpose of the call. No one cares about your products, but they will love to hear the solutions for their challenges.
How can they know that you are a solution provider?
This will happen if you focus on the key challenges in the market place your lead is working. When you talk about the issues, they will sense that you have a finger on the pulse of recent happenings in the industry. You're providing real expertise to them by talking about their issues rather than yourself.
This will lead to an increase in the chances of engaging the prospect to talk about them and the key problems they are currently facing. This allows you to get closer to them and to schedule the next meeting and ultimately leading to close the sale.
7. Offer a Demo
We have talked about how to focus on the client to get much closer to closing a deal. But there is another route to close a deal. It's about engaging with the lead before connecting through any cold ways like email, letters etc. It means when you start your cold call, you will introduce yourself and ask for a minute to speak.
Then you will talk about the challenges that you observed in the market (the problems are related to the client's field). Here, instead of waiting for the reply from the prospect, either yes or no, you can directly offer the prospect to access your tools for one week. It means you are offering a demo session that is unavoidable by any prospect. It increases the curiosity within them; they will say “yes” to your proposal. This will increase the chances of selling your product as they already used your tools and seen some good results.
This is only possible if your product is good. Also, they might not say a “no” as they feel uncomfortable saying after using your product or tool for one week.
8. Engage with the prospects
Many salespeople ask for the secret tips to make their cold calling effective. The best possible way is to make the prospects engage with you during your cold call. You can notice that when the prospects respond positively, the more they want to hear from you. This allows you to turn the cold call into an in-person meeting,
Skype calls, and other means, which would enable closing a deal. But many lead generators start pitching about their product offerings to sell to them. It won't help them unless they start engaging with the prospects in a true manner.
As you have noted down the critical problems in the industry they are dealing with, don't bother to say that your product is the solution to the problems and, instead, work harder to engage the client to start talking about their pain points. When the prospect is ready to speak, he will reveal his business pain points and if he says “no”, then ask him one last question.
And, he will say “yes” for it. Utilise this opportunity by asking, “whether there were any things related to your product?” If there is something related to you, he would answer and engage them to talk.
When the prospect starts talking, don't interrupt in the middle with your questions, but listen very carefully and try to absorb what the prospects speak.
9. Find The Good Fit
If the prospect engages in speaking with you, don't rush to your pitch mode. Listen to them carefully and try to understand the challenges their company is facing. Today, most of the salespersons don't possess the patience to listen to the pain points of the leads. They are in a rush to finish the “x” number of calls in a given time.
Also, if the prospect says, one of the biggest problems we are facing is related to [their field]. Never interrupt in the middle, or don't say you have a solution readily available with you. Instead, ask questions related to their challenges and try to get more details from them.
This enables you to find out whether he is fit for you or not. If he is fit for your company, make sure he understands the value of solving those problems.
Try to follow these 9 effective cold calling steps to better lead generation, to maximise your company sales, and to build long-lasting relationships with your clients.
How do I become an expert at cold calling?
Be prepared: Know your pitch inside and out, and have answers to common objections.
Be persistent: Don't give up after a few rejections. Keep calling and following up until you reach a decision-maker.
Be positive: A positive attitude is contagious. If you sound enthusiastic and helpful, prospects are more likely to be receptive to your call.
Be yourself: People can spot a fake from a mile away.
Becoming an expert at cold calling takes time and effort, but it's a skill that can pay off handsomely. By following the tips above, you can increase your chances of success and close more deals.
What is the best way to open a cold call?
Hi [prospect name], this is [your name] from [your company]. I'm calling to see if you might be interested in learning more about our [product or service]. Are you the right person to talk to about that?
This approach is respectful of the prospect's time and allows you to quickly assess whether they're a good fit for what you're selling.
What are the 3 C's of cold calling?
Contact: Identify the right decision-maker at the company and reach out to them directly. This will increase your chances of success and avoid wasting time talking to someone who can't make a decision.
CRM: Use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track your calls and interactions with prospects. This will help you stay organized and follow up effectively.