Every entrepreneur has to cold call prospective buyers at one point or another, and for many people, this can be incredibly stressful. Cold calling is an outbound sales strategy in which sales representatives call people who have had no prior interaction with their company. These people likely know nothing about your products and services, and it’s your job to not only tell them what you offer, but to explain how it can benefit them.
Sales representatives utilize prospect lists, databases and other tools for finding new leads. The purpose of calling is to generate curiosity in potential leads, start a relationship with them, and ultimately convert them into customers. Check out the following tips for cold calling people and how to make it more productive and less anxiety-inducing.
10 Tips to Make Cold Calls More Effective
The following tips can help you spend less time calling prospects so you can improve your appointment-setting efficiency.
Automate Where You Can
There are many sales tools available for eliminating mundane tasks. For example, you may be able to benefit from auto-dialer software tools that can automatically dial a phone number and save you time. Such tools also detect unproductive numbers, filter lists and manage your contacts.
Know When to Call
Analyze your previous sales activities to identify the days of the week and times when your customers are most likely to answer your calls. Also, if you are calling prospects in different time zones, adjust your schedule accordingly so you can call them at the appropriate time.
Know Your Prospects Before You Call
Learn about your prospects, including their interests, problems and needs. This information can help you position your product/service as the perfect solution.
Invest in Quality Earphones or a Headset
You can boost your cold calling by using high-quality earphones or a headset. Noise-canceling headsets can reduce background sounds quite effectively, although binaural headsets are even better, as they cover both ears. Headsets also free up your hands to take notes or type.
Use the Right Tone
Your tone must be confident yet friendly during all calls. You may drive the conversation, but avoid pushing your solution.
Use the Right Script
Scripts can help you communicate better when you get your prospects on the line. Thus, you won't waste valuable time making small talk, adding useless filler or trying to figure out what works.
Leave a Voicemail
If your prospects don’t answer, leave a voicemail. Keep the message short and concise, with a maximum of up to 20 seconds. A voicemail should provide only essential information. If you need to leave prospects a voicemail, circle back after a few days.
Evaluate Your Calls
If prospects turn you down, take some time to find out what the issue may have been. Customers may find the product too expensive, or they don’t need it. Take note of these situations so you can tweak your offerings and perfect your sales approach.
Give the Prospect Time to Talk
Once a customer answers your call, every sentence you speak should get the buyer to listen to your next sentence, but you shouldn't simply create a wall of chatter. Always allow the prospect to talk and share their opinions, views and needs with you. After the phone call, always send a follow-up email with the information that they requested.
Regularly Update Contact Database
Remove any obsolete contacts from the database and update it with fresh data. Otherwise, you may waste your time trying to reach people who might have changed employers, positions or phone numbers. It’s also a good practice to take note of the contacts that aren’t particularly interested in your offer so you don’t repeat your pitch to them.
How to Make Cold Calling More Productive
Cold calling empowers sales representatives to anticipate prospects’ needs and issues ahead of time. You can perform it in a strategic, effective and results-driven way for closing deals faster by using the following nine steps.
Step 1: Do Your Research
Do your research on the company and the person you plan to call so you can target the right prospects. Figure out possible objections and how to overcome them. Market research can help you create a contact database of people who would be interested in your products or services. You could also get the contact information through a referral. Knowing your customers and their industry enables you to ask the right questions and provide the right answers.
Step 2: Plan the Call
Once you identify the right prospects, create an objective for each call. If you want to generate more effective cold calls, plan and execute the right strategies to communicate your value to the right people in the right way. Prepare the most relevant questions that you want to ask your prospects, and keep your introduction brief and to the point.
Step 3: Prepare Your Calling Script
A call outline or script is all about how you deliver it. Delivering it properly can help you improve your calling success rate. Your script must contain several open-ended questions to allow your prospects ample room for response. Giving your buyers a chance to share their points of view or experience leads to more engaging and personalized conversations.
Step 4: Call the Right People
Companies often have an individual or team in charge of purchasing decisions on behalf of the organization. Ensure you meet the right people at the right time in their buying process. Also, check the exact role of the person you are calling and match your solution with the right buyer persona.
Step 5: Deliver a Strong Introduction
An introduction is the first message you deliver on a cold call that includes who you are and the reason for the call. Explaining the call purpose can increase your success rate.
Cold calling is your chance to introduce yourself, your company and your solution in a way that engages the prospect. It also offers you the opportunity to know your customers better and determine whether or not you can share value with them.
Step 6: Ask Questions First
Ask your prospects about their current pain points, then explain why your solution offers an appropriate remedy. Train your sales team on how to prioritize one question over others based on a prospect's response. Recommend your solution after they know you have a genuine interest in their challenges.
Step 7: Book Your Meeting
Listen to what your prospects are concerned about, and schedule a meeting so that you can take them to the next level in the sales funnel. If possible, ask customers to meet in person to delve deeper into the issues and provide a customized solution.
Step 8: Set the Right Expectations and Goals
For a successful cold call, it should result in a follow-up action, such as scheduling a meeting, setting up a demo, or sending additional information via email. The goal isn’t necessarily to make a sale, but to establish contact and move your lead to the next step.
Step 9: Take No as Not Now
If a prospect says no now, that doesn’t mean they won’t need you in the future. After the call, send the prospect a quick follow-up email to thank them for their time. Keep a record so you can listen ahead of your next call to identify necessary details or see what you could have done better. If you are planning a second call, you should discuss the day and the exact time when you plan to call. This will also help you avoid calling the same prospect multiple times.