So many sales people have abused cold calling over the years that many professionals have the following misconceptions about cold calling:
- Cold calling is for “unprofessional” sales people
- Cold calling is not effective and does not work
- Cold calling does not generate quality leads
- Cold calling into a prospect is rude and disrespectful
Most of the problems that are typical with cold calling come from sales people who have not been properly trained and who primarily have negative experience. These negative experiences reinforce the fears they have about calling. They avoid making calls and justify, rationalize and defend doing anything else except cold calling. In our experience, most of the challenges of cold calling can be fixed by simply improving your skills. Cold calling is a skill and it takes practice. Those who have developed the needed skills have enjoyed great success. Use the below strategies to help you take your cold calling efforts to the next level.
BEFORE THE CALL
- 70% of your success comes from what you do BEFORE making the call.
- Research your target market very well
- Know their core issues, challenges and problems before hand
- Select a specific group with common needs
- Connect with the prospect prior to calling to let them know that you will be reaching out to them
- Social media
- Regular mail
- Have a good gate keeper strategy
- Get the admin to help you identify the best time to call.
- Do not call when the prospect is in a meeting or out of the office
- Obviously get to the main decision maker, or decision influencer
- Determine if you will have more luck face-to-face rather over the phone
- Develop a solid 30 second introduction script
- Sound like an expert consultant not a sales person
- Get permission to chat with them
- Use a pattern interrupt to not sound like a sales person
- Test your hypothesis of their issues that need addressing
- Follow the 70/30 rule of communication
- Prepare good questions that focus on their problems and pains
- Do not beg for business
- Your pitch should be customized to the particular need you are focusing on.
- Be conversational. Do not read script word for word.
- Practice your 30 second intro script with a partner several times before calling.
DURING THE CALL
Here are some strategies to use during your first call with the prospect:
- Stand up when you make calls
- Use a headset so your hands are free
- Match and mirror their tonality, rate of speech, volume level, etc
- Do not sell over the phone. Simply set an appointment to sell later.
- Keep the first call to 1-5 minutes tops, unless they invite you to talk longer
- If you are trying to overcome objections than you are selling too hard. Ask better questions that challenge their assumptions.
- Work to disqualify prospects first. Remember: you only work with the top 30% in your industry.
- Use email and phone. Call and leave a message and send email with question” did you get my voice message?” in the subject line.
- If you get a voice message, have a short and simple “call back strategy” to get them to return your call.
- Always ask for referrals, even if they end up not going any where.
AFTER THE CALL
After the call is over, here are some strategies you will want to use to gain the most from your experience:
- If you set an appointment and the prospect is moving to the next step, send them an email summarizing what you covered during the call and the next steps you both agreed upon.
- Send them an electronic meeting invite for your next appointment.
- Spend more time researching their company so you are well prepared for your face to face meeting with them
- Refine your calling approach. Ask yourself these questions:
- “What do you want to START doing more of during your cold calls?”
- “What do you want to STOP doing?”
- “What do you want to CONTINUE doing?”
- Keep practicing offline and get feedback from your peers.
- Use your CRM and document your successful calls. Keep good notes.
- Stay organized and have a way to remind yourself when you need to follow up with people. Use a calendar tools like Outlook or Google.
- Track your efforts
- Number of calls
- Number of voice messages
- Number of conversations
- Number of leads
- Number of appointments
- Number of referrals
- Take short breaks. Keep your mind focused on learning.
- Do not get tempted to get depressed, distracted, upset or frustrated.
- Recognize that a “No Thank you” is not a personal rejection. It is a “no Thank you” for your products or services. It is not about you. So do not take a “no” personally.
- Take the long view on cold calling. It is a marathon and not a sprint. So stay calm, keep cool and enjoy the learning process.
To gain additional insights and tips for improving your personal marketing and promotional efforts, contact Hansen Group Company by visiting www.HansenGroupCompany.com or calling 208-346-1005.