During cold calling, you might have had an experience where the person or company responds almost immediately that your product isn’t needed at all. Then the phone is hung up, and your number is even blocked. That is the unfortunate reality of many cold calls.
But there are opportunities to make your efforts more successful and fruitful! Below we’ve collected some of the best sales tips for cold calling.
Cold calls meaning
Before we get to tips on effective cold calling, let’s first consider what cold calling is. A cold call is an outbound call to someone to offer your product or service. It is called “cold” because a person or company to whom you’re calling basically doesn’t know anything (or very little) about you, and therefore their treatment of you can be quite cold. Sometimes, even hostile, which is why cold calling is mostly about receiving no’s much more often than yeses. Because of this, around 80% of call operators experience reluctance before making a cold call.
If done not by phone, then we do not consider it in our cold calling definition. Instead, a contact – via email, messengers, social media, mobile app contact, etc.
But the fact that it is ‘cold’, doesn’t mean it is ineffective! Coldness is only from one side – it comes from the one to whom they call. The caller has a vast set of tools and opportunities to make it warm or even hot as a result.
How to cold call: cold calling tips
According to market participants and leaders' overwhelming number of opinions, cold calls aren’t as dead as they’re often outlined in the press and over the internet. Therefore it is necessary to increase the level of awareness around cold calling success stories. Cold calling is far from a waste of time for many companies and is often largely a positive undertaking.
Do your homework before making a call
Preparation is a cornerstone of success. Before you’re making a call, you should learn everything you can about a person or company to whom you’re calling: name (pronouncing it correctly is an obvious bonus), activity, industry, position/role in the company, location, related technologies, and of course any possible troubles they might have for you to help with. Not only will these efforts make a conversation more personal and create rapport/empathy, but this will also allow your conversation to be driven more effectively. Plus, if your research shows that your product/service might correspond to their potential needs, your chances of selling it significantly increase.
Prepare a cold email template
In the thoroughly internet-connected society, it is doubtful there is any business or company worth their salt without an email. Therefore, it is beneficial to prepare a cold email template and introduce readers to your company and your offers/services. You can further enhance your chances by sending it prior to your cold call to prepare a contact person and warm up the call somewhat.
Make sure your email has a warm and not too official tone, stays informative, and gives insight into significant questions: who you are, what you offer, and how you’re an expert in this.
Pick the best time to cold call
Despite many opinions about the best time of calling (like 9-11 AM and 4-5 PM on working days), the truth is that the best time widely varies depending on the industry, preferences of a contact person, geographical location, mentalities and cultural differences, and many other things. Take them on a solid basis whenever possible.
Your call operators should have as much practice with their scripts and offers. Ideally, they must learn all the scripts by heart to not depend on them while calling. This is especially important to adapt to any possible deviations or unforeseen variations during the call.
There must be extensive training before they are deemed fit to call, including negotiation practices, approaches to compelling offers, dealing with rejections, and other techniques important for every seller. When they have an exact product to offer, they must learn it smoothly and let the words fall on the tongue freely and convincingly. A good practice is rehearsing in front of a mirror!
During the cold call
Make sure not to waste the time of a person you’re calling to. It has been researched that the first 10 seconds are most important for the complete result; you should create substantial interest in a person during this time. At the beginning of the call, introduce yourself and your company, and share the essence of your offer. Stay positive and guide the chat into the route you need within the conversation, based on the script and answers of a person you’re talking to. Also, try to establish a connection through phone sales techniques, such as active listening and asking ‘how’ and ‘what’ questions.
Ask open-ended questions
Do not limit yourself with closed-type questions such as “Is it the right time for calling you?” as it increases the refusal rate. Instead, use “How are you doing today?” or “What’s your dog’s name? I also have a golden retriever, and he’s so mischievous!”
Establish the future contact or actions with an end goal in mind
Any conversation you have should end with some result or follow-up. Even if 90% of all calls are negative when you hit gold with the positive ones, try turning them into leads or prospects:
- establish the date and time for a future call if a person needs to think
- agree to a product presentation
- send info materials: PDF or PPT presentation, promo, demos, etc.
- If a person isn’t making decisions, ask who does and try to reach out to them.
Learn from your mistakes
Far from 100% of conversations will be productive. That’s what cold calling definition is, actually – most of your calls will remain cold, i.e., fruitless in results. But as you will be gaining experience during the work, you will discover new techniques in manipulating the result. Various training programs to improve your cold calling will also be helpful: a good operator undertakes around 150-200 hours a year of various training courses.
Try to improve your client information by paying more attention to research and getting the back history from any existing CRM system. Also, be proactive during the conversation and learn more about how to turn no’s into yeses and read the warning signals during a conversation. With all that improvement, cold calls might become a much less negative result and experience.
Cold calling is a potential goldmine if approached wisely and prepared for deftly. We’ve highlighted the main points of the pro cold call approach, but practice makes perfect as in anything in life.