It’s a well-known fact that very few salespeople enjoy cold calling. Not only are they at a disadvantage right from the start because no one likes to be cold called in the first place, but the constant rejections that most cold callers experience over the course of their working day has a tendency to leave them feeling left out in the cold.
There are many better options to look into when endeavouring to build a business by increasing the number of clients you serve. However, if you believe cold calling is right for your business, and when performed effectively it most certainly can be, the following insider secrets to successful cold calling are for you.
- Identify and understand your goals
A successful cold call always starts with a specific goal. If your goal is to convince a business manager that switching to your products or services is the right choice for their organisation to make, and you require a face-to-face-meeting with that person, then scheduling a time to meet with that person is the goal of that call.
However, some goals are more complex and require lengthier processes to achieve. When that is the case, you need to identify your goals and understand them inside out and back to front, because you require an approach that will help you to appeal to the sensibilities of the person you are cold calling.
- Research your prospects beforehand
One of the worst cold calling mistakes you can make is to cold call a prospect without doing your research beforehand. Cold calls are always much more likely to bear fruit when you know something about the person you are calling, their company, and the reasons why they may be interested in what you have to say.
Says the author of ‘Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling’, Sam Richter, “Even if you’re not going to use the information, you will come across more confident and more powerful when you have information on the other person and their company.”
Researching an individual is increasingly easy, just Google their name and/or the company they work for, or look them up on LinkedIn – most professionals now use this prominent social network and it frequently proves a great way to way to connect.
- Look for personal connections
One of the goals of the research that you conduct should be to look for personal connections between yourself and the person you are about to cold call. This could be a personal connection, for instance one identified by using the search facilities on LinkedIn, or it could be a common interest, such as a favourite sport or hobby.
- Plan the call ahead of time
Some cold calling experts advocate allocating a certain amount of time per day for cold calling, though as long as you plan the calls you make ahead of time and know exactly what you will say, you are afforded a great deal more flexibility, plus who knows when the people you are trying to contact will be available.
Planning the call ahead of time entails one crucially important step, and that’s creating a solid cold calling script. This informative article by Geoffrey James is a must-read.
- Differentiate yourself immediately
What sets you apart from all the other individuals vying for the attention of the person you are trying to contact and persuade? What you have to offer that person might make you stand head and shoulders above the rest, but unless you differentiate yourself immediately, like in the first 10–15 seconds of the call, you simply won’t succeed at getting through to them.
To differentiate yourself from other callers, use what are known as ‘hot buttons’, information that you have identified when researching the individual that will have the effect of making them consider taking the course of action you want them to take.
- Ask for information before giving it
Pushing your message right from the start of the call is a big no-no, and often has the effect of ending the call right then and there. Before you start trying to convince someone to take your desired course of action, ask questions, and listen to what they have to say.
Taking this approach will help you in tailoring your approach to their needs, and it is always important to bear in mind that the caller is rarely interested in you, but more so what you can do for them – if they are interested in taking your call at all.
- Anticipate objections to your pitch
A major part of cold calling is dealing with the objections that you should anticipate. This therefore entails understanding that you will encounter objections to your pitch, and that you need to create a repertoire of specific counterarguments tailored to those specific objections.
To do so effectively, your repertoire of counterarguments must be in-line with the goals of the call, and for every cold call goal, there are several common objections. Therefore, what you must do first, is identify the common objections to your pitch and create powerful counterarguments that empower you to get your foot in the door.
- Keep records of your cold calls
Whether a cold call was a success or not, always keep a record of each call, noting a few important points, for instance whether the person was there and should be called back, whether a follow-up call is required, and if the call was a disaster, what you felt went wrong with the call, or on a more positive note, what made it a success.
Also, an up-to-date and properly structured database of your clients’ information, both existing and prospective, is essential if your cold calling efforts are to bear the kind of fruit you wish to see. Message Direct can assist you with your outbound calling needs by keeping your database current, by structuring it with the right data fields, and by following up the enquiries of prospective clients to gain further information for your sales team to act upon, empowering them to achieve more.