How To Make Successful Cold Calling a Normal Part of Your Business Strategy
By a show of hands, who loves cold calls? (*Insert crickets sound effect here*) Executives and managers everywhere will tell you how much they hate them… except for the ones that ended up making a huge and positive difference in the trajectory of their company. Successful cold calling turns out to be one of the key ways that companies grow and improve. Not only is it an important way to find customers, but it can also lead to valuable partnerships. It has to be done right, though, to be useful and effective.
To Script, or Not to Script? Yes!
Many sales professionals will try to use a basic script for every call. This can end in disaster if you aren’t careful. A good script is a starting point, not a crutch. It can be tempting to just fire off a list of everything that makes your company great and its solutions valuable. That’s also intensely annoying to the person on the other end, who’s busy trying to solve problems.
A script is therefore only useful when it helps you quickly discover those problems. Your script should help you ask the right questions to get your prospect to open up and share their pain points. Brian Tracy recommends against using undeviating scripts, but says instead:
“Plan All Of Your Questions In Advance… In cold calling, the more information that you can elicit, the easier it will be for you to qualify the prospect and then go on to make a sale. This is where questioning is so important. Your questions should be thought out carefully in advance, and organized in a logical sequence, from the most general to the most specific. Once you have a positive response from a prospect to your opening question, you then ask him questions about his business, his market, his budget, and so on. Very often, people will give you all of this information in exchange for the benefit that you promised in your opening question.
“Always remember that cold calling and sales in general, should be very personal. You should focus on your customer’s needs as an individual on a case by case business. This is how you build relationships with [your] customers and have long sales relationships to come. Using cold calling scripts can make the call feel less personal and this is something you want to avoid.”
Another important preparation factor for successful cold calling is making sure you do your homework. Going into a cold call is a waste of time if you don’t know a bit about the person you’re calling and the company you work for. Doing this research does not take long at all, and will not prevent you from making over a hundred calls per day.
At a minimum, you should have your lead’s LinkedIn profile open. If they have a profile on the company website, that’s also required reading. Taking it a step further and reading a few tweets and other social media posts, or even full blog posts and articles they’ve authored, will provide you with valuable insights into their thinking and their company’s challenges. These are all powerful tools you can use in your sales efforts. Referring to those things in a sincerely interested way can help you build a genuine relationship that goes well beyond “buy my stuff, please.”
Stick to the Point
Use your questions and research carefully, though, and don’t waste any cold call airtime with small talk. Time is money, for both you and your prospect, so keep business calls about business. If you have a genuine common interest, that can help break the ice, but don’t waste time talking about their tweet from the slopes if you don’t know the difference between a ski and a snowboard.
Start your call with openness and clarity, saying who you are and who you work for. Make a very brief but powerful statement about why you’re calling and what it has to do with them, and transition smoothly into those inspired, reflective questions that help them open up and do most of the talking.
And, yes, they should do most of the talking, not you. Your main role in the first cold call is to listen to those pain points. You lead them to give them up by asking the right questions, always remembering that it’s not about you! It’s about them, and it’s about how you can really help them and offer them value, but you can never assume that your solution will do that. You have to listen to be sure, no matter how much you believe in the value of that solution. Control the conversation and keep it on track with the right questions, and let prospects qualify themselves.
Successful Cold Calling is Persistent Cold Calling
Anyone with more than five minutes of experience in sales will recognize that these strategies are not a guarantee. You’ll also know that no other strategy is, either. Not everyone is going to buy, and repeated, daily rejection is part of the game in sales.
The key to successful cold calling is to develop a strategy that fits your company culture. Make sure it helps you reach your goals. Then, stick to it. Keep calling until you find the one prospect who’s interested. Then again until the next one. Don’t stop. Refine your strategy if you discover you’re making a costly mistake, but don’t overthink it.
You may find value in working with an experienced sales development team. We’ll happily recommend the one we’ve built up here at Boomsourcing. Our professional sales development representatives are familiar with successful cold calling strategies, and use them every day to help our clients reach more prospects and close more deals, faster. Contact us today to accelerate your lead generation and prospecting efforts!