Cold calling is one of the most tried and tested way that has existed in sales to get in touch with potential customers. So before following the bandwagon, how much do you know about it?
When salespeople conducts a call for solicitation of business from prospects that have shown no prior interest in the offered products or services it is called cold calling. Even though it sounds like a horrible strategy as nobody likes unwanted calls that are just sales pitches, yet a sales cold call has historically been one of the most effective tools used by sales reps.
The purpose of cold calling is not just making a hundred calls a day and pitch to the helpless soul who happens to answer the call. A cold call should be about:
- Discussing the prospect’s needs
Since the cold call was prepared for by the sales person and not the prospect, the call can very easily turn into a monologue. The call must open with messaging that aligns with your prospect’s immediate situation. Keep the focus on the conversation with the aid of good research and through relevant opening statements. This will simultaneously differentiate one sales call from the rest.
- Place focus on the changing status quo of the prospect
Once a real dialogue has been opened with the prospect, make sure focus does not shift from the concepts you highlighted during call preparation. As most prospects that are called via cold calling techniques don’t have specific needs decided yet, salespeople mustn’t ask them if they do. The reason the cold call is made is to become the first salesperson the prospect calls when the company does decide to address those problems.
- Next step recommendation
If the prospect is found to be in discomfort with their status quo then the sales person’s job will be to provide recommendations that are to the prospect’s best interest. This could translate into a scheduled meeting, a call back, a marketing campaign enrolment or any other creative offer to advance the prospect to actively assess their needs.
- Target Identification – The goal of a cold call is to help learn who, in the prospective company, handles the problem your company is looking to solve. Once that prospect is singled out, the selling process becomes that much easier and more effective.
- Achieving Insight – If the response to your campaign is running low, cold calling a sample of recipients to understand why will help in getting the messaging right and in not only pinpointing the problem but also in taking steps to move past it.
- Mastering ones craft – Cold calling works as great practice for new sales reps, helping them build confidence and in becoming comfortable with speaking to prospects over the phone.
- Humanizing – In order to increase email reply rates, recording polite voicemails helps the prospect know that the sender is an actual person and not an automated message.
- Increasing conversions – As soon as reply is received, the sales rep needs to call the prospect. This immediacy is vital as your message is, at that moment, on the top of your prospect’s mind. The immediate call is the best time for capturing interest, prospect qualification and disqualification, finding the decision maker, or even getting a step closer to the final sale.
- Time consuming – As the chances of getting a prospect through the cold calling method are very low, a salesperson can expect to hear a lot of ‘no’. So the salesperson would need to work tirelessly in order to get lucky and find the right candidate.
- Irritation for both parties – With how heavily cold calling gets used; both the cold caller and the receiver get irritated. Salespeople don’t look forward to making unsolicited calls and the prospects don’t like receiving them either.
- Unfocussed marketing – Cold calling people who have no need for the products and services offered is a waste of marketing resources. Calling referrals or structuring a mailing list would be better places a telemarketer can invest their energies in.
- Loss of trust – Cold calling, if not done right, has the possibility of creating a negative effect on the reputation of your business and even losing the trust of your customer.
- Not cost effective – The cost of keeping this cold calling channel stable for a long term is very expensive as you will have to take into account the costs associated with recruiting, hiring, training and mentoring the BDRs and SDRs. This poses a huge problem for sales teams.
Successful cold calls
Cold calling is like an interactive advertisement that grabs the prospect’s attention and incites interest in them to listen. A good cold call requires certain steps or it might fall flat.
Step 1: Introduction
The first few seconds of your conversation can make or break your call so the introduction needs to be solid and the question ‘What’s in it for me?’ needs to be addressed.
Step 2: Exaggerate
Make a claim that is huge enough to grab the prospect’s attention.
Step 3: Prospect qualification
After gaining their attention, it is time to qualify the prospect to understand whether they are the people you want to sell to.
Step 4: Address doubts
Back any and every claim you make otherwise the prospect will immediately become skeptical to believe them.
Step 5: Find the decision maker
In order to close a deal, it is imperative to find out who has the biggest influence on the final purchase decision.
Step 6: Make and lock down an appointment
Try to book another call with them as soon as possible and make sure they don’t flake on that call at the last minute.
Step 7: Appointment Confirmation
Once agreed, you need to get a confirmation and for this you can send a text, email or a calendar invite.
So is cold calling the answer to reaching all business goals? Hard to say. While cold calling still has a place in some sales teams, companies need to ensure their sales program branches into new forms of selling, such as social media, to warrant success in today’s tech world. Cold calling can be incredibly effective, so it should be considered by entrepreneurs. Add it to your collection of marketing and sales tools and let go of the fear of the word “no”. Experience how powerful cold calls can be. It may surprise you.