The mere phrase ‘cold calling’ can send many people into cold sweats. But nonetheless, cold calling can be a very effective sales technique to gain new clients and qualify leads -- if done well.
These six tips will help you or your sales team master cold calling skills in no time and convert more first conversations into sales meetings.
1) Narrow your focus.
Instead of applying a scatter-gun approach to your sales strategy, target prospects that fit within your ideal buyer persona and suit your product.
As a successful sales professional, your time and energy is better spent focusing on businesses and clients that will be interested in what you have to offer -- not to mention that these prospects are more likely to take your call. Totally random cold calling just isn’t going to cut it anymore. There are way too many tools out there to help you narrow your focus, so find and use one that suits your need and budget.
2) Warm it up.
Just becuase it's called "cold calling" doesn't mean you shouldn't warm up your leads before picking up the phone. Send an introductory email. Offer a whitepaper or some other free piece of information. Introduce yourself at a trade fair or industry event. Use social media to find similarities between you and the prospect. If there are any commonalities, use them to build rapport and credibility.
3) Know the answers before you’re questioned.
How you approach the cold call could be the difference between closing a deal and never hearing from this person again. Are you prepared to help your prospect improve their business? Know who you are calling so you can tweak your value proposition accordingly.
It can be useful to practice your sales pitch and record it so you can hear how you sound. Some people find that smiling while they speak makes them more effective. Others swear by standing and walking around while talking to help you feel free and natural. But no matter what other tricks you use, ask lots of questions and customize your approach to the specific person you're calling.
4) Kick off on the right foot.
A great way to start the conversation is to ask for permission to speak.
For example: "Hi, I’m Adam from Insurance Inc. We met at [event] last week. Is now a good time to talk?"
If the prospect says yes, they are giving you permission to keep going. On a deeper level, it means they feel that they have control over the phone call and are not going to be talked at. This makes them more receptive to your message.
5) Provide solutions, not a sales pitch.
Prospects don’t have time for long-winded and complicated sales pitches -- especially when they can find out what they need to know about your company in 30 seconds online!
Instead, provide your buyers with practical information to demonstrate that you understand their situation, and offer them solutions to potential problems they might be experiencing. Use your knowledge of your own product and their business to give them information and suggestions they won’t find online. The focus of phone sales has moved away from persuading clients to buy something they don’t need to providing them with something (consulting, content, etc.) that will benefit their business.
6) Stay in touch.
End the call by asking for permission to follow up -- ideally in a face-to-face meeting. Offer to send some more helpful information about the topic you just talked about. Suggest signing them up for your mailing list. You need to keep the conversation going in some form, so have a range of options ready to offer. This will make your follow up even easier.
Approaching cold calling as a way to connect with and provide a service to your potential clients will help you feel more confident picking up the phone. Always keep in mind that great cold calls take planning, a helpful attitude, a respectful approach, and an actionable close.
Connect with me to learn more effective and impactful cold calling strategies to drive your sales results through the roof.
Originally published May 29, 2015 8:30:00 AM, updated October 12 2017