Cold Calling Tips
These cold calling tips and tricks are designed to give some guidance as part of a salespersons sales prospecting efforts. Despite what you read, cold calling when used correctly still has its part to play in the sales process. If as a salesperson, you feel overwhelmed by cold calls, you’re not alone. So hopefully these cold calling tips and tricks can help you improve your results.
Does cold calling still work?
This is a question you are probably asking yourself. The answer is Yes, cold calling does work, but only if part of a wider strategy to engage prospects. Proactive sales calls can still be an effective tactic to target new customers and create opportunities for your sales pipeline. Remember that picking up the phone to engage a prospect isn’t as simple as having an opening pitch and a script, you need a structure and a strategy.
Stop and ask yourself – Why would a prospect listen to me? What am I offering that would trigger them to engage with me further? So, at the core of our cold calling tips and tricks is that to be truly successful you will need research and preparation, a focus on who and why you are contacting them, a plan on how your cold calling fits into your other sales touch points (email, social selling etc) and a goal for what you want to achieve from every prospecting call.
Cold Calling Tips and Tricks:
Did you know that phoning prospects in combination with social selling touches and introductory email can drive up prospect engagement by over 30%. connect rate.
Cold calling tip 1. Use an Ideal Customer Profile Template to Understand Your Prospect.
Use the Ideal Customer Profile to get a picture of why they buy what you are selling. What are their challenges, pain points, what is their industry trends, what type of company do they work at?
As mentioned earlier, cold calling only works if part of a wider strategy, a scatter gun approach just will not work. What information or data can you share to get them to listen. Without researching the prospect against a profile, you are putting your sales pitch above any investment in the person on the other end of phone. Research and preparation are key before you start cold calling, so you can focus in on the prospects who will be responsive to your value proposition.
Cold calling tip 2. Preparing to cold call.
Planning and preparing to make those cold calls will determine your level of success. List out all the sales assets and sales touch points, you have created prior to picking up the phone. Then write up your value proposition that you will open up with as part of your cold calling script. To get prospects to listen during the crucial first few minutes, you need to be able to communicate your value proposition message clearly and confidently. Ideally a prospect should not be 100% cold before you call them, what other sales touch points have you completed to increase your chances of a meaningful conversation.
Cold Calling Tips and Tricks: The goal of cold calling isn’t to rattle off some prepared sales pitch, you are trying to get them to listen by sharing some useful information and then commit to a discussion about THEIR challenges.
Cold calling tip 3. Have a Goal and know your outcome for each call.
Another one of our cold calling tips and tricks is to NEVER have the main objective of your prospecting calls to be “to find out who the decision maker is”, your research, planning and preparation should have identified this. A purposeful objective could be to identify their role in a purchasing decision for the product you are promoting. You are not there to waste each other’s time, so make sure you are clear about your goals and what outcome you want before you ever pick up the phone.
As there are now 5 to 6 people involved in any purchasing decision AKA the buying committee, always have more than one target profile to engage with in each company. Users and influencers can play a big part in getting the buying committee to consider your offering.
Cold Calling Tips and Tricks: Connect and engage with users, gatekeepers and influencers at every company you target. It is rare today for 1 single person to make a purchasing decision.
Cold calling tip 4. The way you approach people is the way they will respond.
Put yourself in the shoes of the prospect, if you are approaching the prospect with a nakedly obvious sales pitch, then expect a nakedly obvious response. Successful cold calling begins and ends with the prospects best interests at heart. Visualize yourself as a trusted adviser who will be a useful and valuable resource to the prospect, one who shares quality information, is credible and an expert. Your priority is NOT your company or the product or service you sell, instead your priority is the prospect because if you prioritize the prospects needs, you are now existing to bring improvement to their roles and working lives.
This really is the test of why you should be cold calling. If you truly believe in what you offer and your personal value proposition reinforces this, then nothing will stop you. The salespeople who struggle in cold calling are the ones selling products or services they really do not believe in and this is reflected in their approach.
Cold calling tip 5. Your value proposition must get to the point.
When the prospect answers your call, will your value proposition stand out from the noise in their work life. Are you 100% clear on the value of your solution that will appeal to the prospects ears and brain. What pain points or challenges are you addressing – will it save money, save time, improve productivity, reduce risk, speed up progress and is it compelling enough for them to stay on the phone to learn more. You also should have data, statistics, case studies and industry knowledge to back your value proposition so you are seen as an expert or adviser. The reason you are phoning them today is that your research, planning and preparation have indicated that you have something to share which is worth their while considering. You are the trusted advisor, not here to waste time or share irrelevant information – you know why you are phoning and why the prospect should listen.
Cold Calling Tips and Tricks: Include social listening for trigger events as part of your research and preparation.
Cold calling tip 6. Use trigger events to engage a prospect.
Selling in itself does not cause buying. Many purchases come about as a result of some trigger event which causes a challenge or pain point to be addressed. You can tap into these signals also known as trigger events by engaging in social listening. As part of your sales habit loop, every day you should be social listening for 15-20 minutes on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Alerts or News sites to keep tabs on recent happenings relating to a set of focused prospects, industry or companies.
Some trigger events that research has shown to kickstart a prospects’ buying journey include:
New C level or senior hires. A new member of a company’s leadership team will invariable want to prove their value and make changes, so they are more open to new solutions. I’m not suggesting you go after this person but rather focus on your target prospect who could be a hero to the new boss by introducing new vendors.
Winning a large contract or large customer win. Could this open the door to an opportunity for your offerings. At the very least, reach out to the prospect to congratulate and see what impact this will have on their roles or business.
A company expansion. New hires, moving office, opening a new location or a geographical change is a trigger event that qualifies as an introduction opportunity.
Regulation or Industry Shift. Use social listening to keep abreast of any pending regulation changes or any industry trends that could shift a prospect from his or her status quo position. Educate yourself on these shifts to present yourself as an expert and trusted source of information.
Company Acquisitions or Mergers. If you already supply into a similar company or have a relationship with either party, this trigger event can be a great opportunity to get engage a prospect.
Cold calling tip 7. – Be Credible. Use social proof to build rapport and influence.
When a prospect asks themselves “why should I listen to this person?” your value proposition and how you present yourself must be credible. A super means to gain credibility in the eyes of a prospect is to use social proof within your value proposition. Social proof is now vital in most sales prospecting tactics from social selling to introductory emails because it shows the prospect that your product has helped other people with similar pain points. The key is to share a relevant success story or snippet of information of someone you helped who had challenges similar to the prospects role or industry.
Cold Calling can work for you!!
There is a certain art and level of sales skill to make cold calling successful. Apart from maybe some social selling training and learning more about sales prospecting, you must make it part of your sales habit loop and like every habit you must want to it and have reason to do it. It boils down to your drive to do the research, plan, prepare and then call and call again that differentiates success from failure in cold calling.