To paraphrase a famous quote, tales of the death of cold calling have been greatly exaggerated. Typically sales reps associate sales cold calling with outbound marketing; however, the practice has recently been reinvented with elements of inbound marketing. The idea isn't to badger prospects until they buy something or hang up, it’s about creating a lasting relationship through conversation.
Now, reps will call someone with the intention of offering them enough valuable information to get them to agree to a follow-up conversation. Instead of just trying anybody to pick up the phone, the sales reps will research in advance to pinpoint their target market and try to reach a decision maker.
Seven Sales Cold Calling Best Practices That Will Change Your View of Cold Calling
When sales reps can get someone to pick up the phone, they have a chance to establish the kind of personal connection that's impossible online. That's one reason this practice has evolved and not died out in this digital age. To transform sales cold calling in your organization, consider these seven sales cold calling best practices:
1. Know your prospect
Even if the people who pick up the phone don't know you, you should still prepare by learning as much as possible about them and the company they represent. You're more likely to get a positive response if you already understand the pain points they’re experiencing. You should also be ready to offer how your product or service solves those problems. Establish trust by demonstrating that you understand their needs.
2. Know and trust your offer
When you call, you need to have something to offer in exchange for your prospect's attention. You'll do best if you can offer something that's relevant to your potential customer's interests and your own products or services. If your company already produces informative white papers, webinars, or use cases, share these with your prospects.
3. Reduce distractions
Cold calling isn’t easy when your attention is constantly pulled in different directions.
When you sit down to cold call, focus only on that. Turn off your phone, have your coffee before you begin instead of thinking about getting up to make it, close your office door to let your co-workers know you're busy, and silence social media notifications. Focus upon your goals of making a certain number of calls, and pay attention to your prospects.
4. Craft conversations that build relationships
As highlighted in our previous article about having conversations that sell, you should not script every line of your sales call. Instead, prepare by jotting down questions that demonstrate interest and help uncover pain points. Prepare answers to possible questions that help build trust and overcome objections. You need to prepare, but you also need to avoid sounding like you're reading from a script.
5. Learn to accept rejection
New salespeople make the common mistake of taking each refusal as a personal rejection. Any sales reps with experience cold calling will strive to earn a “yes” when they make a sales call, but they also spend little time worrying about the moments they hear “no”. When you encounter new objections, you can always jot them down to help strengthen your sales conversations in the future and to share with your sales team. Yes, you'll probably be told “no” more often than “yes”; however, one positive response can lead to lots of future sales. Keep your eye on the prize.
6. End every sales call by confirming the next step
If the person on the other end of your sales call told you they were busy, conclude by rescheduling or offering another form of communication. If you had a productive conversation, you may try to schedule a demo of your solution. If nobody picked up the phone, at least you can schedule another call task in your CRM. If you left a voice message, you might follow up with an email to offer your prospect a longer explanation of why you called and ensure you reached the decision maker.
Be clear and concise so you and your prospect are on the same page.
7. Rely upon cold calling automation
If you're still manually dialing the phone from a list of numbers in a Rolodex, you're doing it wrong. You can use sales automation and a dialer to dial your targeted list, keep track of calls, and even schedule emails and other forms of communication.
Mastering Cold Calls
Besides enabling you to establish personal connections, cold calling can also help you reach a wider audience. No matter how many qualified leads your marketing department can attract, you can always find more likely prospects within your target market. Focusing upon your goals, having reasonable expectations, and constantly working to improve and build confidence will help you master the art of making cold calls. To improve your success ratio even faster, read this previous blog entry: How to Increase Your Close Ratio: Sales Tips for 2018.