Cold calling is a key part of the prospecting process for many salespeople, and it is also one of the most dreaded parts. Calling someone who has never heard of your company or thought about why they might need what you can offer will always be tricky. Below are some of our best tips to making your cold calling process less stressful and more successful.
- Plan, Prepare, Practice. Being prepared for each call will make the call smoother, increase your confidence and ensure that you aren’t wasting your or the prospect’s time. Research who the decision maker is, what their pain points are, who their competitors are, and what value you may be able to add that will convince them to give you a shot. Also, just as you have a prepared and practiced sales presentation for an in-person meeting, you should practice and prepare to run a smooth phone call that will ultimately encourage your prospect to meet with you in person or through further phone calls.
- Schedule your calls. It is important to schedule your calls for you schedule, but also around what will hopefully suit your prospects schedules. Try a variety of times – mid-morning, early afternoon, etc. – to see what gets you the greatest number of answered calls and best responses and interactions during the calls. If you notice that prospects are most receptive in the mid-afternoon, plan your day around being able to make calls at that time, don’t waste your time calling when people aren’t willing to answer.
- Perfect your talking-to-listening ratio. Start the call with a good opening, make sure you connect with the prospect and humanize yourself, but don’t waste too much time on small talk or introductions. Get started by getting the qualifying information you need and then listen to what the prospect is telling you. If you don’t listen, you can’t find places to add value and answer questions in a way best tailored to the prospect and their needs.
- Remember, the initial call is only selling them on additional calls – not on purchasing or using your services. The initial call is the time to gather information and start building the prospect’s trust. You want to make sure they feel comfortable with you and are willing to listen when you start an actual full sales pitch. Use the first call to get their attention, qualify them as a client, and prepare the information you need in order to really sell them the products or services they need.
Cold calling will never be the best part of the job, but with a little patience and practice, you’ll begin to develop an approach that works for you and your prospective client base. Having a plan for calls, and lots of practice through real calls and role-played situations, will increase your confidence and make your cold calling process much more successful.