Cold calling is the practice of initiating and conducting sales calls with strangers. No pre-existing relationship or contact information is necessary. When you cold call, you either hope to be able to leave a voicemail or will directly reach someone who cannot simply hang up on you. Cold calling as a sales tactic is not new, but it can feel that way in today’s digital world.
With so many consumers preferring to connect digitally rather than personally, some businesses have come to view cold calling as an antiquated technique. But the fact remains that people prefer to receive personal phone calls over text messages, emails, and social media notifications.
When done correctly, cold calling can be an effective tool for initiating sales conversations with strangers who may become customers. Innately uncomfortable tasks like cold calling become easier with practice and persistence. If you’re willing to work, read on for tips and techniques for winning at cold calling…
What is Cold Calling?
Cold calling is the practice of initiating and conducting sales calls with strangers. No pre-existing relationship or contact information is necessary. When you cold call, you either hope to be able to leave a voicemail or will directly reach someone who cannot simply hang up on you. Cold calling is important because it’s often a necessary part of growing a sales team and growing the sales of that team.
Many people are reluctant to pick up the phone and make cold calls, but it’s a skill that anyone can learn with practice. Cold calling can be viewed as sales prospecting. It’s a way to get in front of potential customers and make initial sales contacts without relying on a warm referral or pre-existing relationship.
Tips and Techniques for Winning at Cold Calling
Thinking ahead is one of the best ways to make cold calls less intimidating. Before you make your first call, plan out your sales process. Think about what challenges your customers may face and how you can help to overcome those. Make a list of the prospects you want to reach out to and the best way to reach them. Write down a few talking points you want to leave each person with.
Cold calling is very different from pitching prospects in person. You don’t have the benefit of their attention, and you don’t know their reactions. You need to be prepared for every possible response, from being hung up on to having the person angrily proclaim that they’re not interested. What will you say if that happens? How can you stay on track with your pitch or your sales process?
Define your objective
Before you pick up the phone and make your first cold call, you need to ask yourself why you’re doing it. What are you hoping to accomplish? Cold calling is a tactic that can be extremely useful if used correctly and in moderation.
But if you’re calling too many people too often, you’re going to get a reputation as a nuisance, and you’re not going to get much out of the effort. If you overdo it, people may be annoyed at the very thought of your product or service. Before you start calling, take a moment to think about whom you’re trying to reach out to and what your ultimate goal is.
Are you calling to generate leads or to try and book sales appointments? Do you want to get people interested in purchasing your product, or are you focused on getting them to subscribe to your email list? Stay focused on what y ou want to achieve.
Know your script
Before making your first cold call, you must have a script. Having a script for cold calls is essential for a few reasons. First, it will help you to remain focused on what you’re trying to say. Second, it will help you to keep track of your call metrics, such as how long it took you to get to the point and how quickly you were hung up on.
Third, it will help you to avoid sounding like you’re reading from a script. Having a script also makes it easier to approach prospects who have heard the same pitch from another rep from the company. Many of the cold calls you make will be to prospects who have already been approached by someone else in your business. You can’t change the fact that these people have already been pitched, but you can change how you present yourself.
Find the decision maker
Before you make a cold call, you need to know whom you’re talking to. Not only does this help you to personalize your pitch, but it also makes you seem more professional. If you call someone who isn’t authorized to make a purchase and they know it, then they’re probably going to hang up on you.
But if you call someone with authority to make a decision, they’re more likely to take you seriously. Find the customer decision-maker by using a combination of internal research, public records, and social media. Internal research will help you to understand who your customers are and where they’re located.
This information can help you to decide which prospects are worth pursuing. Public records and social media can help locate contact information for decision-makers within your region.
Effective cold calling involves more than just pitching your product or service. It involves listening to your customer’s challenges and addressing them. You can’t do that if you’re only talking. You need to listen and ask questions actively.
Active listening will help you to understand your customer’s challenges better, and it will help you to identify pain points that you can solve. Cold calling is never easy, but it becomes easier when actively listening to your customer’s needs and challenges. You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know what it is. And you can’t help someone if they don’t know you exist.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale
If you’ve listened to your customer’s challenges and addressed their pain points, the next step is to ask for a sale. Cold calling is a numbers game. You’ll make more calls than you get through to voicemails or decision-makers.
But that’s okay because you’re building a pipeline of leads. You don’t want to be so focused on closing a single sale that you miss out on an opportunity to help multiple customers. That’s where cold-calling sales appointments come into play. You should follow up with a sales appointment if you’ve done your research, pitched your product, and asked for the sale.
This is an opportunity to get on someone’s calendar and follow up on your initial call. It also gives you a chance to make sure that the customer is ready to buy from you.
Cold calling can be an effective sales tactic, but it is also incredibly uncomfortable. There are a few ways you can make the process easier and more effective, like by having a script and actively listening to your customers.
Most importantly, you must be willing to do much work, whether picking up the phone or emailing. There’s no magic trick or shortcut to success in sales.