Cold calling is one of the most effective tools for breaking into an account and getting a hold of a prospect. It provides a personal experience and can be the start of developing a strong business relationship.
When you think of cold calling, you may think of a boring phone call with a sales rep that is just trying to push their product or service on you. Cold calling often gets a bad wrap. It's time sales reps do better and make cold calling an enjoyable experience for both sides of the phone.
Here are the dos and don'ts of modern-day cold calling.
Cold calling should be 5-10 minutes of relief for the prospect. It is the sales rep's job to make the prospect feel comfortable and open to the conversation. Don't add on tasks to their day or things they need to follow-up with you.
Nobody likes a script being read to them, and if you think that someone can't tell that you're reading a script over the phone, you're wrong. Great sales reps make connections and build relationships. When you take the business jargon out of the conversation, and your true personality shines through, the prospect feels more comfortable. Be authentic.
Being positive and prepared will help you be confident on cold calls. Know all the details about your prospect before hopping on the call. It also helps to have one or two back up questions or topics related to that specific prospect if you get stuck on the phone.
When you are connecting with prospects, in every interaction, you should be providing value to them. Listen to them; figure out their pain points. Provide value that addresses these problems. Whether this be a recent eBook or an article you came across online, the action shows you are attentive and trying to help them succeed.
Salespeople hear the word "no" a lot. Yes, this can be discouraging, but a "no" isn't necessarily a dead end. Just because someone doesn't need your product or service at that very moment doesn't mean they might not need it down the road. Stay in touch with them, provide value, and when the timing is right, they will remember you.
The best sales reps focus on establishing a relationship and gaining their prospects' trust. Don't push your product or service on the first interaction you have with them. These are not existing customers, you have no existing relationship with them, and they have no reason to trust you. Listen to them. Listening is the most important component in building trusting business relationships.
If your prospect doesn't pick up the phone, that doesn't mean you end it there. Leave a voicemail, but be short. Leave a quick message letting them know why you called, and leave your name and number at the end of the voicemail. Most voicemails are being read by the transcript nowadays, so be clear in your messaging.
Cold calling most often gets a bad wrap because of the sales reps that aren't courteous of the prospect's time. It is the sales rep's job to make the experience a pleasant one and not to overstep.
Not everyone is going to be super thrilled you're calling them out of the blue. Rejection is a necessary part of all sales activity. Prospects who say "no" aren't rejecting you personally, so don't take it personal. They are just saying the product or service isn't a good fit for them. Don't be over-sensitive. You are just doing your job, and getting the no's is only going to lead you towards a yes.
This is your first interaction with this prospect; you haven't earned their trust, interest, or established credibility yet. One of the best ways to start a conversation is by opening with a question that addresses a problem or issue you know your prospect faces and that you know your product or service can fix. It would be best if you focused on establishing a relationship and gaining their prospects' trust before pushing your product or service on them.
You are calling this person out of the blue. They could be in the middle of working on something important. Be thoughtful and kind with their time. If they say it's a bad time, reschedule. When you're cold calling, you're essentially intruding on someone's day. Make sure your call is worth interrupting their time.
When the conversation is coming to an end, ask to schedule another call or a follow-up meeting. Let them know you will be emailing them to sum up the conversation and sending a calendar invite for what you had agreed upon. It is your job to make sure the relationship continues.
Don't forget that the conversation should be all about the prospect, not your company. Tailor the conversation towards the prospect. Ask questions and uncover pain points. Do not pitch your product or service on your first cold call unless the prospect asks you to.
Don't try to counter all objections. Instead, dig a little deeper to find out what's really behind the objection. There will be some prospects that will have doubts or concerns about what you are trying to sell. Accept that you may need to let some go if they can't get past these concerns.
Cold calling can be scary and stressful. However, cold calling opens doors to building business relationships. This is a chance for you to be personable and let your personality shine through. You are not a robot behind a computer screen, and you are not a money-hungry sales rep. You are a person, just like your prospect, having a conversation.