Let’s start with the basics. What is cold calling? In short, it’s reaching out to potential customers who might not have heard from you or your company before. The call could be intended to sell a product or service or even set an appointment for future discussions.
These calls are called “cold” because no prior contact or relationship was established. On the surface, it sounds straightforward, right? You pick up the phone, dial a number, and contact someone regarding your business and offerings. But anyone who has done it will tell you – there’s more than meets the eye in this process.
It requires ample preparation in understanding customer interests and needs and crafting a compelling value proposition that can break through the initial resistance to an unfamiliar call. Otherwise, you risk wasting both your and the customer’s time.
Cold calling can be a cold ordeal.
The problem with this technique is that people are reluctant to make hundreds of calls to people who are likely to reject their product or service after all of their efforts.
The truth is cold calling can be incredibly effective in lead generation. If you do it well, you’ll make yourself incredibly valuable in the growth of your business.
- 62% of buyers would like to hear from brand representatives when they are trying to find a solution to a problem. (Source)
- 82% of buyers appear to accept meeting offers with sellers who reach out proactively. (Source)
- 69% of buyers have accepted cold calls from new suppliers. (Source)
Today, let’s look at some cold calling tips and techniques that really work.
Why Is Cold Calling So Hard?
Cold calling is a sales technique where a salesperson contacts a prospect they may not know with the aim of getting them interested in their product or service.
It is this definition of a cold call that might bring you a lot of pressure. The thought of having to generate sales from people you don’t know can induce a lot of anxiety; the thought of having to make hundreds of these kinds of calls will only make things worse.
Cold calling is a skill, and it is also a mindset. These tips will help you get over the fear of cold calling and fine-tune your techniques.
Experience Makes You Better
Since making cold calls is a skill, you can get better at it.
Keep this in mind as you make more and more of these calls.
Each time you reach a prospect and have a conversation-you’re finding out what works and what doesn’t work.
Over time, you’ll become more and more comfortable introducing yourself, talking about the product or service you have to offer, qualifying a potential customer, and learning how to move on to the next step.
Just keep at it. Take notes if you need to about what’s been successful for you. You can then begin to use more of what’s been effective for you and your personality and leave behind what isn’t.
7 Cold Calling Tips to Grow Your Business
Preparing yourself and using the right techniques can turn cold calling into one of your favorite sales approaches. Here are some tips to level up your skills and results.
Be Value Driven
It isn’t easy to take a person you didn’t know and, after one call, get them to open up and engage with you. Advice for all your cold calls—focus on providing upfront value.
You provide value by showing the prospect that you care about helping them solve their problems! During your call, ask questions that allow the customer to tell you if they see value in your product or service.
This is one way you can qualify your prospect. You can find out right away if your product will be valuable to them or if it won’t. If they need your product, talk to them about how your product could help solve their problem. Answer their questions and present yourself as someone who has a solution.
Do Your Homework
Cold calls are much easier when you have some time to get to know your prospect a little more.
Nowadays, most people have a LinkedIn profile or some other type of social media presence where you can take note of what they’re interested in. A good tip for sales cold calling is not to get into the details of their personal lives but to take note of special interests the person has made public – changes in their company, position, industry events, trends, etc.
Doing your homework means you take some time to get to know what is valuable to your prospect so that when you connect with them, you can communicate in terms of what’s interesting to them.
Your prospect will appreciate the time you took to get to know them a little before reaching out.
The research you do will show your genuine interest in the person you’re talking to. It demonstrates to them that they aren’t just another number you dialed, but that they are a person worthy of getting to know and of whom you might be valuable.
Be Ready With a Script
Cold calling isn’t just about picking up the phone and starting a casual conversation. It requires strategic planning. A good technique to ensure your call is time-efficient and productive is preparing a script beforehand.
Mind you; this script shouldn’t turn you into a mindless automaton spewing corporate jargon. Instead, it should act as a roadmap guiding you throughout the conversation. It helps you keep track of important points or unique selling propositions that need emphasizing while maintaining natural, flowing connectivity during the dialogue.
Keep it flexible enough to allow for personalized interaction with each customer. Moreover, you don’t need to follow it verbatim—let your intuition guide the dialog. Your potential client wants to hear from a human, not an automated machine, so make sure you sound like one. Word sophistication isn’t required here; sincerity is key.
When crafting your cold-call script, it may benefit you to consider the following core components:
- Efficient introduction: Clearly state who you are and the purpose of the call.
- Value proposition: A sentence or two highlighting how your product or service could potentially solve a problem for them.
- Open-ended questions: Encourage dialogue by asking questions that cannot be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
- Unique selling points: Why should this individual choose your product or service over others? Highlight what sets you apart from the competition.
- Company achievements: Leverage impressive stats about your company or testimonials from other customers to instill confidence in your prospect.
- Show that you’ve done your homework: Include information gleaned from preliminary research about the client’s business. This will make the conversation more relevant and personalized.
- Handling objections: Preplan responses to common objections.
- Closing the conversation: Provide the next steps, such as scheduling a follow-up call or meeting.
Practice Your Script Until It Sounds Natural
Some businesses have cold calling scripts. While it is a good idea to master what is on your script, you can’t sound like you’re reading from a script while prospecting.
Potential buyers can sense when you’re not using words that are natural to you—they can hear it in your voice when you’re reading a preplanned sales pitch, and they lose interest.
Your script is likely a tried-and-true method, but whatever you say has to feel like you’re having a conversation with your prospect. People like being talked to, not sold to.
You can either practice your company’s script enough so that it becomes second nature to you, or you come up with your own script that includes all the information you should include and sounds natural to you.
Either way, focus on having a conversation with your prospect. Smile when you talk to them and enjoy the conversation. Inflect your voice to let your prospect know you appreciate the time they’ve taken to speak with you.
Whether you’ve naturalized your company script or created your own, also be ready to go off-script. Your prospect might ask a question you didn’t foresee, or the conversation may go somewhere you didn’t foresee—in these cases, stay calm and continue naturally.
Remember, Rejection is Not the End of The Road
No one likes to be rejected. It feels personal, stings a bit, and can sometimes rain on your parade, especially when you’ve been working hard. But here’s the silver lining. In the world of cold calling, rejection is not final. As a matter of fact, it’s part and parcel of the process.
Being turned down is usually less about you, your product, or your service than it is about the fact that what you’re offering may simply not be needed by your potential customer at this time—it’s just not right for them today. The client’s budget may not be there, or they may already have a solution.
Emotions aside, every ‘no’ brings valuable lessons. Behind each rejection hides invaluable intel about your approach and potential room for improvement. Maybe there was a misunderstanding? Or perhaps you missed some underlying needs of the client? Were there objections that caught you unprepared? Think deeply about those instances not with despair but as insights to modify and perfect your strategy.
Get to the Next Meeting
Your initial cold call to the prospect should focus on getting to a proper meeting where you can show them your product or service in an appropriate setting.
Perhaps it is possible to go for the sale on the initial call but recognize that it is far more likely and more beneficial for your relationship with the prospect to guide them to a meeting or another conversation.
So, listen to the person you called. Talk to them and have a real conversation with them. Get to know them.
If you believe what you are selling is valuable for them, ask that you both meet soon to present your product.
This way, you’re not pressured to make the sale on the first call. You are more focused on building a relationship with the person and asking for the opportunity to show them what you have.
Before you end the call, set the date, time, and place of your meeting. Confirm with your prospect that they have the same date, time, and place as well.
Follow Up and Reminder
People are busy. With how fast life moves, you must stay relevant to the prospects you’ve been successful with. There are ways to make sure you’re remembered without being invasive.
The final tip for cold calling is to follow up with an email after you have made the initial call. In the email, include your name, your company name, and a reminder of the time, date, and place you’ve agreed to meet next.
It might read something like this:
Then, 24 hours before your planned appointment—you can email them again to confirm your meeting. These are subtle ways you can keep in touch with your potential customers and stay relevant to them. You can secure your business meetings and have a higher chance of converting sales.
It’s perfectly normal to think cold calling is difficult. After all, picking up the telephone and talking with hundreds of strangers does not come naturally to most people.
The condition of having to talk with someone you don’t know is nerve-racking, to say the least. As uncomfortable as it might be initially, remember that there are ways to make it easier for yourself, and you will get better over time.
The call is not about what your prospect can do for you; it’s about what you can do for your prospect! Speak in terms of bringing value to your customer. Get to know who they are and build a relationship with them to develop trust.
Follow these cold calling tips, and don’t be afraid of rejection. Even if it is difficult at first, the sky is the limit for you learning to cold call well.