Cold calling is an essential aspect of sales. But to many it is an old-school technique. At Whistle, however, we believe cold calling helps to increase meetings booked and subsequent conversions. If you’re struggling to find success with your cold calling approach, you may have been doing it wrong.
But don’t despair! Today we’re sharing a few game-changing cold calling tips from expert Gerry Hill that are sure to set you up for success.
Let’s delve in!
What Is Cold Calling?
Cold calling is a technique where sales development representatives interact, engage, and pitch to unknown customers about their product or service through phone calls.
We know cold calls may sound cumbersome and often require a lot of patience. However, it has been a million-dollar generating go-to-market strategy for ages and to date has proved itself to be a hardcore sales generator.
The main factor differentiating low and high performers in the sales funnel is the salespeople. They constantly stay connected to their customers via calls, have healthy conversations, and execute a persistent approach that eventually leads to a successful sales target.
What makes cold calling an effective go-to-market strategy?
The answer is simple.
Cold calling is the only method that provides an opportunity to build instant and immediate trust. Why? The human voice.
It has the ability to transmit a huge number of bits of information per second. You would need to send out about 100 emails in order establish that same equivalency. When you speak to someone, you send out emotional information which is received by a part of the brain which tells the prospect whether or not they’re going to believe what they’re being told. An email just simply can’t get you to that point as efficiently.
Another point in favor of cold calling is its simplicity. Cold emails and social media approaches are more complex. You have to work tirelessly to get eyeballs, engage with the customers, and convince them to buy your product or service.
Cold calling follows a very simple structure:
– The opening
– Delivering of the value statement (what’s in it for them as a prospect)
– The ask (asking for their calendar, the meeting, the referral)
– Giving context
– Offering additional help (how else can I be useful to you?)
– And then lastly, it’s about being prepared for the things that are undefined (managing those expectations with the prospect, setting the right cadence of follow up, and then ultimately managing objections as they emerge).
Cold calling tips you need to know
If you want to generate an increase in sales, this is a great place to start.
1. Research your target customers
Researching a prospect is the first and most crucial step before making a cold call. Before you call your prospects, you should be well informed on their basic details to make your call more precise, interactive, and trustworthy.
Ensure you perform plenty of research about your target customers through social media handles, CRM, LinkedIn, company sites, and other possible platforms to make your cold call relevant and engaging.
2. Plan a suitable time for the cold call
Pick an appropriate time that suits your prospects. Find out when they’re free for a conversation. It is observed that Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to call customers. Call prospects on these days to save time. You can readily analyze your customer’s availability through their social media presence for an effective and successful cold call.
3. The opening of a cold call is important
The battle is won in the first seven seconds – in that short time, the prospect has already decided whether or not they are interested in continuing the conversation. Don’t waste those precious first seconds on solving the wrong problem – what do we mean here? The initial focus shouldn’t be on addressing the prospect’s pain point, but rather on solving the invisible stranger problem. In essence, tell them who you are and why you’re calling. This way, you take them from a stage of fear to one of curiosity. Here’s what Gerry’s go-to opener sounds like: “Hey Michelle, I know I’m an interruption. Can I just take 27 seconds to tell you why I’m calling please?”
4. Deliver value
As a sales representative, you need to shift your focus away from what you can get out of your prospects to what you can give them. Shocking fact….you don’t need to sell the product in a cold call. Ever. You need to sell the value of the meeting and you need to do it in a way that is relevant to that particular person. If they’re giving up 30 minutes of their time for a meeting with you, what’s in it for them? You need to know the answer to that question before you pick up the phone.
5. Ditch the sales talk
Marketing executives love defining their product, service, technology and category; and their scripts often end up sounding like this:
“I want to talk about our offering of apples. Apples are a popular fruit containing antioxidants, vitamins, dietary fiber and a range of other nutrients. Apples come in a variety of shapes, colors and flavors and due to their varied nutrient content can benefit many different aspects of a person’s health. For example, a reduced risk of cancer, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and several other conditions. Do you have your calendar available so we can have a discussion about this apple thing?”
Rather present something interesting that actually appeals to an outcome:
“We discovered a breakthrough which ensures you shouldn’t ever need to see a doctor again. And the reason for my call is…”
6. Stick to the script
Cold calls must be scripted. Not in the sense that you need to follow every punctuation, but each conversation needs guardrails. Here’s why: calling is potentially the most strategic part of a long term go to market strategy because it’s where our most intimate message in the market meets our customer for the first time. Something this important needs to be controlled, so that it can be tested. Scripts can give instant feedback on what works and what doesn’t, which means you’re immediately improving your chances of success each and every single time that you execute the script.
7. Build value from every objection
Every cold conversation has an outcome that can have a dynamic and high value impact, even if you don’t set the meeting today. Here are the most common outcomes that you can build value against:
– Yes, I’ll take a meeting
– No, “not me” (I’m not the right person to talk to)
– No, “not you” (I don’t want to work with you – for a variety of reasons; reputation/already locked into a contract etc)
– No, “not interested now”
– No, “not interested ever”
If you do your job well, using that type of structured approach – you’ll be having more completed conversations, which will shorten the cycle (identifying when people are going to be buying from you).
8. Curate market dominance
The market you’re in most likely looks like this:
3% – buying now
6-7% – open to it
30% – not thinking about it yet
30% – don’t think they’re interested
30% – know they’re not interested
Instead of targeting that top 3%, rather spend your time on the two lower tiers (those open to it and those not thinking about it yet). That’s where you’re really going to find the highest value impact.
When followed, these cold calling tips are very effective in boosting sales and bringing value to your business.