I’m usually surrounded by some enthusiastic coworkers. Our sales reps continually discuss strategies of improving our products and stepping up their games, but there’s some part of the whole sales process that almost nobody enjoys doing: cold calling. If was any way to skip this step, life would be much easier, but unfortunately there’s no chance of that happening. So today we’ll try to give you some pointers on how to make cold calling a little less burdensome.
What is cold calling and how can we make it easier?
Cold calling is an early and important stage in the sales process. It usually refers to the first telephone call made to a lead customer. Cold calling abilities might come in handy in many other communication situations, business related or not.
So the question is, how can we become more efficient and generate more revenue from our cold calling outreach? Here are some things you can do to make your cold calls a little easier.
1. Create a script for your call
Making a scripted call is not something unusual, it’s like creating a road map to get from point A to point B more efficiently. “Winging” it isn’t going to cut it, you’re probably not going to be as convincing.
You may just come across as unprepared and may catch yourself digressing and having no aim for your speech. If you do those things you run the risk of not getting to the next step in the process.
If you’re not comfortable talking freely, then read right off the script, a personalized script that fits your exact talking patterns. Knowing you have that “safety net” will allow you to feel much more comfortable.
2. Focus on your presentation and delivery
When you’re cold calling, presentation is king. Even if you have a scripted speech, believe it or not but the way you say it just as important as what you are actually saying. Energy, enthusiasm, voice inflexion, confidence, tone, pace are all contributing factors to that. Practice your script so that you’ll be more comfortable with what to say so you can instead focus on how to best say it. That’s exactly why I consider you should personalize your whole message. Experiment with different wording and different approaches. These will generate different results, so don't be afraid to play around a bit with how you send out your package.
After every call, do a mental debriefing to decide what you could do better on the next one. If the content is good, and the delivery is too, you’ve got a great shot at making connections with new prospects over the phone.
3. Be persistent
As a newcomer in the sales call business you’re probably going to find it pretty hard to come by, but just as my coworkers say, you’ll reach a certain lever of confidence after a while.
Perfecting this skill is very difficult. However, if you stick with it you’ll get more comfortable and confident with each additional call you make. Try and stay consistent with your cold calling schemes and hold yourself accountable to doing it, even though you might seem discouraged at times. Nothing beats experience. Just by making this a part of your regular routine these calls will become much easier and the results will follow.
4. Get into a call rhythm
Cold calling is part of every sales rep’s job, so you need to set some time aside for it. I know it’s hard and tiresome at times, especially when you’re inexperienced, but you’ll that this activity develops several skills and abilities.
Make a list of similar types of prospects and focus on only those during that time. Once you call the same type of prospect one after the other you begin to feel more comfortable and the calls get easier.
You’ll probably see a pattern at some point and you’ll have it in the bag, no need to stress out about not knowing how to reply and how to thwart any misconception.
Cold calling is a skill and requires practice. If no one’s answering your calls, find some peers at the office and do some role playing, you’ll see improvements in your approach for sure. It’ll surely make you better when you get on the phone and do it for real.
And try not to multitask. If you start calling prospects, keep doing it for several hours without any interruptions. Set up a list and a calendar and get into a rhythm, it’ll help you be more efficient.
5. Write out arguments for sales objections
When cold calling, you ca be sure that people are going to refuse you or postpone their definite answer. It’s not that uncommon to get hit with an objection within the first two minutes of the call, but it’s really important to find a way to regain control of the conversation. you’ll do that by having a confident attitude and a well thought comeback.
It’s usually best to write down your responses to potential complaints or drawbacks. Your confidence levels will be elevated and your calls won’t be as difficult.
6. Smile, joke and dial
I’ve seen this in action and it makes wonders. Having a by-the-book approach usually works well but combining it with an out of the box perspective could work even better.
Surprise your prospects and start joking around, keeping things light at the start of a call. It’s important to remember that many of the people your reps are targeting are being pitched to day in and day out, which can be boring and monotonous. Why would they want to listen to your rep, out of everyone that calls?
If your reps can make the person on the other end of the line laugh or at least smile briefly, then they’ll be more willing to listen to their pitch. Cold calls shouldn’t be viewed as a battle, but a constructive conversation.
Smiling while talking on the phone not only makes you sound clearer and more positive, it also makes it more enjoyable. Have a sense of humor, feel like it's fun and that you're happy calling your prospect, not just following a schedule.
7. Build rapport
If you haven’t figured it out until now, it’s extremely important to make the prospect realize that they’re talking to a real person and not a robot. That’s exactly why we recommend throwing in some jokes and creating a warm atmosphere.
Be yourself and take a moment to figure out who your prospect could be when he is not at the office. Once they realize you’re a hardworking person just like they are, they’ll be more likely to stay on the phone and listen.
8. Set expectations
Always be upfront about what you’re trying to accomplish, what your goal is when making a cold sales call and keep driving towards it as you move through the call. This will help a prospect understand what you are actually trying to do and they’ll be less surprised when you unravel the next steps.
The expectations you set should be in conformity with the goal you set for yourself before you picked up the phone. There’s nothing wrong with telling a prospect that all you want to do is give them an elevator pitch and have them tell you if it’s worth investing some more time in the conversation. They’ll appreciate the honesty and be more comfortable with your speech.
9. Don't feel bad or discouraged
It’s a tough job, no doubt about it. It's easy to sympathize with your prospects or feel bad about bothering people. If you feel defeat before you even make the call, what do you think are the chances of a success?
Feel good about why you're making that call, feel like you're on a personal message to help people.
10. Create an action plan
This is probably one of the most important stages that you need to go through in order to build confidence and feel more comfortable with calling unknowing prospects. There are some specific strategies that you should take under consideration before, during and after a sales call.
So let’s sum up the basic cold calling rules you need to keep focus on:
- Pre-qualify your leads
- Use more referrals from existing customers or uninterested leads
- Prospecting calls on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons will have the worst results
- Know the reason for calling before you call: customer benefits, not product features
- Don’t make late afternoon calls (especially on Friday) and respect your potential customer’s time
- Have the right attitude, feel confident in your presentation
- Believe in what you’re selling and the benefits that the prospect will receive from your products and services
- Focus on being HELPFUL
- Respect the gate-keeper by treating them in the same way you treat the prospect
- Anytime is a good time to make a call, don’t wait for the “perfect” time
- Ask for feedback from your coworkers
- Take breaks throughout the day
So, as you can see, sales prospecting doesn’t have to be a burden and a reason for discouragement. Experiment with your coworkers, be organized (http://www.zimplu.com/index.php/ro/) and ultimately, enjoy your job.