Cold-calling: it can be a long and tedious process.
Though all salespeople would love to close a sale within the call or two, this rarely happens. On average, it takes 18 calls to actually connect with a buyer.
But this number doesn’t mean that you can’t make a good impression right away and close a sale shortly after. With the right approach, you can master cold-calling and turn prospects into customers.
Below we’ve included the top 10 cold calling tips that will not only teach you how to get better at sales, but they’ll also help you become better at communicating in general.
1. Only Call Prospects
You may think it goes without saying that you should only call prospects. But it’s time to consider what. “Prospect” actually means.
A prospect is someone who wants to solve their problems.
If they don’t want to solve their problems, you will not be able to convince them. Instead, you will be wasting both of each others’ time.
When you’re making your list of who you solve, you need to think about why the prospect wants to solve their problem. A script like this can help you determine if your prospects meet these criteria:
- Problem we solve
- Why I believe the prospect has this problem
- Why I believe the prospect is looking to solve the problem
Make sure not to overlook this last part. People will only buy something if they actually want to solve the problem. If they don’t care about the problem you solve – even if they experience it frequently – they’re not a prospect.
2. Use a Detailed Script
The first few times you make a phone call, you’ll likely be nervous. This is completely natural. Even seasoned salespeople can feel daunted by cold calling, especially if they’re calling a new audience or selling a new product.
When you’re nervous, you have a hard time making the call pleasant. You’ll likely speak faster, stumble on your words, and forget important points. Your listener may not be convinced that you know what you’re talking about.
While it’s normal to be nervous, you can’t be jumpy or scattered with a client. They need to feel relaxed around you.
This is where a cold-calling script becomes helpful. If you have a line-by-line document in front of you, you can ace your sales pitch. If you feel nervous, the script can help keep you on track.
A script will give you pointers on what to say as you move through your sales call. And if you completely forget what to say, it can have a few lines that will get you back on track.
The key is to use your script as a guide, not an end-all tool. You can still go off script to connect with your customer or discuss points that you think would benefit the conversation.
Your prospect will be able to tell if you’re reading the script verbatim because you will sound a bit robotic. So remember, keep it natural!
3. Do the Work Before the Call
The burden is on you as the seller to do all of the work before a call. This means narrowing down your list of who you will contact so you’re not wasting anyone’s time.
You will be rejected much less often if you start a call with an understanding of who you’re talking to. Before you ever pick up the phones do your research.
One way to do this would involve using a lead generation ROI calculator. It will help you find out the return you would get from turning a prospect into a lead, which will help you determine who is worth calling.
Find out who the decision-maker will likely be. What time of day do they usually take calls, and what’s their role in the company? With this information, you can think about your products and services that will be the most interesting to them.
Even if you have the best intuition, you’re not going to be as successful if you wing it. You want to talk to the right person at the right time.
If no information is available publicly, look for a contact point at that company who can help you find out a bit of information. When you do this, go about it confidently – if you’re embarrassed, they won’t want to help you.
Using LinkedIn is also a great tool to find out who is the decision-maker at a company. Over 630 million professionals use LinkedIn, and it is the most effective place for B2B marketers.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Leave a Voicemail
It’s always great when a prospect picks up the phone and can give you some of their time. But this is a rare occurrence. Most often, you’ll end up leaving a voicemail.
Voicemails can be effective if you leave them properly. Remember that your voicemail isn’t about selling – it’s to pique their listener’s curiosity, so they call you back.
Here are a few tips for leaving a great voicemail.
First, write a script. Just like you have a script prepared for your cold call, you need one for your voicemail. Your script should leave the impression that you are an expert who has a valuable solution for a problem that the recipient faces.
Next, make the message personal. Make sure to use your prospect’s name and your own. Do not talk about offers or products, rather talk about their specific needs and how you can help them.
And most importantly, get the tone right. You want to be friendly and upbeat. If you sound desperate, they will not call you back. If you talk too much about a deal or special discount, they won’t call you back, either.
5. Don’t Say You’re “Touching Base”
One classic cold calling strategy is to say you’re “touching base” or “checking in.” Many salespeople like to lead with this approach because they think it warms up the listener. They think that people do not like receiving cold calls and want a more laid-back approach.
In practice, the prospect sees right through it, and it just wastes everyone’s time. Replace these surface-level reasons for calling with the real reasons you’re calling.
When you lead with why you’re calling, you show the listener that you respect their time. You can also make a great first impression right away by demonstrating that you’ve done your research.
While it’s important to maintain friendliness, a warm conversation does not mean a fluffy one.
6. Speak Concisely
Just like you should taste your technique, you should also master your selling style. A good salesperson will know how to use their words strategically.
This means that you’ll need to be concise. Keep your conversation to the point, and follow the customer’s lead.
If they want to talk for 20 minutes, keep the rhythm of the conversation going. But if the conversation feels forced after 5 minutes, end it smoothly on a positive note.
When you’re taking, speak clearly and articulately. Only speak in a few sentences at a time. It’s likely that even over a 15-minute conversation, your prospect will only remember about 30 seconds of what you said.
What are you going to prioritize in this short amount of time? How will you speak so that the most important points are remembered? The answer is to be short and sweet.
7. Get a Little Personal
Don’t feel like you can’t have any personality when you’re making a cold call. It’s still a conversation. If you’re friendly and outgoing, don’t be afraid to display that.
There’s nothing that will make a listener more engaged than showing a bit of your personality and being warm. When you show that you’re happy to talk to them, they’ll often reciprocate the feelings.
If you know something interesting about what they work on, share it with them. Show that you have done a little research and want to get to know them beyond just a surface-level conversation.
Remember that you’re selling yourself. Every cold call is a chance for you to show your listener that you’re kind and intelligent. You care about them individually as a potential customer.
It’s no surprise that successful salespeople spend 22% more time with customers. Work remotely? Don’t stress – customers actually prefer this time to be spent remotely.
8. Master Your 15-Second Pitch
Speaking of time, many of your prospects may have little of it. When cold calling a busy prospect, you may encounter people who truly only have 30 seconds to give you.
We all know that you can’t close a sale in 15 seconds. But first impressions go a long way. Having a pitch ready can make or break a potential deal.
One of the cold-calling ideas that will raise your success rate is to make sure you have your 15-second pitch down.
In these few seconds, you should be able to cover what your company does, what you do, the expertise you have in your caller’s industry.
Even though you only have a short time, you can still hone in on the value that you bring to your listener. You can even reference a specific product or service that would benefit the listener.
At the most basic level, here’s what your 15-second pitch could like:
“My name is [your name] from [company name]. We have done a lot of business in [name industry]. We have done a few things in [a process that is valuable to your customer], and we have [product or service] that we think would benefit your operations.”
9. Be Prepared to Follow Up
After a call, you should give the buyer a bit of time to digest the information you discussed. But you shouldn’t leave the ball completely in their court.
When you have an initial meeting, your work has just begun. You may need to call 5 more times to make some progress.
Remember that your prospect has no obligation to contact you again. You are the party in the relationship that needs to make the point to maintain a connection.
But don’t be concerned – 82% of buyers say they have accepted meetings with salespeople after a series of contacts beginning with sales calls.
So, as long as you stay consistent and follow up, you have a good chance of setting a meeting. And once that meeting is set, you have a real opportunity to close a sale.
10. Reflect and Practice
Rejection is a normal part of the sale process. If it were easy to make a sale on the first try, everyone would be a salesperson.
When you get told “no,” do your best not to take it personally. Often, many of your prospects don’t want to make a purchase until they’re ready, no matter how good your pitch is.
That being said, you can still use your “no” experiences to improve your pitch for next time. One of the greatest sales tips and tricks is to use all of your calls as changes to reflect on your approach and practice for next time.
Maybe you notice that there’s a certain part of your script where you always trip up. Maybe your introduction needs work.
And think about how you discuss the product. Did you do a good job of showing how the product could help to fulfill needs? Or did you talk too much about product specifications without relating them back to the listener?
The more you speak with people and modify your approach, the more confident you will become. After a while, adapting your strategy to deliver the best call possible will feel like second nature.
Succeeding With Cold Calling Tips
With the right cold calling tips, you can master the cold call and make a killer first impression. Connect with more prospects than ever before by trying out our top 10 tips.
Curious to learn more business strategies? We welcome you to visit other blog posts.