Throughout my entire sales career there has been one subject that always provokes emotion, a subject that can be extremely divisive (not quite as divisive as another subject that begins with B, but we’re certainly not going down that path), that subject is cold calling or more accurately the merits of cold calling, does it still work, is it dead, is it a waste of time, or is it still the most effective way of generating leads, opportunities or appointments.
Over the past five years I have been on a slightly different journey, this journey has given me the opportunity to work on different projects but more importantly allowed me to go back to the floor, one of the most important things for me as a trainer was the belief that what I was coaching and training actually worked, that I had current first hand experiences of the challenges that sales people were facing and that I could still share valuable and relatable solutions to real life sales challenges and this opportunity allowed me to take this to a different level.
Everything has changed, but in reality nothing has changed
We live in a digital age where there is a perception that the sales industry has changed beyond recognition and that traditional selling styles and sales approaches have very little or no place in this modern sales world.
You don’t have to look far to stumble across an article, a podcast or a video or a new webinar promoting a social selling tool or platform all sharing the prophecy that social selling is now the only way to sell anything and everything, now we may be living in a digital age but the people factor is still a huge factor when it comes to selling and particularly prospecting.
How can we warm up our calls?
What I want to share with you within this article is some simple approaches that you can bring into your lead cold calling / telephone lead generation to make it more effective and hopefully more enjoyable and rewarding.
1) Connect and engage via LinkedIn
This neatly follows on from my previous article about the importance of being proactive with our LinkedIn prospects, connecting and engaging with a prospect and then following up with a call is an incredibly effective approach on its own as it is incredibly underused by LinkedIn users.
2) One of the easiest ways to warm up a cold call is to create a point of reference for a call
Sending an introduction email is not only one of the easiest ways to create a point of reference but when it is done well it can be one of the most effective, (but don’t fall into the trap of rehashing an old marketing email or sending something generic), think about a message that allows you to stand out and demonstrate the value you could bring.
3) Find something that’s relevant and current in your prospects world
Making truly cold calls has never worked, there has always had to be some angle, apply some aspect of research but with today's’ prospects, they’re expectation level is such that if a caller hasn’t carried out some sort of research many will not entertain such a call and with the vast array of tools available to sales people there really isn’t an excuse.
4) Aim to have a conversation rather than trying to pitch to them
This is one of the key factors within my cold calling approach, forget about trying to sell the prospect anything on an initial call, aim to have a conversation, fact find and engage the prospect, look at cold calling like dating, would you ask someone to marry you on a 1st date? And if you did what reaction wold you get?
5) Take the prospect on a journey by using some basic sales enablement tools and be creative with your touch points
If at first you don’t succeed try, try again, sales enablement is huge at the moment in the sales industry but it doesn’t have to be complicated keep it simple, sending a small series of follow up messages helps to keep a prospect engaged but more importantly every touch point builds familiarity and warms up every call you make to that prospect a few extra degrees
Finally try to enjoy it, if you resent doing it, it will show in your results, if you go into the call believing you are interrupting a prospect and that you are a nuisance it will come across on the call, now more than ever the telephone has a huge part to play in prospecting and cold calling is an extremely effective way of engaging with new prospects, so go out there, take yourself a little out of your comfort zone, use these steps to warm up your calls, enjoy it and watch your pipeline grow.
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