Everyone hates cold calling. Even salespeople! Over two-thirds have reported it as one of the worst parts of their job. But cold calls still have incredible value when it comes to generating meetings and deals with high-value clients - 82% of buyers say they have accepted meetings with salespeople as a result of cold calls.
This is why is essential that modern salespeople embrace cold calling as one of their core sales techniques.
But how can you be great at it?
1. Take the cold out of cold calling
One way to improve the chances of having a successful cold call is to warm up your prospects beforehand. You can connect with them on LinkedIn or send an email so that your call seems less out-of-the-blue and they’ll recognise your name. 78% of sales reps have reported better results after using social media to research and connect with their prospects.
2. Accept that rejection is part of the process
When it comes to cold calling, rejection is part of the job. No matter how good a salesperson you are, you will get rejected at some point. The trick to not taking it personally or seeing it as a “failure” is to accept that it’s inevitable – some sales teams even make a game out of it and compare their funniest rejections at the end of the day!
Rejections can also be an opportunity for you to learn so that you can reduce how often you get rejected in the future. If the person who has rejected you has been quite pleasant about it, you can always ask them what is about your product or conversation that has made them say no. It can also be helpful to keep track of where in the conversation people normally reject you. Gathering this information can help you make tweaks to your future cold calling approach.
Rejection today doesn’t mean that there won’t be an opportunity in the future!
3. Learn how to work with voicemail
Around 60% of cold calls go straight to voicemail – but don’t let this deter you. Instead, make use of this opportunity to get a call back
Who you are
Ask a question to provoke interest
Why they would benefit from returning your call
How they can reach you
Voicemails can also provide some great gems of information to help with your prospecting process
4. Call again!
86% of sales reps don’t make a follow-up call – this can seriously harm your overall sales figures since it takes most sales reps an average of 6 -8 calls to close a deal.
If you get their voicemail, call again. If you’ve had a successful conversation and agreed on the next steps, call again. Until you get rejected, call again.
The key to ensuring this doesn’t come across as spammy is to clearly inform your prospect in voicemails, emails, and phone calls, when you will next be in touch if you don’t hear from them. By doing this, you’ve done everything you can to prepare them for your call.
5. Remember closing isn’t the only outcome you want
While closing a deal is the ultimate goal for all salespeople, it’s not the only outcome that matters when cold calling.
In fact, you’re highly unlikely to close the deal in the first few calls so you should really be aiming to build a relationship with your prospect and get them to commit to smaller actions that demonstrate their interest – e.g. confirming a time for your next call, or sending you an email with relevant information.
You can also use your cold calls to work on improving your sales skills. You can take note of where in the conversation it usually drops off to adjust your approach, trial different questions to determine which sparks the best conversation, and identify which areas you feel less confident in so you can practice.
6. Quickly build a connection with your audience
We all know “people buy from people” so the best cold calls will happen when you can build a rapport with the prospect and make them like you early on in the conversation.
One of the biggest tips to help you do this is to follow your script – but don’t just read it.
The script is there to help you structure your conversations to ensure you get the key messages across. But you don’t have to read it word for word! Use your own language and emotions to generate an engaging conversation with the prospect – if you simply read the words from your script you risk sounding like a robot. If you sound excited about the product, your prospect will get excited about the product.
You can also bring in anything you know about your prospect into the conversation to help you find something to connect over, e.g. everyone loves to talk about their kids and appreciates anyone who takes an interest in them.
7. Be strategic about your calls
Cold calling shouldn’t feel like a numbers game. As with any successful sales tactic, there needs to be a strategy behind it. This includes:
Calling when your prospects are most likely to answer
Being smart about who you call (don’t waste time on those who aren’t your ideal customer)
Using technology to streamline your admin and organisation
The more data you can gather about your prospects and your own sales performance, the more informed your strategy can become, allowing you to become more efficient and successful with your cold calls.
Want a more intelligent approach to cold calling? Book onto our Cold Calling sales course – available online, in-house, and as a public workshop.