“I love when I receive cold calls!” said nobody.
Some people will tell you that cold calling is dead. However, it is still implemented in sales strategies for many businesses such as: Uber, Twitter and other large companies like them. With that being said is it really dead? Or has the game changed? In this blog were going to go over the do’s and don’ts when it comes to cold calling in 2017.
I decided to ask friends and colleagues on my social media platforms for some insight on the topic. I asked: “If you were to describe cold calling in one word, what would that word be?” Many of them described cold calling as annoying, unsolicited and irritating. Yikes! harsh, right? Unfortunately, from the other end of the spectrum that is how cold calling is perceived and that spectrum is your consumers.
I wondered if maybe it’s just wording that has a negative impact on business owners and consumers? Is it overly scripted? Perhaps the tone of the sales person wasn’t inviting? Well all that can be spot on if your cold calling technique is from the 90s. In the last 20 years a lot has changed in the sales/marketing industry and businesses are more aware of it. In order to create a successful cold call here are the few things you don’t want to have in your cold calling strategy.
Decision Maker- Do NOT and I cannot stress this enough, immediately ask to speak to the owner or the “person in charge.” You never know who will be answering the phone. The person answering the phone could be the owner of the company, or perhaps a star employee. They could also hang up on you, and very well so as it comes across to them that they are inadequate and not worth your time. Engage with them, connect, converse…this is extremely important as the first interact will determine the outcome of the call.
Weak Opener– We all know no one thoroughly enjoys cold calling, it sucks. And when you do decide to make that call, you know that you only have a small window of opportunity to grab your prospects attention. When they figure out that you are another sales person, boom they stopped listening. You need to peak their interest in that small amount of time so when they do know you are another sales person, it won’t matter because they’re intrigued and want to find out more.
Leave the scripts: When you follow a script you’re just assuming where the conversation is going to go. Maybe at times that’s true, however don’t make that assumption. A script tends to fall apart when the prospect interrupts and starts asking you some questions that maybe you were not prepared for. So, when the conversation goes off script, what happens? Panic sets in and then chaos happens. You start shuffling around your scripts trying to figure out where to pick up from and then you lose the call. A cold call script should only be used as a guide and not something you need to read directly from.
Sell, sell, sell!: No, no, NO! Ask any sales person what the purpose of the call is and I will guarantee you they will say: “to get the appointment” You want to get the prospect excited enough to get them to sit down with you to discuss your product/service further. If you start asking for a credit card or next steps without even meeting them in person, you are going to hear the dial tone. After that, it is going to be very hard to earn their trust again.
Now that we have gone over the strategies you should not use when picking up that phone, let’s talk about the things you should do!
Info is KEY: Before you make the call, get to know more about the business so you have a bit of an understanding who they are. The more you know about a business before speaking with them, the better your chances are on getting an appointment. Not only will it help with your opening pitch and questions, it impresses the prospect. Hearing: “I read that you recently won for… Congratulations!” gets the prospect excited and engaged rather than, “Can you tell me a bit about your business, what do you guys do?” from that moment on, you have showed that you really could care less about the business.
Be Positive: Attitude is everything in a call. If your offering has value to your prospect, you’re doing them a favor by giving the prospect an opportunity to meet with you. Therefore, have confidence in your ability to provide value. Confidence over the phone will not only make you unique, but it will also help you communicate more effectively. Businesses receive at least 20 telemarketer calls a day, it’s exhausting for them. So, when you call them be sure to be that refreshing tone in every call you make!
Ask Away: Asking great questions during a cold call is a valuable technique in establishing a new business relationship with a prospect. Provocative questions that keep the prospect interested and on the phone. Find out the challenges they face, where would they like to see growth, are they involved in any community events or charities. Get to know them, build that rapport with them before setting up a time to meet with them in person.
At the end of the day, cold calling may not be the most glamorous part of the job however it is still proven to be a successful strategy in a variety of different industries. The game has changed, consumers want engagement, a relationship, some understanding and if that is something you are able to provide them at the very early stages of the call then you’re heading in the right direction!