How-to Guide: Improving Your Cold Calling Results
Last updated Feb 27 2017
Cold calling is a traditional sales technique which attempts to source new business from companies who have not before initiated any interest with the company in question. They are not expecting contact and have not given permission to be approached. It differentiates from warm calling by there being no pre-introduction or directed campaign towards them previously, at all.
It is an early stage technique in the sales process and phone prospecting is still, despite connotations of being out-dated, an imperative part of many businesses sales approach.
And that is because there are not enough warm leads to survive off alone. Alongside that, cold calling is still the fastest, most direct and low-cost method to influence a sale. It is also a way to generate leads from absolute scratch in the most simplified form and provides an open platform to access a completely new potential clientele and target pool.
Though it may not work every time, there is nothing to say that the next conversation you provoke will not lead to a sale. And that could escalate within a matter of moments if you are lucky enough to pick up the phone to the optimal target.
“Fact: In any market 85% of the available new business goes to the 5% of sales people who know the secret of successful cold calling.”
This is a quote from Sales Trainer, Bob Etherington’s book – ‘Cold Calling for Chickens’
He stresses that the ‘cold’ aspect of ‘cold calling’ is only so for those not doing it correctly.
So the reasons for and the benefits of cold calling are clear for all to see. But how-to cold call successfully is another thing altogether. Yes, you can get lucky and coincidentally come across a person with a direct need for what you are offering – but in most cases, that will not occur.
And for that reason, here is a how-to guide for cold calling…
How-to plan for the call
Preparation is the key to elevation –
Cold calling tips are all good and well but If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail. It is an obvious thing to say but if you have prepared your cold calling script to absolute perfection then there is a strong chance that you’ll succeed in making a positive impact.
Investigation & Research –
This preparation phase involves a large amount of investigation pre-call into researching who you are going to be speaking to, their industry and business needs. Therefore you can adapt and promote specific details or services towards them.
It will make your sales calls far more comfortable, knowing something you can refer to, bring in or use as common ground at any point in the call.
Investigate annual reports and other public information to establish detailed product/service information and USP’s. These should be listed so that you can allude to them throughout from a cold calls script/phrase log.
Picture the Target –
If possible, try and find an image of who you are phoning. It will make the call far easier mentally as it personalises the situation, reminding you that they are just another human being. For this, you can check the company on LinkedIn, Facebook, their own website or another personal database.
Heat up a ‘cold call’ –
Yes, cold calls involve no previous introduction but you can change that by sending a brochure with a polite message, informing of an incoming call. Then you have created an automatic follow-up opportunity which can make the introduction to the ‘cold call’ a far more comfortable and ‘warming’ experience.
How-to approach the cold call Itself
Phone Manner –
Use your initiative and go in with an approach which oozes confidence with a tone of voice which insinuates a friendliness. Meanwhile adopting a purposeful attitude and remaining professional at all times. If you can incorporate those factors then you will strike the perfect balance in pushing through a sale.
Do not burst in and overwhelm your contact. Ask questions, familiarise yourself with them and their requirements. Especially if your research was limited or came to a dead end.
Establish Understanding –
If you can meet common ground and establish an understanding with the person on the other end, it could be the start of an effective and prosperous relationship. Be Personal when you can be, but do not cross the line of formality.
How-to improve your results
Record and Log –
It is very important to keep a record of your calls and log your results and history. Create a simple code to notify which conversations went well and why. It will help you to develop your cold calling techniques and improve your cold calling script over time. Don’t allow yourself to continue making the same mistakes again and again – learn from them.
Experiment with cold call timing –
If you are having less success calling at a certain point in the day, then switch it up. Different times will be more appropriate for many and people will be more lenient.
Put yourself in the shoes of somebody in their job with their deadlines/meetings and schedule in mind. Think about when you would have the most time to receive a call. If so, ask your boss to re-arrange your hours accordingly. Especially when pitching for sales in alternative timezones.
Manipulate the Office Manager –
The office manager or receptionist is key to your continued access to potential sales and therefore if you can keep them on your side, smooze and create a relationship with them, you are going to have a far stronger chance of progressing in your sales venture.
Other ways to bypass the gatekeeper include leaving a voicemail to secure that your message reaches its target and another strategic maneuver would be to call at times which allows you to avoid the front-desk. Maybe when they are yet to arrive at work or are taking their lunch. This leaves a greater chance that a more senior figure will answer the phone and grant you direct access.
Get Behind your Product/Service –
You will find cold calling to be so much easier if you genuinely believe in what you are promoting. If you can create an emotional attachment to the company, brand and product, then it will come across far more genuine in your pitch and in your desire to succeed with the sale.