Cold Calling Tips
Cold calling as a sales tactic still has its part to play in the sales process, but only if it is planned and executed properly. These cold calling tips will help your sales prospecting efforts so you can engage more people, more often.
If there is one aspect in selling that can cause sales reluctance, then it has to be cold calling. But it is part and parcel of reaching out to connect, engage and acquire new customers. Off course we all would prefer qualified inbound leads to sell to, however the reality is for a business to grow it needs a multi-effort approach to finding new customers.
- Understand Your Prospect.
Create an Ideal Customer Profile to understand what your prospects likely challenges and pain points. Also, you need to see the bigger picture in their industry and what trends could be shaping their buying decisions as it relates to what you are selling.
Today, cold calling really only works if it is part of a wider prospect engagement strategy, a dial and smile approach just will not work. Researching your prospect list against a profile is vital if you are to see success. Do not value your sales pitch above the investment you will need to make in the prospect at the end of phone. Understanding your prospects, their industry, news, market trends and your own product fit is a necessary activity before you begin cold calling. The better you do this, the higher the likelihood that the prospect will be more responsive to call. Ask yourself, what key pieces of information or insights will you share with them, to get them to listen to you?
- The Preparation.
The amount of preparation and planning for your cold calling activity will probably determine your level of success. Can you detail out the sales assets you will use? What other touch points or interactions with the prospect have you had prior to the call? What is your value proposition to this list of prospects? In the critical opening minutes, you need to be able to communicate your value proposition to the prospect clearly and confidently. Very few 100% cold calls result in any form of success. In your preparation you should plan out which other sales touch points (emails, social selling, LinkedIn etc) you will use as to increase your chances of having a real-time conversation.
- Know your Goals.
Remember that cold calling is more than just rattling off some prepared sales script. The purpose of any cold call has to be focused on getting the prospect to listen by sharing some useful information and then move on to a discussion about their challenges. One goal could be to identify a person’s role in the purchasing decision for the product you selling. Take the time to be clear about your goals and what outcomes you desire before you make those calls.
Cold Calling Tip: Connect and engage with users, gatekeepers and influencers at every company you target. It is rare today for 1 single person to make a purchasing decision.
- Put the prospects interests before your own.
If any salesperson approaches prospects with a blatantly obvious sales pitch, then they should expect a blatantly obvious response. The key to unlocking cold calling success begins and ends with the prospects best interests at heart. Adapt the mindset of a trusted adviser who will be a useful and valuable resource to the prospect, one who shares quality insights, is credible and knowledgeable. The priority is not about the product or service you sell but rather on the prospects needs, because if your mindset is on prioritising a prospect needs, you are now there to bring improvement to their roles and problems.
If you believe in what you sell and your personal value proposition to the prospect is genuine, then nothing will stop you.
- Your value proposition must be on target.
Does your value proposition bring clarity from the noise that surrounds your prospects working day? Are you clear on the value of your solution and how it will appeal to the prospects situation? What pain points or challenges are you addressing – will it save money, save time, improve productivity, reduce risk, speed up progress. Is your value proposition compelling enough for them to stay on the phone to learn more? Do you have statistics, case studies and industry knowledge to back your value proposition so you are seen as an expert or adviser? The reason you are calling them is that your research, planning and preparation have indicated that you have something to share which is worth their while listening. You are not there to waste their time or share useless information. Successful cold calling is based on that you know why you are calling and why they should listen.
Cold Calling Tip: Include social media listening for trigger events as part of your research and preparation.
- Look for trigger events.
The activity of selling in itself does not cause someone to buy. Many buying decisions are as a result of a trigger event which requires a challenge or pain point to be resolved. You can tap into these signals also known as trigger events by engaging in social media listening. As part of your daily sales habits, you should try to look for signals or triggers on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Alerts or News sites to keep tabs on recent happenings relating to your prospect list.
A list of trigger events to start a buyer’s journey include:
New senior hires. A new member of a company’s leadership team will invariable want to prove their value and make changes, so they are more open to new solutions. I’m not suggesting you go after this person but rather focus on your target prospect who could be a hero to the new boss by introducing new vendors.
Winning a large deal or customer wins. Could this open the door to an opportunity for your offerings. At the very least, reach out to the prospect to congratulate and see what impact this will have on their roles or business.
Company expansion. New hires, moving office, opening a new location or a geographical change is a trigger event that qualifies as an introduction opportunity.
Regulation or Industry Shift. Use social listening to keep abreast of any pending regulation changes or any industry trends that could shift a prospect from his or her status quo position. Educate yourself on these shifts to present yourself as an expert and trusted source of information.
Company Acquisitions or Mergers. If you already supply into a similar company or have a relationship with either party, this trigger event can be a great opportunity to get engage a prospect.
- Build Credibility.
Your credibility comes to the fore when a prospect asks themselves “why should I listen to this person?” Did your value proposition deliver for you? One of the main ways to achieve credibility in the eyes of a prospect is to use some social proof in your value proposition. The use of social proof has become important in any sales prospecting activity from social selling to exploratory emails because it shows your prospects how your product has helped other people with similar pain points. It has to be genuine, so share a success story or case study of a company you helped who had challenges similar to the ones you believe your prospect may have.
So, Yes. Cold Calling can work!!
However, there is an investment required in order to make cold calling and sales prospecting successful. It starts with making it part of your daily sales habit loop and like every positive habit, you must want to do it and also have reason to do it. The success of cold calling will emerge from the investment you make in researching, planning, preparing and then your willingness to call and call again is what differentiates success from failure.