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Don’t Freeze on the Phone - Mastering Cold Calls

In 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect.
Today it takes 8 attempts, FACT.
 
Cold calling is not dead or dying, in fact it’s very much alive and kicking. It’s an important strategy utilised by sales management in today’s high growth companies. Unfortunately, few salespeople have the right technique or have formulated a solid plan to come out the other side with success.
 
Now before you click away or open a new tab let me offer you the chance to read 8 techniques for cold calling success. All you have to do is scroll!
 
  1. First and foremost, make it a non-cold call – make it a warm call. Establish a reason to be calling. Try:Sending an introductory email, letter or postcard or asking someone to refer you. Linking to them on a networking website like LinkedIn.
  2. Research them. Know something about their company, their clients, their industry, their suppliers, their employees. This information is your hook. I once sent an email stating I had heard rumours about a buyout, and could we meet for coffee? They replied immediately with a “Yes.”
  3. Invite people to answer the phone.The fastest way to ensure that your prospects will not meet with you is to invite them to attend a sales call or meeting. Who wakes up in the morning, hops in the shower and imagines how great their day will be if they get cold-called by some salesperson they have never met, to attend a sales meeting about a product on which they have no prior knowledge?
  4. Think about what information you could bring with you to the table to assist the person in their role. Something about the industry, something relevant to their professional status, something about their company elsewhere, some recent data, etc. Properly structured, the analyst briefing becomes the perfect venue for deeply qualifying the target, and converting the target to a sales cycle if qualified.
  5. Properly manage objections.Research shows that most salespeople cannot adequately respond to basic objections, let alone complex objections. The root problem is that most do not understand how to interpret correctly objections that are presented by their target contacts in the context of cold calling.
  6. When cold calling, it is imperative that you DO NOT interpret objections literally.When your target buyer says, “I don’t have time right now…”  or “Call me after the holidays…”  or “We don’t have the budget..” or “Can you send me an email…”  he/she does not mean those words literally.  What the target is actually saying is simply, “You haven’t proven that there is value for me to invest time meeting with you.”
  7. Get rid of the ‘Easy-Outs’!Most salespeople are inadvertently making it easy for their target to say instantly "No!". When a seller starts a call, they open with an 'Easy-Out' statement such as: Is now a good time? Do you have a minute? Do you some free time to talk? You can understand how the call could start and end there with these statements.
  8. Do not ask "Yes" or "No" questions. Instead, try: "When are your best days, morning and afternoon, I am around your way next..." thus, opening instead of closes the conversation.
  9. Make the most of your product-benefit statements.In the context of cold calling, product-benefit statements just do not work. Deeply embedded in today's culture is a resistance to sales. We are so aware of our surroundings we tend to push-back rather than listen. Product benefit statements, as an introductory message, won't cut it and will leave the target most likely bored and annoyed. This approach shows a lack of effort and creativity. The only answer is to incorporate a language of persuasion, built around appealing to your targets about their core values, not yours.  You must understand their perspective first. Therefore, you need to get into an asking mentality straight away. We call this the 'hook' question.
  10. Call on the right day at the right time. Research shows that Thursday morning is the best time to cold call. Dinner time and early morning traditionally won't evoke the best response.
  11. Call expecting to get their voice mail and have an intelligent message. Not everyone is going to answer, so be ready. Try: So and so suggested I call you, I heard…, Did you hear about this customer?, I heard this company (competitor) is doing…Again research will allow you to provide the right information.
Practise, practise, practise! It's the only way to perfect your technique and not let the target on the other end go cold.
 

SUMMARY:

  • Make it a non-cold call
  • Research the caller
  • Provide information that is relevant
  • Manage objections
  • Eliminate the easy-outs!
  • Use your product-benefit statement properly
  • Call on the right day at the right time
  • Prepare an intelligent voicemail message in case you get an answering machine
 
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