Does cold calling still work? It does with these 8 rules.
Cold calling is hard, and it can be demoralizing. But it’s far from dead.
Even if your company gets a lot of inbound business, chances are you’re missing out on a lot if you’re not actively contacting potential customers. Cold calls are still a big part of B2B sales process and it really works, but only when done right.
That’s why we put together 8 tips for sales reps to make cold calling easier.
1. Research before calling
The key to a successful sales call is reaching the right person. The only way to have a meaningful conversation is to talk to someone who both understands what you’re talking about and is a decision maker in their organization. So, do the research. Find out who that person is in your target organization and find some information about their business so that you’ll be able to talk about their interests and needs. Calling the wrong person is a waste of time, unless they can direct you to the right one. Cold calling without knowing anything about the business you’re contacting is also a waste of time, since you won’t have anything of substance to talk about. Still, don’t overdo it with the research. Your time is precious, and you shouldn’t put too much time into a single call.
Different technologies developed in the past few years can help you in lead generation and to automatically identify the right person, making your cold calling work easier. For example, here at Salesframe, we are currently using LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Vainu.
2. Don’t start pitching immediately
When people answer the phone, they’re not necessarily at a good spot. Maybe you caught them off guard or maybe they were really focused on something else when you called. It’s better to start with a calm opener: greeting, who you are, where you’re calling from. Wait for the client’s response. When they respond, you know you have their attention and they’re listening to you. This way they might actually remember what you’re about to say.
3. Explain your value in about 15 seconds
Make the conversation interesting and relevant for the client. You need to be brief here and convince the client that they should keep listening.
Introduce the topic
Make it relevant with a reference
Explain the value proposition you’re providing
Transition to a conversation with a question
4. Ask and listen
You’re calling the client to help them. Only if you listen and learn about their situation can you find out what they need or what you can sell them. Typically, the more time you spend conversing and especially listening, the better you will understand the client and what value you can offer them.
5. Help the client & maintain quality
A good cold call doesn’t always mean the sales rep has to book a meeting. Finding out whether there’s something you can do for them is a service to both you and your client. In the end, you’re helping the client with their business. If you can’t do that, then it’s better as a sales rep to be fair and open about it. Identify if there’s an opportunity you both want to spend time on. If you’re going to meet the client, you’re investing hours of your own time in it too. By identifying the quality of the opportunity in advance, you can avoid unproductive meetings and use your time on other prospects.
6. Be yourself
Everybody’s different. You might have good chemistry with someone, and not so much with someone else. Stay polite and professional but try to always be comfortable and always be yourself. You’ll sound much more natural over the phone when you’re not pretending.
Smile as you speak, people can hear the difference.
7. Call after 4 PM
The best time to reach people is late in the day, when decision makers aren’t so occupied with meetings. Also, they’re usually in a better mood when they’re about to head home. So, if you want to maximize the number of calls answered, schedule your calling efforts after 4 PM.
8. Don’t mind the rejections
Getting rejected is natural for all sales reps in general and cold calling in particular. You shouldn’t worry about it. There will be better days and days when you have no success. Just keep working systematically to maintain the size and quality of your sales pipeline - it’s a numbers game! Also, it helps to do some self-assessment and share insights with colleagues. That way you have a chance to learn about best practices and how to improve your daily work.
So, pick up that phone.
In the past decade, the market has provided us with quite an enormous supply of technologies, AI, automation, inbound marketing tools and so on, helping companies optimize the sales process. It’s clear that these new technologies are providing value, but if you ask an average company about what the share of inbound cases is from all their sales opportunities, they’re likely to say it’s not that much.
Cold calling isn’t going anywhere, at least not yet. So, pick up that phone.
Once you get that second call or first meeting, Salesframe can help you win them over with all your materials in one place and presented in style. Or why not create a presentation with these cold calling tips and distribute it to your sales team, so they’ll always have it handy.
Henri Piipponen, Sales & Marketing Director
+358 50 650 0051