Businesses need a way to generate leads, and cold calling is a simple way to do so. Sales representatives start with a list of potential customers without prior contact with the company and dial numbers hoping for a receptive answer. The success rate is relatively low (2%), but you can improve your chances with some know-how.
Cold Calling Mistakes
Now that you've learned the answer to "What is cold calling?", it's time to talk about the most common mistakes. Most consumers dislike this form of outreach, as it's technically telemarketing. That means you're already starting on the wrong foot; customers answering a telemarketing call can sound irritated, dismissive, and even angry. It's your job to push through the negative perception and convince the customer you're worth listening to.
Sound hesitant is one of the worst things you can do in this situation. It's understandable if you're new to the job or facing an angry customer, but you need a confident voice anyway. Confidence shows you believe in what you're selling, which may make the person on the other end of the line reconsider.
Another common mistake is not confirming that the person you're speaking with is the household decision-maker. If you don't clear immediately, you may waste time convincing someone who can't purchase from you.
Cold Calling Tips for Success
In this situation, a script is your best friend. Many companies provide a script, but you can find one online or make your own if yours doesn't. To create your script, write down an outline of all the points you want to cover. Don't adhere to this script too rigidly — you should remain flexible to avoid sounding too sales-y. Instead, refer to your outline whenever you need to redirect the conversation back to the purpose of the call.
Be bold and practice your script before you hit the phone. This is especially important with your greeting, as you want to avoid stumbling or sounding unprofessional. You won't need to warm up beforehand as you get more familiar with the outline.
Next, focus on starting a real conversation. Getting the customer to engage is one of the best things you can do in sales. That means asking questions right out of the gate — specifically open-ended questions. Avoid yes-or-no questions and ask something broad, such as "How does that sound?" The listener will have to internalize the information you've provided and connect with you as a person, two things that boost your chance of closing.
Useful Techniques & Tools for Cold Calling
The right tools can make your job much easier. For example, you can track communications with customer relationship management software. Recording information about your calls helps others reach out later, increasing the chance of a sale.
Scheduling platforms are another great tool, as they make it easy to schedule a call back if the customer shows interest but doesn't have the time to talk. These platforms offer your availability and colleagues, ensuring someone can call the customer at their preferred time.
Things To Consider
If your company sells to other businesses, you can research the person you're calling. Do an internet search to learn about potential customers, the companies they work for, and their roles there. This information can help you build rapport and personalize your sales pitch. Even if you don't make a sale, you can start a lead-generating relationship that will pay off later.
It takes optimism and nerves of steel to make it in cold call sales. Taking the initiative and incorporating the above tips can lay the foundation for a successful career.