I have over 10 years experience in B2B sales, and every time I make the very bold statement that I love cold calling I receive looks of horror from my co-workers and clients, even my boss looks at me in disbelief.
In my experience I have found that for most people within sales and marketing, cold calling for them is like doing the dishes for me – they hate it!
In fact they hate it so much that many professionals will insist that cold calling doesn’t work.
However cold calling is a legitimate marketing and advertising tactic, and when used correctly it is one of the most effective ways to connect to your potential clients, generating new leads and revenue.
The key to effective cold calling is moving with the times. The reason so many sales people hate cold calling is that they have gotten stuck in time, it is no longer the 90’s and the ‘Boiler Room’ sales tactics – ABC (always be closing) no longer work.
When done right cold calling will not only work but will be an enjoyable and rewarding process.
Here are 8 tips to turn cold calls into warm leads:
1 – Research: If you want the best results to come from your time cold calling, stop blindly ringing everyone and anyone that is a business instead create a good list of clients that you have researched fully, what is trending in their business sector and tailor your proposal to fit your client – make it personal.
2 – Script: I hate using scripts they can make you sound robotic, but I always write one and I then practice it over and over, adapting it where necessary until it flows easily , then I hide it when I go on the phone and for want of a better word free style my proposal tailoring it to my individual clients. The reason I do this is because by practising the script over and over helps me to build confidence in my voice and work out my pitch and tone; there is nothing worse than stuttering and fumbling throughout a sales call. Practice, practice and practice some more.
3 – Pre-empt objections: When putting together your proposal, take the time to think about what the most likely objections you will receive and have your answers ready to overcome these. This tactic really helps me as being prepared in this way, eliminates the element of surprise and helps me stay on track with my sales call.
4 – Key Points: Make notes throughout your call with your prospects and gate keepers this is a great way to figure out what is important to them when deciding on proceeding with your product or service. I not only do this to help me overcome objections, I also use this to keep my calls personal, I can speak to up to 50 people a day and it can be overwhelming trying to remember everything but by making a note when creating an appointment or call back in my diary that my clients daughter is getting married at the weekend goes a long way, many may think it is irrelevant to the sale but it makes your clients feel valued. A happy client is a repeat client.
5 – Follow up: After all calls, follow up with an email confirming everything that was discussed, I recommend having a basic template for this with the key information about your company and offer ready whilst allowing you to change and personalise your confirmation for each individual client.
6 – Referrals: In some companies there can be several departments with several different decision makers and all with their own budgets, do not be afraid to ask for a referral, in my experience 3 out of 5 referrals lead to a sale. Referrals can also uncover hidden prospects you had not thought of previously when selecting your target audience.
7 – Professionally persistent: Always act professional when cold calling, if you agree to call back at a certain time do not miss that time slot, treat your call backs like you would appointments. Be nice to the gate keepers, they are a fountain of knowledge and can give you additional insight into the company and instrumental in you reaching the decision maker.
8 – Set a goal: When cold calling it is important to look at your past results, how many calls did you make before you spoke to a decision maker, and how many of those conversations lead to a sale? Once you know this information set yourself a goal and estimate how many cold calls you will need to make to reach that goal. I find cold calling more fun if I set myself a ‘power hour’ –one or two hours of the day that I set aside in my diary for just cold calling only – this helps me meet my cold call target that I have set myself and adds a fun element .
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