- An essential thing that one should remember, in order to overcome the fear of cold call, is to stop thinking about it as “cold” call. Try to think about it as “introductory” call instead. All you are trying to do is to introduce your business to the prospect.
- As with any marketing method, you should never make an introductory call without a plan or, so called, pre-ritual. First thing first, always use a target list of prospects when making your calls. Create a list of companies or individuals who will be interested in your product /service and have benefit from it. Secondly, don’t call to the prospect without preparation. Always remember that every client is unique and has different requirements and needs. Thus, the more information you have, the better selling position you will receive. Do research on your client before every call at different websites such as LinkedIn, Prospects, etc. Thirdly, write a script. Create your own unique and quick cold call script that you can refer to during your talk. Don't use scripts which are made by others because you may make some mistakes (you never know if someone script is good, if it works or if it will be suitable for you or for your business) or it can give an unprofessional impression. Instead, try to search and read different scripts and then create a unique one with which you will feel confident and professional. The idea of a script is not to read it but to use it as a guide who helps you to deliver your message clearly and confidently. Remember that you sale script can be your best friend or worst enemy. While creating your personal script for cold calls, keep in mind that it should consist of the following points:
- Introduction which includes your name, the name of your company and opening general question (for example “hope your day is going well!)
- Connecting sentence. It's a very important stage where you make you prospect get interested in your product/service by using specific information about him/her which is known as a trigger event (we will talk about it in more details below).
- Qualifying. Show what the benefits of your service/product are and how it can help or solve the prospect's problem.
- Ask. Use all information which you have found out and try, by asking questions, gather additional information.
Fourth, keep your goal in mind. By setting goals, you increase motivation and decrease levels of anxiety and frustration.
Now let’s move straight to cold call. There are several stages here.
- Preparing a strong opening sentence. According to the studies, you have only near ten seconds to attract the attention of your possible client and to make a distinction from other callers. Therefore, after introducing yourself, focus on your prospect directly by using your research and personalizing your call.
- Speak slowly, clearly and with confidence. It’s very important to give some time space for a prospect to understand and, what is more important, to follow the idea. Engage the person immediately and let him/her know that you are going to be brief. By keeping a call brief, you prove prospect that you value his/her time and you earn respect.
- Start a dialogue, not presentation of yourself or your product/service. The fact is that people spend 60% of their time talking about themselves. This is a big mistake in a selling process because prospect will surely lose interest. Focusing on prospect's work will help you to get a double advantage: prospect will have possibility to talk about his/her work or problem and you can gain his/her attention in a unique way. In your initial call focus all your attention and question on the prospect. Only when you concentrate on talking to a client about his/her needs, you are selling professionally. Client-centered selling is always a professional selling.
- Don’t just talk, listen. It is the easiest way to build trust because it makes a person feel valued.
- Identify a core problem that you or your product/service can solve. You need to find out what exact benefits prospect will have from buying your service/product and what doubts can keep him/her back from a purchase. You should focus on the core benefits of what your product/service does and ensure that the core problem is understood and you have the answer of how to solve his/her problem.
How to get better at cold calling.
Here we have the answer for you with the following tactics.
- Be a helper and create trust. Building trust is your essential goal, not making a sale.
- Watch your tone of voice. It’s not what you ask, it’s how you deliver. Try to work on your tonality. You should practice your voice in order not to sound anxious, tired or arrogant. Always sound positive, enthusiastic, helpful and straight to the point because not only the information but even the tone of your voice can build trust. The more confident your voice sounds, the easier a cold call will be.
- Mind your language. Start your questions with “who”, “where”, “when” etc. This will give your prospect more space for a response. Besides, instead of using “speaking to” try to use “talking to” which means that your possible prospect will be engaged in the conversation and it will not be one-way action.
- Be attentive during your call. It is easy to lose attention during your cold call. Try to stay engaged, ask questions but keep to the topic, do not forget to take notes and remember your initial goal.
- Try to get to know a time that works best for your prospect. According to recent researches, afternoons during the working day are the best time to make cold calls.
- It is important for you to know when you potential prospect can enter the market in a search for new dealers. This will give you a chance to make them more interested in your service/product and to make a connecting sentence. This advantage in cold calls is known as a trigger event. You need to pay attention to the publically available information. The other way is to use the online services in order to obtain next information: 1. whether prospect has won recently a large contract. Therefore, you will have possibility to mention this during your opening stage and congratulate him/ her (thanks to this your possible client will feel more interested); 2. extension of the company which means that your prospect's business has or is going to have a new location and this can serve to be one of the reasons for upsell or a great opportunity for introduction; 3. Funding. Your prospect is more likely to buy your product/service if he/ she has gotten the opportunity where he/ she can afford to make some changes.
- Turn doubts into a booked meeting. Try to convince prospect to arrange a meeting with you instead of sending him/ her information by email. Even though it is really the easiest way just to email, you should be aware that your prospect might just ignore the emails and you can lose your possible client. Try to schedule a meeting, instead of asking “when can I meet you?” and ask if the appointed time is perfect for him/her. It will show your customer that you take the meeting seriously and it will be more difficult for him/ her not to accept it.
- Don't have temptation to sell on your first cold call. Pay attention to gathering as much information about your prospect during the call as possible. Stay focusing on building a friendly and trustful relationship and try to create an open-free atmosphere.
- Leaving a voicemail. In a case when your prospect doesn't pick up the phone, don't hug-up, just leave a message instead. First, say who is calling and insert your connecting sentence. In the end, leave a note which will increase curiosity of your possible prospect. Besides, you can also mention that you are going to call them back at another time. Thanks to this in a case he/ she doesn't return your call, you will have a chance to call again. One more thing about voicemail, don't try to sell during your voicemail, you will try to do this during a call or personal booked meeting.
- Think about gatekeepers not as obstacles but rather you helper. While calling to the company directly, you never know who can pick up the call. It can be anyone: either a secretary of your prospect or receptionist or guard. Thus, for succeeding in your call and getting a chance to talk to you possible client, you should keep following next steps: try to be polite, respectful and confident so that you can receive information you need. Don't forget to mention the reason of your call and why their boss can be interested in your information. In addition, if you get lucky, you may get to know the best time for making your next call or even receive your prospect's number.
- Be persistent. Studies have recently shown that more sales are made after the fifth call. Unfortunately, lots of salespeople give up after the second one. That is why you should be persistent and patient in order to improve your skills and become a better seller of your product.
- Try to keep all the essential things, which you may need during a call, on the table. It can be:
- telephone headset, to keep your hands free, your neck relaxed and to have possibility to use paper or other things easier;
- clock, to watch the time and to control the length of your call (most of the calls should last no more than 5 minutes);
- script (the importance of which we have already mentioned above);
- paper and pen, so you can take notes of names, dates and other detail. Don’t rely on your memory because there is always a chance that you can forget some important information;
- calendar for writing down an appointment or keep tracking your planned calls (when you need to call back or make a new call).
How to be the best cold caller.
For this you should keep in mind next essential things:
- Practice makes perfect. Make lots of cold calls. If you want to master something, you have to practice and improve yourself in order to get to mastery.
- Start recording your calls and then listen to them for analyzing your strong and weak points. They will be the greatest source for your improvement. Ask your colleagues and your supervisor to listen to your calls and mark your mistakes too.
- Before making a call try to keep yourself positive and don't forget to smile for a few minutes. It is proved psychologically that such technique can reduce your stress and lower your heart beat.
- It can be a great possibility to establish familiarity with your prospect and announce your future call in advance through appointing your call via email or sending the brochure of your company. In this email, introduce yourself and your company, use connecting sentence to make him/her interested and let your client know that you are going to call him at a certain time or you may ask about preferred time. Prospects that respond to your email and scheduled time should be prioritized. Besides, you may use email to send important or additional information after a call.
- Try to use social networks (one of the best one is LinkedIn) to establish a connection through someone your prospect may know. Prospects are more likely to arrange an appointment if you have been introduced by someone they trust and already know.
- Use CRM. Management of customer relationship is vital for further development of your business. Insert data after each successful conversation, therefore, you can track buyers trends and interaction history after some period of time. Besides, CRM can remind you about important calls or events which you have planned before. Keep using it for staying organized and to deliver your business forward. However, CRM is incomplete without integrated autodialer software. If you want to call to a large number of clients in a limited period of time and forget about manual dialing, then yous will definitely need to use a dialer. This software will automate dialing and significantly increase live connections
- Remember to take a break when you get tired because brief mental breaks keep you focused and decrease the level of stress.
- Believe in the product/service you sell and let your enthusiasm help you to be excellent.
- During your call, it is better to stand rather than to sit. Standing in a powerful position (spine straight, hands on hips) will increase your testosterone level (you will feel more confident) and decrease, at the same time, cortisol level (decrease stress).
- Try to understand your prospect's problem. By doing this you will not only make them feel understood but and also it will help to build a reliable relationship.
- Let rejection motivates you. Never be defeated. Always keep a positive attitude and continue learning from your mistakes. Remember that every mistake you have made is an opportunity to learn and do a better job in the future.
- Treat cold calls as a challenge. The more difficult they are for the beginners, the easier they become for the best sellers. So, your main aim is to become the best one.
Always reward yourself either for the result or for showing the excellent sales behavior. Remember that everything needs time and patience. No matter how many difficulties and obstacles you have to overcome, never give up, do your best and follow your goal. This, without doubt, will ultimately bring you top sales results.