When a person is being circled as a prospect, connecting through call is usually the first step in making a sale. This call is known as ‘cold calling’ and it is named as such because in the past, calls were made without any background knowledge of the prospect. There was no internet in the past to Google or CRM software to find lead information, making cold calls twice as tough.
Now, with quick access to internet and advanced technology, cold calling isn’t as stressful as it used to be. A lot more information is available to salespeople these days through social media and other sources.
Cold calls are a big hurdle for a lot of salespeople even today. That’s because calls are a lot more difficult to navigate than meetings held in person. When you call someone, there’s the risk of them disconnecting the call if they’re bored or busy. Body language cannot be read on a call and this is often a cause of concern for salespeople, who find it easier to talk face-to-face.
However, most meetings are setup through cold calling first, making them unavoidable for salespeople. Cold calls aren’t as scary as they sound. In fact. they are an opportunity for a salesperson to improve their power of persuasion. Because calls are purely oral and aural, and there’s no visual reference, salespeople can learn a lot about understanding a person’s mood and interest based on their tone and start picking up aural cues that could help improve their pitch.
With the help of a few pointers, a salesperson can ace sales like a pro. With that in mind, here are some ways to improve your cold calling technique.
1. Read and Do your Homework
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Market research and analysis is important to identify common pain points of your targeted prospects. Know about the company or individuals you are going to call in advance. Consequently, this will help you in formulating your pitch, keeping it around fulfilling requirements and meeting expectations of your prospects. Also, do the research on your competitors – Whom they are targeting and what pain points they are addressing. Keep yourself armed with all the information that your prospects would possibly need on call.
2. Keep the Sales Call Script Ready
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If you’re worried about accidental fumbles or nervous tics, prepare a sales call script which contains answers to questions that customers are likely to ask. This will help you in keeping a clear head and be ready with answers to possible objections laid out by prospects. In the sales script, lay out the benefits of your product and put forward the reasons to buy it. Often, during cold calling, you can forget an important point, and a sales script will ensure that you have all the information at the tip of your fingers.
A sales call script is also useful to tackle questions that are unconventional. If you aren’t prepared for an unexpected question, it may throw you off the game. Consequently, your cold calling technique will be affected if you can’t answer queries satisfactorily. Having a script that has almost every scenario covered will help you in answering any such unconventional question.
3. A Strong Introduction Can Make a Bigger Impact
First impressions matter. When you call a client, what you say in the first minute will set the tone of the conversation. As a result, you need to prepare a stellar introduction that can entice your
prospects and keep them invested in what you have to say. Create a strong introduction to grab your prospect’s attention. For example, say something like this:
Hi, this is ____ from (company name), can I pick your brain for a minute? Brilliant. The reason why I called was because I have something that will help your business be a lot better. Our product (insert name here) will help you generate a lot of revenue at a very negligible cost. Now, can we talk about this further, if you’re interested? I promise to make it worth your while.
It is important to give your prospects a strong reason for them to listen to your proposal. But, remember not to over-burden them with details at the time of introduction. Give your prospects as much information as required to hook them in.
4. Perfect your phone style
Sales calls can be just as nerve racking as face-to-face meetings. If you’re nervous before a call, do a few practice tests by yourself. Record yourself while rehearsing your pitch during cold calling to understand your strengths and weaknesses. You can also get your colleagues to help you out. You can bounce ideas off of them as well to make your sales pitch more convincing.
5. Watch Your Voice Tone
During cold calling, it is important to be calm, professional and alert. Do a few mouth-exercise and practice calls to keep your tone of voice warm, business-like and straightforward. Further, try to keep your voice tone curious and thought-provoking by starting it with a question or a come-to-the-point statement. Make sure, you don’t sound arrogant while trying to keep the enthusiasm alive.
6. Go for ’20 in 60’ method
The ’20 in 60’ refers to the rule of cold calling 20 customers in 60 minutes. That’s an average of 3 minutes per call. Try and wrap up each call within 3 minutes to get more calls out of the way. There’s no point in having long drawn out conversations with prospects. Stick to the point when you speak on a call with your prospects. Highlight what the product can do for your clients instead of stating long explanations about its features. This will also help you build a crisp and effective call pitch.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for More
Get into the frame of mind where you ask your customers what they want. Ask them about their requirements, the problems their business faces and the kind of solutions they are looking for. Having an earnest attitude to know your customer will help in establishing trust which will prompt them to be more open and discuss what they want. If they reject your proposal, ask them the reason and if there’s a benefit they seek to change their mind. Asking out of genuine curiosity will get you information and help in closing the deal.
Cold calling is a skill and much like any other skill, it needs practice and perseverance. The more you practice calls, the more you learn and improve. Not every call is guaranteed to be successful even after following all the rules above. But remember that perseverance and endearment are key to achieving bigger goals. Practice, persevere and ace your cold calling skills!