Cold calling can be an effective tool for salespeople to generate leads and close deals. After all, speaking directly with your prospective customers is the best way to address their concerns, understand their needs, and tailor your service offerings specifically.
But many sales reps may find the prospect of cold calling daunting and overwhelming. From junior team members to even a seasoned sales professional, starting a conversation with a complete stranger can be nerve-wracking and may require a lot of preparation.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best strategies salespeople can use to effectively start a cold call and increase their chances of success.
Pick the Best Time of Day
Before you even place a call, it’s a good idea to consider the best time of day to reach out to your leads. After all, an ill-timed call can make the difference between an angry customer and a closed sale.
According to research shared by Indeed, the best times of day to call your potential customers are between:
- 11:00 AM – noon
- 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
During these times, prospects are more likely to be available and receptive to calls as they are just starting or just ending their workday.
Be sure to consider the timezone in which your prospective customer is located. After all, their 11:00 and your 11:00 might not be one in the same.
Consider which day of the week will be likeliest to yield the best results. Mondays and Tuesdays are often a time when employees are meeting-bound or planning their week. Similarly, Fridays are full of potential distractions.
Instead, consider Wednesdays and Thursdays for your sales call. The middle of the week is when employees are most available and receptive to a sales pitch or conversation.
Make a Plan
It’s important to have as much information at your disposal before the call begins. This will ensure you don’t become tripped up if the conversation goes in a different direction than you had hoped.
Consider these steps to ensure both you and your pitch are prepped and perfected:
1. Research your prospect
Before you make the call, research your prospect and their company. Look for information on their website, social media profiles, and any recent news like product launches or partnerships. This will help you understand their needs, pain points, and challenges and tailor your pitch accordingly.
2. Ensure you have the right phone number
There is nothing worse than placing a sales call and asking for John Doe only to have Jane Smith wonder why you have called her.
3. Define your objective
Determine what you want to achieve from the call. Are you looking to set up a meeting, sell a product, or identify the best contact within their organization? By defining your objective you can stay on track during the sales script that you’ll develop in step 3.
4. Prepare a script
While you don't want to sound robotic, it's important to have a cold calling script or an outline prepared to guide the conversation. Your script should include an introduction, a value proposition, and a call to action and should serve as a guide for your conversation. But whatever you do, do not read it to your prospect verbatim, as this is a surefire way to lose them.
5. Practice your delivery
Practicing your pitch before you make the call allows you to perfect your tone, pace, and volume and edit out the elements that don’t work. It also allows you to build in moments for the customer to ask questions, and more. Ultimately, you want your pitch to be confident, friendly, and engaging.
Make the Call
Once you've done your research, defined your objective, prepared your script, and practiced your delivery, it's time to make the call.
When starting a conversation on a cold call, it's important to grab the prospect's attention and build rapport quickly through effective cold calling opening lines. As soon as your prospect picks up, greet them (using their properly pronounced name to show you’ve done your research) and pivot into your opener.
Remember to “smile with your voice” as you introduce yourself and ask them if this is a good time to talk. This last part is key to show your prospect that you respect their time and that you’re not trying to force a conversation.
Make the Pivot
If they agree to continue and are indeed the decision maker you are hoping to talk to, now is the time to begin your pitch. While there’s no perfect way to conduct your sales call, salespeople get into the flow of the conversation easily with the right methods. This could include:
- Asking a question. – Questions can help show that you're interested in the prospect's challenges and that you might be a good fit for their needs. Make sure the question is open-ended and leads to a deeper discussion.
- Sharing a mutual connection. – If you share a mutual connection with the prospect, mention them by name at the beginning of the call. This can help you build rapport quickly, increase your trustworthiness, and even lend a casual air to your conversation.
- Providing a value proposition. – Start the conversation by sharing a brief value proposition that highlights the benefits of your company’s product or service. Make sure it's relevant to the prospect's needs and challenges.
- Using humor. – This can help break the ice and put your prospect at ease. Humor can also show that you are self aware and not apathetic to the customer’s point-of-view. Keep in mind, though, humor should be appropriate and not detract from the purpose of your call.
Hook, Line, and Sinker
If your opener has worked, your customer will likely show it by reacting to something you’ve said, asking questions, or even just laughing. This is the indication that it’s time to move into the actionable part of your pitch.
While some pitches are quick and others require more nuanced, back-and-forth conversation, all successful cold calls should follow the same overarching goals. Here are the top considerations to keep your conversation focused, engaging, concise, and actionable:
- Establish credibility throughout – Share a brief statement about your experience, your understanding of their industry or product, or your company's track record to quickly build trust. After all, the more relevant you can seem to their operations, the more likely they will be to continue the conversation.
- Build rapport – Throughout the call, focus on building a relationship with the prospect. Ask questions, listen attentively, and show empathy. The more you can connect with the prospect, the more likely they are to trust you and continue the conversation.
- Lay out clear next steps – Finally, it's important to end the call on a positive note. Recap the key points of the conversation, reiterate your value proposition, and follow up with a next step. This could include setting up a meeting or sending more information to their email address or office.
For any sales company or entrepreneur wanting to learn how to start a cold calling business, cold calling can be a valuable sales tool if done correctly. Starting a cold call may seem daunting at first, but with the right approach, it can be a successful way to generate leads and close deals.
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