Making that first contact with prospects can be unnerving for sales reps. Especially with the responsibility of hitting high sales targets sitting on their shoulders. Our cold calling tips will arm you with the necessary skills and attitude to master this elusive skill.
Ask any sales rep about cold calling, and one of the first things that’ll come to their mind is probably ‘cold feet’. But, you wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to get your foot in the door and turn prospects into customers.
Cold calling is an art that reps can master with the right set of techniques. In this blog, we’ll introduce you to some tried and tested cold calling tips and tricks, so you can always build a good impression right from the get go.
What is Cold Calling?
Cold calling is that part of the sales process where sales reps connect with prospects for the very first time. Cold calling means sales reps initiate contact with prospects who don’t have any prior knowledge of the product or service they pitch. It can also be when sales reps connect with prospects when they’re not expecting your call.
Pitching to someone who has never seen or heard of your product before can turn out to be quite a challenge. With vital time and efforts at stake, cold calling shouldn’t be a luck of draws.
You wouldn’t want to blow your chance of earning a new deal because of cold calling jitters or due to lack of prep.
Or perhaps, you’re concerned whether cold calling is even relevant in today’s times? Well, we’ll put your queries to rest in just a bit.
Does Cold Calling Still Work?
In an ever-evolving digital world, cold calling probably sounds like a thing of the past.
Many people are of the belief that cold calling is dead. However, cold calls are still an essential part of a sales person’s arsenal. It is also one of the most affordable ways to drive sales and a way to get instant feedback from the prospect, hence its here to stay.
In fact, not only small companies but many big businesses also continue to rely on cold calling to drive sales.
Cold calling is here to stay. But what does need to change is the way sales reps are making cold calls. If sales reps are spending hours dialing and pitching to prospects only to get an abysmally low win rate, the whole effort turns out to be futile.
The right set of cold calling tips and tricks can help you turn the tables in your favor. So, let’s dive straight in.
9 Tips to Master Cold Calling
Cold calling will always be a game of hit and trial until you apply some smart moves to get real results out of your efforts. We’ve compiled a list of tried and tested cold calling tips that our sales reps have been following:
- Conquer Fear of Failure
The cold truth is that cold calling comes with its share of objections and rejections. If you’re approaching cold calling with the belief that you’ll have to crack every deal, you’ll be in for a rude shock.
Quick tip #1: Set up an online forum internally, dedicated to discussing sales objections and rejections. The idea is to remove the embarrassment that comes with getting ‘no’s from prospects.
When prospects share their respective accounts of rejections, not only does it become easier to overcome fear of objections. But, there’s also a lot that you can learn from your peers on the kind of objections they encounter and how to handle them.
Quick tip #2: As the saying goes, practice makes the man perfect. So, if you want to get past your fear of objection, practicing ahead will be very helpful.
One of the best ways to practice is using a sales readiness platform like Dialworks that can connect you to customers just like yours. With real humans similar to your target audience giving you feedback, you can drastically shorten your ramp up time.
- Learn From Your Calls
Your calls are your best source of learning. While it is good to do your research, read about what others are saying about their cold calling experience, nothing really beats your own experience.
Once you’ve been there and done that, repetitively and consistently, you’ll be much more confident. Since first impressions matter a lot in cold calling, making your pitch confidently can make a whole lot of difference.
Quick tip: Dialworks gives you all the call insights you need from your customers after each training call. You can get insights on where you need to improve and start a training session to improve on those specific parameters. Since the person giving you the feedback is a customer, it eliminates the bias and helps you get better with every training call.
- Don’t Start with the Sell
This is one of the most important cold calling sales tips that reps tend to overlook. Don’t jump at your prospects with your pitch right as they answer your call.
Pitching prematurely can backfire badly, and turn prospects away. Instead of attempting to sell right at the outset, first try to understand what your prospects are looking for. Build a rapport with them and then make an offer that they shouldn’t ideally be able to refuse.
Quick tip #1: Do thorough research and study your prospects ahead of the cold calling process.
This is also when you should identify any potential gaps that you can address for your prospects. You need to show your prospects that your product can help solve their problems.
Quick tip #2: Think of a common ground. Are you in the same industry or the same profession? Perhaps you have a common connection.
This is a great way to kickstart a conversation with your prospect. Once you’ve got the prospect engaged, making that pitch becomes a cakewalk. As, by this point, you would have built trust with your prospects.
- Be Prepared with Rebuttals to Objections
Sales objections are a major source of anxiety for reps. If you don’t want rejections to catch you off guard, a good strategy is to plan your response ahead.
Put yourself in the shoes of your prospects and anticipate different objections that may arise. Carefully prepare responses to each of these objections.
Quick tip: Get a pulse on the common objections that salespeople tend to come across. Conduct a thorough research on the objections that sales reps typically encounter in your space.
You can also join sales communities like SalesHacker and learn directly from professionals in the field. Speaking to colleagues and senior sales reps will also help you prepare well for handling objections.
- Adapt and Overcome
The trick to cold calling effectively lies in preparation. There are cold calling scripts for every situation. If you tend to feel stuck or nervous during the calls, a cold calling script definitely comes in handy.
But, here’s the thing- you don’t want to cram the script and then sound like a robot on the call.
Likewise, when you are preparing for rebuttals to objections, don’t just memorize them like a robot. Here are a few quick tips on what you should do, instead.
Quick tip #1: Go with the flow of the conversation and adapt accordingly. No two prospects are identical. Each conversation will demand a different approach.
So, just scripts and objection-rebuttals are not going to suffice. What you’ll also need is a strong presence of mind to maneuver conversations smartly.
Quick tip #2: Asking open-ended questions always helps, so that you’re not the one talking all the time. At the same time, you get to understand your prospects’ mindset which makes building a relationship with them a lot easier.
- Use Auto Dialer
Agents spend 35-40 seconds on dialing every number manually. This means they are spending 11-12 minutes for every 20 customers they dial. That’s an ample amount of time and energy wasted.
Cold calling asks for agents to be their energetic and confident best when speaking to prospects. Manual tasks like dialing tend to wear the agents out and renders them less productive.
This is where tools like auto dialer comes to the rescue. It automates the dialing process for you and saves agents’ time and efforts. Cold calling with the auto dialer allows agents to become 3-4 times more productive.
Quick tip: Look out for the automatic voicemail drop feature when purchasing auto dialer software. It automatically sends pre-recorded voicemail messages whenever it detects an answering machine or a voicemail box.
Agents can jump onto the next call without having to record a fresh voicemail each time. This allows agents to make more calls per day.
Quick tip #2: Does the auto dialer software also offer predictive dialing functionality? Predictive dialer is an advanced feature that dials multiple contacts at the same time. It then connects you to the contact that answered first.
The predictive dialer does all the multi-tasking, while agents can focus on talking to prospects.
- Get your Reps Sales-Ready
A well-trained sales force can easily tackle objections and generate increased win rates. Now, consider the flipside. Sending out unprepared agents to handle cold calls is a futile effort.
Typically, practical sales training involves role-playing with fellow reps or shadowing senior sales reps. But, these tactics are hardly impactful.
Quick tip: Invest in a sales-readiness platform like DialWorks which equips sales agents with the skills and readiness needed for cold calling. It connects your agents with an audience identical to your customers so they get a taste of real cold calls.
With a sales-readiness platform, you get detailed pitch breakdown and feedback on reps’ cold calls. So, sales reps get better with each cold call and ramp up faster.
- Follow-up and Ask the Right Questions
No matter how the call went, follow up. This is one of the best cold calling tips that salespeople often tend to overlook.
Converting a warm lead is way easier than converting a cold one. A follow-up call or email, depending on the call outcome, will bring the lead closer to converting.
Quick tip #1: Take cues from your last call to build up on the ask. If you took notes during the first call, you’ll know where to take it from. You’ll have a better idea as to what questions you should ask on the next call.
Quick tip #2: Make sure to send a follow-up email within 24 hours of the call. This works as a relevant reminder as the conversation is still fresh in the mind of your prospect.
Don’t forget to add relevant calls to action in your email.
- Track Agents’ Performance
Figure out which metrics and KPIs matter you need to track for assessing agents’ performance. But, when it comes to cold calling, don’t just focus on the numbers. A qualitative analysis is equally necessary to make sense of your performance.
Quick tip #1: You’d want to look into all the analytics and numbers behind the cold calls. Use a sales readiness platform equipped with an analytics dashboard. A centralized analytics dashboard will make performance tracking an easy task for managers.
Quick tip #2: Tap into conversation intelligence to grasp the bigger picture. A conversation intelligence platform such as JustCall IQ makes sales coaching and feedback much more objective. This helps you in crafting a winning pitch.
Wrap up on Cold Calling : The Next Steps
Once you start following these tips, you’ll be better prepared to make that pitch and turn that prospect into a customer. And now that you’ve gone through all the right steps to master cold calling, it’s time to put all the learning to practice.
Perhaps, a good first step would be to set your team up for some training sessions to gauge their preparation. Alternatively, you may want to do a quick health check of your sales team.
In any case, revamping your cold calling strategy will help you identify potential strengths and weaknesses and equip you for a better performance.
Looking for more guidance on how to ace cold calling? Book a free consultation with our team of experts!