A lot has been written lately about how cold calling is dead, prospecting is out and social selling is in.
Research shows, though, that cold calling is still viable. “Cold calling is second only to referrals as the number one lead generation tactic,” according to research by raintoday.com and Wellesley Hills Group.
So why isn’t it working for your sales team?
In our estimation, all successful lead-generation strategies stem from good targeting, research and planning. Thus, cold calling still remains as a promising lead-generation strategy – if and only if you’re using the right approach.
Follow these 5 tips below to get the results you’re looking for:
Have a Customer Focus.
It doesn’t really matter how great your products are if you can’t convey how your services will be of use to the customer. Keep the focus on the person you’re talking to, directly addressing the person by first name and zeroing in on how you can help his or her business.
Put Them at Ease.
Rather than spouting off a laundry list of what makes your products great, ease into conversation by working to understand the challenges of the person you’re talking to and his/her business.
Use phrases such as, “I don’t know all of your circumstances, but there is a chance we can help you … ” or “At this point, I don’t know enough about your business, but we’ve helped similar companies in your space with … ”.
By acknowledging that you have a solution that has helped others – but it may not be a right fit for them – you have gain instant credibility. You are also more believable, and you sound honest.
Don’t Ask “Is This a Good Time?”
No time is a good time to be interrupted; don’t open the door to negativity by asking a question that has the likely answer of “No.”
Instead, start a conversation off instead with something like, “I know you weren’t expecting my call, but I’m reaching out to you because I work with executives like you … ”.
Remember … Silence is Golden.
Once someone answers your call, it is natural to think you only have a few seconds before they say that now isn’t a good time or they are not interested. So what do we naturally do? We jump into “Spray and Pray” mode. We say as much as we can as fast as we can before they tell us they aren’t interested.
Good sales people know, however, that the best way to keep them on the phone is to have a conversation. The easiest way to do this is to pause. Pause early and force the person on the other end of the line to engage. It will feel awkward at first, but it removes tension and changes the dynamics from a monologue to a conversation.
Script only the opening of your call and practice, practice, practice.
If the opening isn’t effective, then change it up.
Don’t, however, try to script the entire call. Again, the goal is to have a conversation – ask a few credible questions, understand enough to add a insight and close by scheduling a follow-up call or face-to-face meeting.