We often read that cold calling is dead, prospecting is out, and social selling is the modern way to close a deal.
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 remains 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 matter how great your products are if you can’t convey how your services will uniquely help each customer. Focus on the person you’re talking to, directly addressing the person by the first name and zeroing in on how you can help their business.
Put Them at Ease.
Instead of boasting about your products, learn the challenges of the person you’re talking to and their 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 … ”.
You have gained instant credibility by acknowledging that you have a solution that has helped others – but it may not be a right fit for them. As a result, you are also more believable, and you sound honest.
Don’t Ask, “Is This a Good Time?”
There is never a good time to be interrupted; don’t open the door to negativity by asking a question that likely has the answer “No.”
Instead, start a conversation 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 that 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.
However, good salespeople know 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 to engage on the other end of the line. 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 insight, and close by scheduling a follow-up call or face-to-face meeting.