A lot may have changed in how businesses go about sales and marketing with the ever-increasing digital marketing methods. But, cold calling is still a key component in a business’s marketing strategy. Even so, every sales representative will tell you that it isn’t for the faint-hearted. It can be quite challenging, with one of the most significant drawbacks being constant rejection.
However, it’s also an effective way to generate leads, establish customer relations, and boost your sales. It can be a rewarding sales practice when you have good strategies in place and are aware of the cold calling best practices. You also need a sound system in place, including tools, like the Call Cowboy predictive dialer or those of other reputable brands, to make your work easier.
But, this isn’t all you need to do. There are many other ways you can make cold calling productive and effective. This article shares eight ways to make cold calling a successful sales practice in your small business.
What Is Cold Calling?
This is a marketing technique where you identify and contact prospective customers you haven’t previously interacted with. While cold calling is traditionally regarded as when you initiate contact with these prospects through phone calls, it also applies to other contact methods. Many businesses today use emails, text messaging, or social media, or make in-person visits to prospects.
In addition to the many cold calling methods today, technology has also made the calling process more manageable with software and tools. The phone systems also do more, allowing you to record and send voicemails to your prospects. Phone platforms like Unlimited Ringless Voicemail are effective in helping in that sphere. This makes it easier to make the first contact by removing all the awkwardness of talking to people you don’t know.
Ways To Make Cold Calling Work For Your Small Business
One of the good things about cold calling is it allows you to go directly to your prospects and make customers out of them instead of waiting for them to come to you. If you and your sales representatives master the art of cold calling, it can help grow your customers.
Here’s how to go about making it work for your small business.
1) Establish A Cold Calling Process
Businesses have different cold calling goals and, therefore, strategies and processes. That makes it crucial for you and your team to establish and understand your particular process. This will allow you to make more productive calls in line with your business and marketing goals and objectives. At the same time, it’ll help you make contact with the most suitable prospects, helping you generate better leads.
To get started, you need to establish a process for you to follow by considering the following areas:
- Decide on the approach: In cold calling, you’re doing more than trying to reach as many people as possible or prospects’ key decision-makers. You have to know what you want to achieve with each call you make.
- Your target market: Research and identify your target market, and what you’re pitching. Different markets differ in their preferences for products or services, so you need to be sure that your offerings will work for the people you want it to. This helps boost the chances of making successful calls and booking more qualified appointments with prospects.
- Understand your tools: Understand what you’re working with and how to best utilize it. Fortunately, technology has made it easier to streamline communications and identify the best leads to prioritize.
- Stay up to date with cold calling trends: The marketing industry keeps evolving, and what works this year may not be helpful to you next year. Ensure you continuously research and know the cold calling trends to ensure you stay on track and boost your chances of success.
Having a specific process to follow makes you more likely to reach and get more qualified leads, saving you time and resources.
2) Show How You Can Benefit The Prospect
When researching your target audience, do it in a way that gives you clues about ways your offering can improve the life or business of your prospect. However, ensure your call gives you additional insight into the prospect’s needs and wants. Every prospect has something that’ll trigger their desire to engage more or make a purchase.
Basically, the primary purpose of a cold call is to qualify a prospect. You do this by finding out what benefits you offer that can trigger the buying desire. While doing this, ensure you also find out the fears and doubts that might be holding them back from making that purchase decision.
Keep the focus of your cold call on the prospect and not on you. Your objective should be to gather as much qualifying information as possible and not make a sale. Show genuine interest in their challenges and how you can help them with finding a suitable solution.
3) Prioritize Developing A Relationship Over Sales
One of the essential purposes of a cold call that you might overlook is focusing on listening and learning about a prospect. You might get carried away trying to share as much information as possible and forget to pick on the information you don’t have about the prospect. It’s important to remember that marketing isn’t only about making sales, but also about building strong relationships.
Above everything, keep the mentality of establishing long-lasting relationships with your prospects and future customers. When you actively listen to your prospects, you can evaluate their needs better and provide the value they need from your offering. When you share the best ways to meet the prospects’ needs rather than using a generic approach, it helps build trust and confidence in your business to meet their current and future needs.
Cold calling works best if you prioritize quality over quantity. For example, if you make numerous calls in a day without a single qualified lead, appointment, or sale, your efforts almost amount to nothing. But, if you’re able to make fewer quality calls and fill your appointment calendar with meetings or follow-up calls, you’re on your way to making successful sales through cold calling.
The point is to focus on the prospect, their needs, wants, and interests, and work your way around how to meet them effectively with your offering. Give your best value, and the prospects will reciprocate by buying into your offering and making repeat customers.
4) Deal With Rejection Objectively
No matter how good your process is, how well your sales team prepares for the calls, or how excellent the call execution is, you can’t close successfully with all your prospects. Rejections are part of the selling process, and are sometimes necessary to help you learn and improve your pitching technique and approach.
However, you can also overcome rejections by being prepared with answers for every potential question a prospective customer may ask. Do your research on possible questions that may arise when you present your offer to a prospect. For example, a prospect who says they can’t afford to buy into your offer—assure them that you’re not looking for a signup right away. Find out when they review the budget, and if your offer would be something they’re willing to consider.
This will help you navigate the rejections more objectively and learn more about a prospect. Having answers ready will also help you remain calm without displaying any anger or frustration with a prospect’s negative response. Showing professionalism amid rejection is an excellent way to keep the doors open with the prospect for future interactions.
5) Avoid Reading Directly From Your Script
A cold call works best when you know what you want to say to the prospect in advance. That means creating a script for your call. And, while a script can come in really handy in ensuring that you have your points organized and keeping you from forgetting important details, you should avoid reading it word for word. A cold call needs to be interactive and not sound impersonal and robotic.
If the latter happens, your prospect might notice it from your tone and flow of speech. This is the fastest way to lose a prospect. You must avoid making your pitch sound scripted at all costs. In days when customers are used to getting personalized experiences and numerous options around them to provide those, you can’t afford to have your pitch sound generic.
A personalized call shows your prospect that you took your time to learn about their challenges and are willing to offer a specific solution to their needs. This all leads to the importance of researching a target and understanding the best way your offering can offer them value. The rule of thumb in sales and marketing is that your approach should be personal to help you build a connection you can rely on to build a relationship.
In using your sales script verbatim, you risk losing a quality lead, sale, or long-term customer. Reading your pitch from a script will make calls less engaging, dull, and lifeless, which are things you don’t want to portray to your potential customers.
6) Ask Open-Ended Questions
There are two ways you can frame your questions; either closed or open-ended. When you ask questions where your prospect only needs to answer yes or no, you close the chances of making a conversation. That’s why they’re referred to as closed questions. Asking too many questions like these will make you sound forceful or interrogative, and the prospect will likely lose interest in whatever you have to say.
That’s why you should frame your questions to be open-ended. These questions create room to build a conversation and motivate prospects to speak about their needs. Examples of open-ended questions to ask include the following:
- Problem questions: These are the kind of questions wherein you ask prospective customers about their challenges, priorities, and what they think would be the ideal solutions. Get to know about the pain points a prospect is facing and the challenges they’re trying to solve.
- Solution questions: Ask questions that’ll help you build a solution explicitly for your prospect’s kind of problem. Seek to know what the prospect would consider an ideal solution or the qualities they’re looking for in a solutions provider.
- Probing questions: These are direct questions you can ask while trying to collect more information and make the prospect generally open up and keep the conversation going.
- Process questions: when you ask process questions, you can understand the steps you’ll need to take in setting up a meeting or an appointment. This includes asking who the prospect needs to talk to before making the final decision or the additional information they may need to help them decide.
7) Don’t Overwhelm Your Prospect
It’s the first interaction with someone you’re trying to know. Keep it to the basics. This means you don’t have to offload everything about why you’re calling the prospect, only the essential details. That way, if the prospect wants to learn more, you can always offer to send additional material, or schedule a follow up call or an in-person appointment.
However, if you divulge too much information, it can get overwhelming and confusing for the prospect to pick the crucial details. Keep the call brief but highly relevant to intrigue the prospect enough to want to know more.
8) Be Persistent And Consistent
Not all your prospects will pick your call on your first attempt. Be prepared to make calls to the same person several times before giving up. Typically, it takes quite a few calling attempts before finally being able to talk to a prospect. You need to develop a patient and professional attitude towards cold calling and keep at it if you want to perfect your techniques and generate better leads.
Cold calling is a difficult way to initiate contact with prospective customers, generate leads, and boost sales. But, it’s one of the best ways to build long-lasting relationships with customers from the ground up. It can be difficult initially, but practicing your pitches, establishing a good process, or keeping quality over quantity can help you make cold calling work in your small business. Hopefully, this article has given you some insights into what you can apply in your cold calling strategy to make it benefit your business more.