Cold calls require a different approach in 2018. Our playbook will show you how to make cold calls more effective and enjoyable.
- Only 1% of cold calls made result in an appointment.
- Only 28% of cold calls result in conversations.
- 9 out of 10 top-level B2B decision makers don’t respond to cold calls.
It’s a bleak view. It’s tempting to agree and give up. The internet has made it easy for buyers to educate themselves and make their own purchasing decisions. We don’t need cold callers anymore.
However, you’d be wrong. Cold callers that aren’t succeeding may just need a change in tack. In today’s environment, you can still be a cold calling success if you take a different approach, using the tools that are available to you.
Laser target your cold calling operation
Most of the tips we’re going to talk about don’t relate to the actual cold call. The road to cold calling success starts long before you pick up the phone.
Your first task is to improve the list of leads you’re going to call. You’ll never get the results you want if you’re calling the wrong person at the wrong time. Previously, salespeople would be given lists filled with inaccurate data. There would be names of people who had long since changed jobs or moved on. There is no need to do this anymore.
Think about the type of person you want to talk to. Build a persona of your ideal prospect. What industry are they in? What is their job title? Location? Company size? Have they just received a round of funding meaning they may be looking to make purchases? What problems are they facing? How can you help them?
B2B lead generation solutions, such as Cognism Prospector, can help you build an accurate list of highly-targeted leads matching your persona. These people are much more likely to be interested in what you have to say when you call them.
Research the person and company you’re going to call
One of the reasons cold calling stopped being successful is that salespeople would call up and reel off a list of questions. SPIN selling is a useful sales technique, where you ask questions to build rapport with your prospect. Then, you ask more questions to make them understand that your product is the answer to their problems.
In 2018, this approach doesn’t come across as well as it used to. You have access to more information about your prospect than ever before. You should know many of the answers before you call. Wasting yours and your prospect’s time on a cold call asking questions is a big turn-off.
Find out everything you can about the person and company you’re going to call before you pick up the phone. LinkedIn tells you exactly what functions your prospect performs, as well as their job history. B2B products exist in certain industries (e.g. media) which tell you about the company’s budget and where they place it.
Data enables you to cut down on the fact-finding questions and skip straight to the problem-solving part. It also shows the prospect that you have taken the time to understand them and their business. Use it.
Write a Cold-Calling Script
Because you’re using a narrowly-targeted list of similar prospects in similar situations, a script works. You can use a cold call script that addresses their pain points in a systematic way.
Make sure you have a great introduction. You don’t want to hear that audible sigh from your prospect when they realise you’re cold calling them. Craft a reason to call. Is there an offer you’re running at the moment? Is there something specific you need to tell them about? ‘I just called to touch base…’ won’t work.
Here are some more bitesize tips:
- Think about common objections and write scripts to overcome them effectively.
- Focus on the prospect and their situation, not on you or how amazing your company is.
- Did you find a connection or an interesting piece of information in your research which may help build rapport?
- Practice your script until you believe you are ready to go. Roleplaying your script with your colleagues or leaders is a great idea.
Smile and Dial
You’ve built your highly-targeted list, you’ve done your homework and you’ve memorised your super-effective script. It’s time to pick up the phone and dial.
Deliver your script naturally, don’t be a robot. You want your call to be a conversation, not a monologue. Take on board how your prospect replies. There may be opportunities to change your script so it better suits their needs. You may even hear buying signals.
Some more tips for the call itself:
- Take notes. Everything you hear is information that may come in useful later. Even if you’re logging calls in your CRM later, don’t rely on your memory.
- Don’t do your best leads first. You’ll get better as you go on. Save them for that time.
- Keep smiling and don’t give up. No one has a 100% cold calling success record. You will face rejection. Don’t let it stop you.
Analyse and iterate your cold calling operation
The more calls you make, the better a picture you will see as to what’s working and what isn’t. Are you targeting the right people, or is it actually the level above them that you should be speaking to? Is there a part of your script that confuses the prospects, or simply falls flat? Is there a time of the day or week that yields more success?
Analyse everything. When you see a pattern of what’s working, double down on it. When something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it.
Sales leaders should regularly be recording cold calls, going through them with their sales team and coaching them on how to improve.
To conclude, there’s no reason why cold calling shouldn’t be a useful tool for your sales operation. The key is everything you do before and after you pick up the phone. That is where you can make the difference and be the exception to the rule.