8 Ways to Cold Call—and Not Be Left Out in the Cold

Posted by Lucrativ on 9/3/19 10:25 PM



Some industry folks have frowned on cold calling, doubting its effectiveness. However, 41% of reps say the phone is their most effective sales tool and 69% of buyers have accepted phone calls from new providers in the last 12 months.

Cold calling is not dead. What is is though is a challenge. But it’s a challenge that can be overcome—if you prepare for it.
You can prepare for cold calling and do it right with these tips.

8 Cold Calling Best Practices

1. Gather intel on your prospect
This has been said so many times: Research your prospect. But there’s a reason it’s popular advice: it works!
Don’t go into your cold call blind. That is one catastrophic mistake. Gather intel on your prospect. There are many available sources out there, social media foremost. Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will tell you a lot about a prospect and his business. You will know company size, their plans for growth, their competitors, and other important information. That is a lot of data on which you can build your value proposition.
You can even gather some personal information that may help establish some rapport with the prospect. While you don’t want it to sound like you’ve stalked your prospect, having something to use as a way to connect with him is always a good thing.
2. Buy time
The longer you can keep a prospect on the phone, the better your chances of engaging him into scheduling a meeting or presentation. Buy as much time as you can.
You have to hold your prospect’s attention and interest. He may probably attempt to shut the conversation down, but always choose to reframe the conversation so that you guys go back to talking, not saying your goodbyes.
Keeping your prospect relaxed is also key. A lot of prospects will sound defensive immediately because they feel like they’re being ambushed with a call, or being forced into a sale. Try not to overwhelm them with so many questions. Don’t do a hard sell in the first call; focus on gathering information (so you can qualify) and establishing good rapport. Be friendly and sound sincere. Lastly, keep the conversation about the prospect and what he needs, and not so much about you and your product.
3. Anticipate rejection
Let’s face it: rejections happen. But you can do something about them. Try to avoid rejection by anticipating it and knowing how to counter objections.
At some point, you will most certainly receive statements like “I’m not interested” or “Now is not a good time.” But there is always a way to counter common cold call objections. Anticipate rejection and prepare to give the best rebuttal to even the most hard-line objection.
4. Be upfront: state your reason for calling
Don’t go beating around the bush with your prospect. Prospects know that you’re cold calling for a reason, so might as well be upfront about it. You only need to preface your reason with: “The reason I’m calling is…”
5. Rehearse your script to sound normal, not robotic
A script can work for or against you depending on how you use it. If you sound like a robot while reciting it, you will never connect with your prospect.
Practice your script so that you sound human and normal when talking to your prospect. Actors follow a script all the time yet they don’t sound like robots, do they? Consider your cold call as your very own Oscar-worthy performance.
That said, the script must be good. It should be able to extract the information you need, which is: what does the prospect need? Questions like “What about your business would you like to change or eliminate?” or “What does the business need right now for it to run in tip-top condition?” will definitely help.
It’s also a good idea to review the script every now and then, based on results of your cold call. You can re-write or improve certain parts of the script that don’t translate well with prospects.
6. Have all the important questions
When cold calling, you’re not simply trying to get an appointment with the prospect. You are also trying to qualify this lead, so you need to gather vital information as well. You have to write your script in a way that the important questions are embedded.
The information you need to qualify normally include industry, company size, company revenue, number of locations, prospect’s role/title, who they report to, and who reports to them. You can usually find info on these on their company website. However, other data, like tools they use, pain points, issues/problems, needs, wants, motivations, existing provider, hesitations, buying concerns, etc., you will need to extract from the conversation.
Create opportunities within the script to get all the qualifying data you need.
7. Automate to be more efficient
When cold calling, these are the usual time culprits (or those instances that make you waste your precious time): calling low-quality prospects, calling at a time when prospect is not available, and dialing one call after another.
You can avoid these problems by automating your cold calls using your CRM. With Lucrativ, for example, you can create a custom call list with only the high-quality leads in them. (You can categorize all your leads from VIP to Regular). Know who and when to call using the system’s data analyzing capabilities.
You can also call each lead with one click, saving you the trouble of dialing multiple numbers for hours. You can also use a power dialer to dial the numbers for you.
Automating your cold calls not only saves you time, it can also help you track all your calls, record all the results, and streamline the whole sales process—and make sure you don't forget an important step!
8. End with a schedule and/or a next step
You can’t end a call without knowing what’s going to happen next and when. You must know how to proceed from that call.
You have to take the lead here and inform your prospect what the next step is, whether that’s another call, a meeting, or an email with the formation they need. Then get them to agree on the next step.
Even if the prospect tries to be evasive with a “call me back another time,” you can use that to book your next call. “I understand. What works better for you: Tuesday 2pm or Wednesday 3 pm?” Or if they ask you to email them instead, ask: “How much time would you need to review and make a decision?” After prospect replies, say, “That’s great. I’ll be in touch then.”
Cold calling takes patience, preparations, and a lot of practice. But if you do it right, all the time and effort will pay off in the end. Good luck!
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Photos from Unsplash. Main photo by ROOM

Topics: Outbound Sales

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