There’s cold calling, and then there’s cold calling. The difference is all in the approach…
In just about any company, there are two people who get the most cold calls, and you really have to feel sorry for them. The first is the Head of IT, and the second is the Head of Marketing. In addition to the 5-10 cold calls they get every single day from different vendors trying to pitch to them, they also get around 10-20 pitch emails about some new service proposition or product.
Being at the helm of a cold calling company, I see what sales people are trying to accomplish each day – the goal is always to fill out their pipeline, and keep deals moving. As a professional courtesy, any cold call I receive I take (mainly for a selfish reasons, as I want to see how good they are!). I always try reply to their emails – even if it’s just to tell them I’m not interested (the only exception to this is email list “companies”).
Because of the sheer number of calls that heads of marketing and IT receive, it is easy for people to dismiss cold calling and claim that it doesn’t work. Well, it really does work, but only if you approach it in the right way. You can’t just go blundering in from the word go; instead, like top athletes, the best cold callers won’t make any calls until they’ve prepared and ‘warmed up’ first. Here are our top tips for limbering up for a winning cold call.
1. Make sure you find good people and companies to call
By finding targets, I don’t mean to say “get company name & a phone number”. If that’s how you do cold calling, you’ll find it pretty tough and most people will usually end the call within 15 seconds – why should they talk to you if you don’t really know who they are? On the other hand, if you take the time to profile your target via social media, LinkedIn, or just plain old Google, to find out who you want to talk to, what their job title is and what they might be responsible for, then you’re going to be in a much better position when you do pick up the phone.
Too many cold callers are reliant on bought in lists, and these typically contain out of date details on contacts, inaccurate job titles, wrong phone numbers, and company names that are no longer in existence. All in all, these bought in lists just slow you down way too much. It’s much better to build your own list from the ground up and capture accurate details on the targets you’re calling.
2. Speak at their level
So you’ve done a bit of research, and you’ve got a name, a number and a title. The next thing you need to do is work out what kind of approach will give you the greatest chance of a getting positive response from your target. You need to be able to speak at your target’s level to make sure you are pressing all the right buttons to keep them engaged and interested. This includes not only talking about the right topics, but also talking about them in the right context, and with the right wording. Get this spot on, and you are well on your way to a successful outcome.
3. Know your pitch – but not too well
Please try not to use a script! Be creative, use wording that you’re comfortable with and apply your own style. If you’re a sales rep and someone gives you a script, reject it. Come up with your own version that suits you and sounds natural when spoken aloud. And please, please don’t memorise it – you’re having a conversation, not making a speech.
Likewise, you need to be prepared to adjust your pitch as you go. If you are doing cold calling properly, you’ll be asking some questions. You’ll need to adjust your pitch depending on the answers to those questions. Maybe you see your prospect already knows about the topic – in which case you can skip a few steps forward and engage them with a more advanced conversation.
4. Be prepared for the next steps
The goal of Cold Calling (at least for most B2B product/services) is not to secure an outright sell there and then, but rather to just take the conversation forward to the next step. The very best cold callers working here at Gungho have become very smart about this. Once they sense some interest, instead of continuing to expand on the topic, they’ll suggest a follow-up face to face discussion or an online meeting.
Right, I know what you’re thinking: these points are so basic. But so many people forget about these simple things when they are cold calling. Yes, you might be able to save yourself a couple of minutes by not researching properly beforehand, but by skipping out on preparation like this you will guarantee that a good deal of the time you’ll lose a valuable prospect within the first few seconds of the call. Warm up and begin each cold call fully ready and prepared, and that way you can ensure you won’t stumble and fall right from the start line.Posted on: August 30th, 2013 by Lucy Erskine