In an age when texting and emailing is the norm, it’s easy to see why some people think cold calling is dead. It’s harder to reach someone on the phone and it takes more time than sending a text or direct message. The truth is there are still plenty of opportunities for reaching people via phone, but only if done right. Salespeople just need to be a little more creative in the way they reach out to prospects.
Below are ten tips you can use to improve your response rate for cold calls. They’re simple, easy, and surprisingly effective.
1. Be clear and specific
Sounds obvious, right? It should be, but a lot of people get this step wrong. Too much information and you might lose the prospect’s interest; too little, and you might not even get them to care in the first place. One way to prepare would be to have a list of compelling points you need to include and craft your message from there.
2. Use a script, BUT be natural
Especially when it comes to cold calls, people can tell when you don’t sound natural. A script should serve as a guideline, not a word-by-word rulebook. You could even try recording yourself so you can hear how you sound. And make sure the language you use applies to the context – for instance, know how formal you should or shouldn’t sound.
3. Analyze mistakes/where you get stuck
See if you notice where things go south so you can tweak your script. You can tell on your calls by the change of tone or use of rejection words if what you’re saying is not resonating. It’s another reason why you should have a script because as you work on improving it, you will start to notice different responses with certain changes. That is not to say you should use the exact same words every time. Again, make sure your scripts adapt to the context and the formality of the conversation you’re having.
4. The right time and person
Know your audience and who to contact – this should not be done at random. Also, try to plan out a schedule that works not just for clients, but for you too! There are times of the day where you might be more productive, and that should be taken into consideration when you organize your schedule.
5. Point out the problem
A potential client won’t want your services if they don’t realize they have a problem. One way to make sure they see that is to “point it out” to them. Mention the type of problem your services fix before describing your offering, and they’ll understand why they should care about what you have to say. For instance, if you sell web designing services, you can say “I’ve noticed you don’t have a live chat tool on your website, did you know that these have been proven to increase the number of sales online?” This way, it won’t be rude, but you will point out a flaw that could be fixed by your company, and the benefits that could come from it.
6. Compliments? Yes, please!
Compliments can go a long way because when you truly try to know them, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness. And of course, people like nice people, it’s no mystery! But make sure it’s nothing too over the top, and be sincere. Remember: people can tell when you’re not being honest.
7. No rush!
You should never be in a hurry to close a deal – deciding to pay someone for their services is a big decision, a client has a right to take their time. You might not even make a sale in the first response, but that is okay! Discuss everything over and answer all the questions they might have, as this will make them more comfortable with you and give you a chance to better understand them and their needs. You’ll want to build a relationship so more sales can be made in the future, not just now.
8. Effective voicemails
Around 90% of cold calls end up going to voicemail, so you must master this art! Define what needs to be said before (remember the script) and make sure to leave your contact information. As for what to say, you should not try to sell anything on the voicemail, but rather introduce yourself, or how you could help, maybe even if someone recommended you if that applies, and ask them to call you.
9. Rejection is still valid
Don’t just ignore a situation once you are rejected – that’s actually when you can learn the most! If possible, “ask” them why your offer was turned down. It might not have to do with you, but the feedback can bring insights.
10. Read on techniques
Research can bring insights, and there’s no such thing as too much information! There are a huge number of techniques proven to work for you to build the perfect script for the perfect situation, and the more, the merrier.
For something to work, you must prepare, and that always takes time. Time to research, to practice, to test out scripts, to adapt them… it is quite a lot. But selling is about building a relationship, and while that might also take time, it will be worth it in the long run to those who consider a career in sales. It should be a cross between quality and quantity!