Cold calling comes and goes in popularity, is labour intensive and can be emotionally hard work. Sales people just hate doing it.
This is good news for Upgraded Salesman readers that are willing to go the extra mile to secure that commission check – there is less competition for you.
That is why with a few pointers salesmen can wipe the floor with their competitors by leveraging cold calling as a prospecting advantage. If you’re determined to take the business your competition is scared of approaching then make note of the following cold calling secrets.
1) Know your why.
There is no point in making a cold call if you’re not sure why you’re doing it. Are you trying to secure an in person meeting? Actually close a sale on the phone? This will be the basis of your whole approach and so it’s important to define this outcome first.
2) Research the prospect.
You can’t call essentially a stranger and then ask them if your product is a fit for them. You have to know it is before you call. You should know your talking points before you investigate further.
3) Have a script.
A cold calling script is a must even if you’re only making a few calls a day. It allows you to make those first calls easier as there is less thinking (procrastination time) and it gives you a structure which you can tweak over time.
4) Assume the prospect wants your product.
If you’ve done your research and your product is a good fit for the prospects company (i.e. you’re going to save them time or make them money) then you’re doing them a favour by calling them up. Don’t assume that you’re pestering the prospect as it’s their job to take calls in a B2B setting.
5) Get past the first objection.
The hardest part about any cold phone call is getting past the first objection. The prospect likely didn’t even think about what they were saying when they tried to shrug you off – it’s the script they’re working from.
The 3 most common objections that you need to have practiced negating are –
“No thank you” – Explain that other people said the same thing before they learnt about your product and now their raving fans. It just takes a few minutes to explain.
“Email me some info” – Tell the prospect that you will do that for sure but without a couple more questions you won’t be able to send the most relevant information. Then continue with the questions and your normal close.
“I’m busy” – Acknowledge that you understand that this perhaps isn’t the best time for your prospect to speak and then close another time and date when they’ve space in their schedule to chat.
6) ABC – Always be closing.
Far too often salesmen trip themselves up by not categorically asking the prospect for something at the end of the phone call. You have to close as the prospect isn’t going to do it for you.
7) Get off the line.
Once you have closed and you have what you want from the prospect in a date to call back or visit in person, get off the phone. Don’t carry on talking to say something stupid and mess your hard work up.
Follow up no matter what the outcome.
Even if you get shrugged off and couldn’t handle the objections (or you had the phone slammed down after getting screamed at) send follow up. This could be an email or even physical literature (yes, people still like reading away from their screens) but it must include a wrap up of your call, the next action from your side and when you’re doing to do it.
8) Don’t take it personally.
Remember if the prospect doesn’t like what you’re offering, they’re rejecting your pitch, not you personally. Don’t take it to heart if that phone call doesn’t work out and get straight onto the next one.
9) Make more calls
As I discuss with Matt Heinz on the Salesman Podcast, once you know all the tactics, sales is just a numbers game.