10 Cold Calling Tips helping you to structure your cold calls and make it most relevant.
Most entry level jobs in sales are call center jobs and not seldom they require cold calling. However, it is a task which most young professionals are afraid of or do not feel comfortable doing. Nevertheless, here are my 10 Cold Calling Tips which are based on my own experience in my sales career which should help you bringing in a structure so that this seemingly difficult job will feel like any other task you will manage.
Preparation is key. Everyone has received calls where they felt like hanging up after 10 seconds. Therefore, good preparation will help you to feel confident right from the beginning and also grasp the prospects attention so that you are being perceived as relevant. The following tips should help you getting best prepared, before you pick up your phone. Because we know: preparation is key.
1. Get into the right mood
Cold calling is nothing anyone would love from day one. Also, even the best performing cold caller will have good and bad days. In order to be an effective cold caller, you must be aware what your current mood is and how it will affect your voice and thus, your confidence with wich you talk to your prospect. Here are 5 tips to follow to get into a positive state of mind.
2. Research the company and its industry
Take 5min to research the company you are calling into. Find out how they make money through annual reports and other media articles. Have a look into what competitors are in this field and who are the leading ones. This will give you an understanding of how a company is positioned in its market. Should you not find any information here, great! Take that as a chance to ask your prospect.
3. Know your prospect
Use social media profiles to better understand the person you are calling. Know who are connected to them and what education they have. Often a common past will help you open a conversation much easier.
4. Understand the persona pains
Try to think, what major pains and questions are keeping the person up at night in his job. A sales manager wants to improve revenue, a service manager is interested in cutting cost and improve customer satisfaction. These pains come with challenges which your product or service should directly help solving.
5. Have your call list ready
Prepare a list of prospects which fulfil similar criteria as the companies as well as the prospect persona with its pains. That way you don’t need to rethink after every call what you want to say. Instead, you’ll improve your flow and confidence. To build a good list, use historical data of your company or do some research on external data using for example industry magazines to find similar companies.
So now you have done your homework. That should already make you feel more confident because you have a message to deliver and a conversation to have with the right people. And if one does not want to talk about the points you raise, the next one will. The following paragraph will help you structuring the call itself so that even if you happen to drift off the topic, you can always get back to these anchors.
6. Passing the Gate Keeper
More than often, you will stumble upon a gate keeper when cold calling. They come in different shape and time. Often it is the personal assistant, but can also be a colleague or the receptionist. Keep in mind that they are not the ones meant to hear your greatest elevator pitch but what you need to tell them is why you need to speak to the person right now. Here is one example of what you can say:
I would like to speak to Mr Smith because I am setting up the agenda for a potential first meeting and I would like to get his feedback on the most relevant points he would see relevant to discuss.
7. Have a strong Elevator Pitch
Most common mistake of an elevator pitch is that people talk about how great their product is. Instead, you should say what problem it solves for them. Should it be not too obvious which ones they are, list 3 common pains you solve and let the prospect choose one of them. If he sees none of them relevant, great, ask him what his biggest pain points are.
8. Make a clear Up-Front-Contract (UFC)
An Up-Front-Contract is when you agree with your prospect how much time you will take for this call, what you ideally want to get out of it and what you are willing to share with him. In order to give a good idea to the prospect of what he is getting into, give him two typical scenarios how these calls will end:
Typically, after 10min we should be able to determine from the examples we share and the pain points you tell us, whether a follow up meeting can be scheduled.
The Finish Line
You finally get to talk to the person you wanted to and had a great conversation. Happy days… Stop! Now it’s the time to close the call with a strong finish line and set clear next steps. Otherwise, all the great preparation is lost and next time you might not be so lucky to get that much time again.
9. There is always a Next Steps
I cannot emphasise that strong enough: always have a next step! You achieved your goal following the 10 cold calling tips; your prospect’s attention. But following the AIDA formula it is now important to turn that attention into interest. But that, you should leave it for the second meeting where you again, like in the upfront contract, agree on the timeframe, what topics you will cover and what the expected outcome will be.
10. Analyse your results
In order to continue improving the 10 Cold Calling Tips, the most important one is to analyse your results. Go through your list and see how many meetings you managed to schedule, how many rejections you got and how often you got stuck at the gate keeper. These insights will help you to determine your weak spots and continuously improve with every additional call.
I hope these 10 Cold Calling Tips will help you to feel more comfortable in the future to make your calls. However, keep in mind, should something else work well for you, focus on that and then keep improving the other parts where you don’t feel secure yet. Eventually, you’ll be able to build up a skill which is helpful for every other job, too.