Taking the Cold Out of Cold Calling
While some sales teams might argue that cold calling is a strategy of the past, the statistics show otherwise: according to B2B sales company RAIN Group, cold-calling is second only to referrals as the number one lead generation technique.
Cold-calling, however, is evolving with the 21st century, a time when technology makes it possible to know information about individuals, businesses, products, and services before a phone is even picked up. More accurately termed “warm calling” or “intelligent calling,” there is a greater emphasis today on the quality of phoned prospects rather than the quantity of numbers dialed. Now, when you pick up the phone, here are three strategies to take the chill out of that phone call:
Investigate Your Call: You have the technology to research all prospective clients before you dial the phone; use that to your advantage. Research the decision-maker of the company and find their direct line. Find out more information about the company and target specifics during the phone call. If they’ve ever looked at your website, track the links they clicked on and discuss those services during the phone call. Blindly calling should not be a part of your Sales 2.0 strategy; instead, do the research, plan ahead and understand the prospect before hearing their voice.
Target Your Market: Narrowly define your ideal target audience and aggressively target those buyers. By having too broad of a prospective audience, your sales approach will be all over the map and your sales efforts will be futile. According to Jim Brown, the Executive Director of the Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales, companies need to distinguish themselves from other telemarketers in the same industry before picking up the phone. By understanding your target audience, you’ll be better able to anticipate their needs, questions, and concerns.
Plan Your Opening: Your opening line will make or break your sales pitch, determining whether you’ll hear a dial tone or genuine interest in return. Your introduction should include your name, your company, and the reason why you’re calling. Make your reason a compelling claim or deal, such as “I’m calling because I believe you can save money on your computer software” or “I’m offering a limited-time deal on a manufacturing machine which you’ve demonstrated interest in.” Never ask whether now is a good time or if they’re the right person to speak to, as these “yes” or “no” questions provide an easy out. Approach every call with honesty and enthusiasm.
Assess and Revise: You constantly want to evaluate your cold-call strategy, and keeping careful records of who you called, when you called them, and how many calls were converted will be essential information for your strategy moving forward. How many referrals did you get? What time of day were they contacted? How many meetings were set up? Here, in particular, outsourcing your cold-call prospecting might prove beneficial to provide greater insight and accountability. While a call might not result in a sale, you can still gain valuable information from an eventual dial tone.