When people think of cold calling, they often get the image of a salesperson from yesteryear dialing random phone numbers out of a phone book. With this idea of cold calling, it’s easy to dismiss it as dead worthless. But in reality, cold calling has transformed over the years and is one of the most useful tools to grow your business, generate more revenue, and reach your quota faster.
Is Cold Calling Dead?
Bad calling is dead. There’s a very low tolerance for bad phone calls in the current business environment. They are ineffective, and always have been ineffective. However, this is what many people think of when they think about cold calling. The idea of making a business call and asking someone about what they’re working on, and opening up a peer to peer business discussion, is the most effective platform to engage with people. In fact, some clients report that 80% of the large deals they close came from this manner of cold calling. Cold calling is very successful when it is done correctly. There are people out there making calls to buyers they don’t know getting wishlist meetings with top prospectors. If you make a call that is truly cold, meaning you do no research and have no sales language that will peak the interest of the person you’re talking to, then you might as well not be doing at all.
- Cold calling done correctly is not dead. But, making phone calls that are ineffective is dead, and has never worked.
- Understand the difference between a well-researched phone call with specific, personalized intent, and a phone call to a random person with no prior preparation.
How Has Cold Calling Changed?
Cold calling has changed in that it’s not nearly as cold as it used to be. You’re not calling people out of a phone book. You’re calling people based on researched prospects. Using the internet and other technology, salespeople are able to gather information about the person they want to call from their business website and LinkedIn profiles to incorporate into their conversations. This is done through tools that are available today that weren’t as readily available previously. Another way that cold calling has changed is in the availability of prospects. People are busier than they ever have been. To get the attention of active candidates, you have to say something that is so incredibly beneficial to them that they will make time to talk to you. If you can convey that you will make someone’s life better, they will knock three people off their calendar to make time for you.
- Look into people’s “virtual office” to get information on the prospect and add value to your calls.
- Use sales language that indicates to prospects that you are worthy of helping them and that you can solve their problems and make their life better. Think of what you can say to advance their thinking to a place where they understand what you can do for them.
Cold Calling Tools:
There are services, like automatic dialers, which allow salespeople to reach people much faster. It does save manual labor, but if you don’t have the proper sales language and effectiveness tools to engage someone in a conversation, you are merely speeding up the frustration of the caller and the person taking the call. In essence, it automates the failure. Tools also make a difference depending on what you’re selling and who you’re selling to. If you are making a call to a uniform prospect group with a uniform message, where the relationship is unimportant, tools like automatic dialers can be a great asset. Usually, this involves selling something low cost to people who are relatively unimportant, and a personalized and developed relationship is less important. However, if you are trying to sell to someone high up, and you have to develop a relationship with someone to persuade them to try something new, automatic dialers can be the kiss of death. When these automatic dialers reach someone new, there is not enough time to research the person or leverage information to create an impact.
- Cold calling tools can be great assets, but only if the people making the calls are effective. If you expect to succeed at selling over the phone, you must hone and furnish your skills, or the tools are pointless.
- Know what you’re selling and who you’re selling to. The appropriateness of utilizing calling tools will vary accordingly.
Cold Calling Success Rate:
Salespeople have to set up their environment to be successful at cold calling. They have to have the right tools, data sets, systems, and research tools in place. You may not be successful in the first week, or with any one person within the month, or first six months, or one year. But, if you’re doing this process correctly, you will find success. This means that you have identified the right decision maker in the organization, you’re saying the right message that is backed by the proper research, and you’ve pre-thought your answers to objections.
- As long as you’re doing it right, it’s just a matter of time before you get your return on investment.
Many people talk about wanting to be different and spend a lot of time trying to communicate that they are different. But, it doesn’t matter why you’re different. Prospects only care about why you are of more value to them and how you can make their life better.
- People will take calls. They just don’t take bad calls. Demonstrate that you can provide value to your prospects, and they will have a conversation with you.
- Have a conversation with someone, don’t just throw out a sales pitch. Make it a normal interaction. Create differentiation by being like your prospect and talking to them like a peer.
Give Cold Calling Another Chance:
Give cold calling another chance if you want to grow your sales. If you’re okay with the number of sales and referrals you have, then there is no reason to try cold calling. But, if you want more sales, and you want to go out and meet people that you don’t know who can buy more from you, then give it another chance. But, don’t do it unless you do it right.
- Approach cold calling strategically, make sure that your target and message are right, that you know the answers to objections, and that you have the right person doing the cold calling.
- Ensure that you have the time to be consistent with your calling. Consistency is key.
- Record your sales calls and then listen to them. This will help you improve and get better at cold calling.
- Do it right, or you might as well not bother. Make sure you have the right target, the right message, the right answers for objections, the right person doing the work, and the proper execution process.
- Have your tools in front of you to set yourself up for success.
Information for this article was sourced from this top sales expert panel discussion, hosted by John Golden, featuring the expert opinions of Mari Anne Vanella, Caryn Kopp, and Tuck Mixon.