Cold calls are one of the most productive ways to engage with new prospects. Yet, they can also be one of the most nerve-wracking for salespeople. What if I get a busy signal? What if I say something wrong and they don't answer their phone? These worries can paralyze your cold calling efforts before you even dial a number. In this blog post, we will explore some best practices for making effective cold calls that will help alleviate these fears and allow you to reach more prospects in less time. You'll see how it's not only possible but easy to make great Cold Calls!
Cold calling can be one of the most effective ways for sales people to engage with new prospects. Cold calling is often the least leveraged by salespeople because of some common fears, including: What if I go through all this work and they don't answer? What if I accidentally say something wrong and offend them?
I can tell you from my experience that cold calling works really well when you know what to do when and understand that you are willing to resolve a challenge at your prospective clients' doorstep.
Cold calling doesn't have to be a scary proposition if you prepare in advance and are ready to face some challenges at your prospect's office. Many salespeople struggle with cold calling because they lack the skills necessary to create rapport quickly with new prospects. One of the most powerful ways that you can build this skill is by mastering the art.
The first thing to understand is that you cannot expect a warm response from cold calling prospects. They don't know who you are and they may not have any idea what you want. To them, your call may just seem like an interruption in the middle of their busy day. Because of this, it's important to make your opening statement value-based so that it is able to resolve a challenge that they have, regardless of whether or not they buy from you.
When you cold call prospects, it is very important that the opening statement you make about your product resolves a problem that they currently have. This means that if your offering solves a particular business need for them, such as helping customers save money on their cable bill or helping companies increase sales with minimal resources wastage.
Some of the effective ways of cold calling are listed in this blog to make you overcome the fear of cold calling:
You have to prepare a good B2B prospecting checklist before you start cold calling prospects. This will remind you of all the things that need to be prepared before you make a call and also during the call. The things that need to be kept in mind are to embrace rejection and don't run away from it. If you want to succeed in cold calling, the more experience of rejection you have, the better for you. You may have to face a lot of rejection during your early days of cold calling. Don't let this pressure subside your energy levels and enthusiasm to keep trying on new prospects.2. Get excited about prospecting:
Cold calling is like a performance of an actor and not like a robot. The script should not be given more importance than the actor. Before facing any prospect, an excited and fascinated mind is required to deliver the cold call to achieve a target because it is like meeting a new person at first for both parties.
So, how does one get started on this? A lot of practice can make you perfect and thus, rehearsing your opening lines and script with your colleagues can make you a pro.
But, how can you rehearse your script to deliver it naturally? You should consider these tips given below:
1- Take the help of someone to video record yourself while rehearsing so that you could see the flaws in your performance and accordingly work on them. This will give a complete insight about how people actually will receive your call and respond.
2- Do a role play with a colleague - take the help of your buddy or someone you know from the office, as it will be easier for you to rehearse and perform.
3- Learn how to start the conversation with silence! It is much better than speaking something unwanted which can have a disastrous impact on your call. However, note that silence shouldn't be prolonged too far. After rehearing the script, it's very important to realise that we cannot expect the same reaction from all callers. Some are easy to convince and some will be really tough, but it's always important to have a positive attitude and give it your best shot!
4-Don't forget to smile when you speak - It is said that half of our communication happens with non verbal cues so use it liberally. Wear that smile during the entire duration of the call.
5- Have a small notepad with you - Mostly when the prospect picks up, he'll be in his office and will have to attend to other colleagues. It might seem rude if you interrupt him while talking on the phone. The best way is to ask for a few minutes so that he can finish what he's in the middle of doing3.Find the right time to call:
Always do research as to what time your prospects would be free to answer cold calls . A good rule of thumb is to call after 11:30am or before 5:00pm. Most of the prospects are free during the lunch breaks . : Always do a research as to what time your prospects would be free to answer cold calls. You should be calling your prospects at a time, where they can give their undivided attention towards you.
The best time to call would be when the prospect is free and not in the middle of a meeting. By keeping a track of prospects' schedules, you would then be able to know when exactly the person is free.
If your prospect has a secretary, you can also check with her to find out if the CEO/decision maker is currently in office or not. Calling during business hours may seem like a good idea, but if the prospects are busy at that time, it may be best to send an email or make a call after some time.
“Always be on your toes - Take the rejection with a smile . - If you Cold-call someone and he/she rejects you, take it positively.4.Prepare your own self:
In order to make a perfect first impression, take some time from your busy day and freshen up so that you look decked up for the most important prospect you have been calling. During the non calling hours,make sure you are researching about your clients and their business, so that you are well prepared for the call. Customise your opening lines based on your prospects industry and vertical and you'll be able to make a more positive first impression. Take this preparation as an opportunity to add value by reading related industry publications, blogs and relevant website articles about your client. If there are any recent awards or recognition received by your prospective client, don't forget to mention it in the call.
Showing your knowledge about your client and their business will make you an authority figure for them and they will be more willing to listen to what you have to say. During the first few minutes of the call, it's better not to come across as too eager by asking too many questions. The common mistake a lot of sales people do is shooting a lot of questions to the prospective client . As a sales person, your effort shows when you don't throw too many questions. Instead, be confident and assured of what you have to say. Let the prospective client ask all his questions first before coming up with yours.
After you are done with the initial conversation, it is time to arrange for a meeting to showcase your proposed solution to resolve the challenge that they have. Let me warn you in advance, don't ask them to visit your office unless you're going to show how your product or service works. Otherwise, asking a prospect to come to an office where he doesn't need the product is just wasting his time and yours too.
If possible, try arranging for the meeting at their premises5.Be prepared with the questions in hand:
During the call make sure you have the questions ready so that you can ask as many questions in the limited time. Based on your prospects industry you can frame your questions in advance. The questions should not be annoying but at the same time, it should be able to bring in more information from the prospect. If your prospect is providing answers to any of your questions just write them down instead of trying to memorize them & forget them later. The best practice is to always have a notepad beside you to take all the notes during the call. Never interrupt your prospect while answering your question
Let the person finish the sentence/answer before you ask another question. If your prospect has started giving a long answer, then wait for a few seconds until he finishes and asks whether you have understood his answer or not...then move on to another question. Once you have all the answers, please thank your prospect for his time and assure him that you would contact him in a few days to get his feedback on the implementation of the system. Do not ask for a commitment from your prospect at this point...please don't do that! (For example: "Have you decided whether you want to move ahead of this program or not" or "How long would it take for the management team to approve the budget?
Have enough knowledge about the company that you are calling & know exactly why you are calling -Tell your prospect directly how you can help them by what service or product you are offering. Keep a notepad and take notes during phone conversations. End the call by asking if there is any other question they want to ask you.6. Provide time and set proper next steps:
You are not looking to close a deal on your cold call . The purpose of cold calling is to secure the next meeting or trigger a response. But when you do need to make an ask, set a clear path for next steps for both of you. Prospects don’t want to be rushed through your selling process. You’ll have better success if you instead help them through their buying process.
Prospecting is a necessary part of the sales process and can be challenging at times. But if you prepare in advance, know your prospect's needs and have an understanding of what type of questions to ask, it will make cold calling less intimidating for both parties. I trust that this blog post has given you some different ideas on how to best achieve success with B2B prospecting. If not, please contact me for help here
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