The art of cold calling
Calling someone is not so difficult, but dialing, bashing and smiling over the phone doing the business however you dress it up, cold calling has long been viewed as a necessary evil when booming up new business. But with the dawn of the social media age, it has become much easier to track down, new contact and start conversations with potential leads. Does this spell the end of cold calling?
“Absolutely not, cold calling is not dead. It’s evolving”. There are still just as many cold calls being made now as ever. Social media has become a great help for lazy sales people with a fear of rejection to get out of picking up the phone. They don’t hit sales targets and, when challenged about it, they say, ‘I’ve been on Twitter or Facebook!’
You need to have done your homework beforehand. You cannot make a professional cold call without knowing at least the name of the person you are trying to reach otherwise you create problems with the gatekeepers. People are far too savvy to pass on calls that begin, “Can you put me through to your head of marketing, please?” It’s pure laziness not to find out the names. It always has been. These days, tools like LinkedIn and Twitter can help you find out those names. And if you don’t do that, you’re daft.
The secret of generating new business via telesales is always put quality before quantity. Before you call anyone, look at the person you will be speaking to on-line through sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
It’s also incredibly important to motivate your sales team when it comes to cold calling. There’s still stigma attached to the practice, even on the sales floors themselves. It’s often the new kid or the unfortunate exec that’s missed their sales target that gets saddled with cold calling duties. People often view cold calling as a punishment for not getting sales from the usual channels.
Every single sales person should be doing some element of cold calling.
15 Top tips for mastering the art of the cold call
- Remember that gatekeepers are your allies not your foes. For example: Be pleasant to whoever picks up the phone or is guarding when cold calling.
- You need to develop various strategies on how to get the gatekeeper on your side. You can politely ask the gatekeeper “if you could help me?” will help you get the information you looking for such as the name and best time to contact the right person you are looking for.
- Try to do the cold calling during morning times if possible. That’s the best time to reach the decision makers directly and morning is the time when people feel energetic and productive.
- Learning the name of the gatekeeper and being friendly when calling helps you bypassing them.
- Remember that the most important person on the call is you. People always say things like, ‘the customer is always right’. Rubbish. Get your point across, sell your heart out, or you’re dead.
- Think about the time and the day you ring. For example, the end of the financial year is stressful for a lot of companies, but leading up to Christmas or during the summer there can often be a more relaxed atmosphere in many offices.
- Know your product/service well – preparation and research is vital. People buy from people who love and have faith in their products and companies.
- Don’t bother with the pleasantries. Nobody cares. If you’re at home, about to have your tea at six in the evening, and you get a sales call, how do you feel?
- Give your name and company, establish it’s convenient to speak, and then give the reason for your call. This isn’t about getting a personal rapport. Stick to the business rapport.
- Be realistic about what can stop you from getting the business – don’t flog a dead horse.
- Understand the company thoroughly and think of what pain points the person you are speaking to may have.
- After the call always follow-up with an e-mail that adds value, i.e. that tells people something new. Don’t just send what you have already.
- Offer a free online tool, piece of valuable research or a guide that is of use to your potential client. Even some good food! A cold call from a company that makes chocolate mousse wanting to send free samples is welcome at most offices!
- Forget old school sales techniques to try to keep people on the phone, just be clear, informed and direct, don’t waste anyone’s time.
- Ask questions andlisten to the answers – getting the questioning technique right is the key. Discover their true needs.