Cold calling is dead – That’s what everyone’s been saying for the last few years. However, many companies, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, still use cold calling to fill their pipelines all year round.
Besides, a lot of data has proven that cold calling is here to stay with us for the foreseeable future.
- 82% of buyers book meetings with salespeople after a series of contacts that start with cold calls.
- 96% of customers want to hear from a sales rep when they’re ready to buy, which often starts with a cold call.
- 55% of high-growing companies still use it as their primary strategy for closing prospects
- More than half of senior-level and VP buyers prefer to receive phone calls from salespeople.
- Companies that stop using cold calling experience 42% less growth than companies that continue with it.
While these stats are optimistic, sales teams should understand that doing calls like back in 1995 doesn’t work now.
The market has changed significantly in the past two decades, and you must adapt if you want good results from your cold-calling efforts.
That’s why we put together this in-depth guide to show you unique tips and techniques for making cold calling work for you.
1. Use sales dialers to save time
It’s only in the past few decades that you had to manually dial a number, listen to the ringtone, and wait for your prospect to pick up the phone.
Thanks to the advancement of technology, you can use a sales dialer or cold calling software like Myphoner to do the heavy lifting for you.
A sales dialer is an automated cold calling tool that accurately dials the next prospect on your leads list.
The tool eliminates the manual and time-consuming process of dialling numbers. So this means you can buy back time and increase your call volume without hiring more sales reps.
Such tools have more benefits, which include the following:
- More calls mean you get more opportunities – You have more time to intensify on calls as you have the most complex task taken from your shoulders.
- Boosts personalization – Some sales dialers are advanced enough to show you a prospect’s information once it initiates a call. The data allows you to personalize your cold calls in real time.
- Improves your team’s working atmosphere – SDRs want to meet their sales quotas quickly so they can move on with their lives. Sales dialers help them achieve this, which boosts their confidence.
2. Qualify prospects beforehand
Will Smith’s movie, Pursuit for Happiness, teaches a critical lesson on why you should qualify prospects first before cold calling.
After landing an internship as a salesman for a prestigious brokerage firm, Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is handed a massive list of prospects.
He attacks the call list from the bottom up – from the doorman to the CEO – hoping to get someone to purchase their products.
Then he says something important in one of the scenes that stood out. “But even after doing all these, after two months, I still couldn’t find a way to work up my sheet.”
In the same scene, he breaks the rules and jumps the list up to the CEO. Surprisingly, the CEO takes the call and asks him for a one-on-one meeting.
That’s how most salespeople make their sales calls.
You have so many people on your list who aren’t qualified prospects. You end up wasting time without results.
Now, let’s define who a prospect is.
According to Wikipedia, a prospect is an individual or organization who resembles your ideal customer profile (ICP) but has yet to express interest in your products or services.
On the other hand, a qualified lead is an organization or individual who resembles your ICP and has expressed interest in your products or services.
Focusing on the latter makes more sense.
Qualified prospects are hot leads. They know their pain points and what they want. You have already nurtured them and are waiting for that one call to close the deal.
That takes us to the next step.
Lead qualification process
The first step in qualifying leads is answering these three critical questions:
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- Does the prospect have that problem?
- Does the prospect want to solve that problem?
Let’s break down these questions further.
People buy things because they have a problem and need a solution. But they might be willing to let the problem continue if they don’t get an answer.
That means someone isn’t a qualified lead even if they have the problem but haven’t shown any interest in a solution.
For example, a dentist on your prospect list who spends money on online marketing to get patients is a qualified lead.
On the other hand, another dentist in the same town who doesn’t market themselves online might not be a good fit.
This is because the former has shown that he has a problem and is trying to find a solution. So they’ll be more than ready if you offer your marketing service.
3. “Warm” your prospect before the call
Picture this scenario.
You’re an influencer on Linkedin with 50,000 followers. You create quality content on stock trading and investing.
You sell a course and one-on-one coaching for people who want to multiply their wealth by investing in stocks.
But you have a problem: your website is basic, and your landing page isn’t converting the way you’d want.
Then you receive two connection requests from random people on LinkedIn.
One connection request has a generic message like this.
The person goes straight into selling you what they offer without engaging you.
The other person’s connection request doesn’t even mention that they have a solution to your problem.
They start with a conversation that builds rapport, slowly developing into a strong relationship.
Here’s an example of how the conversation starter would look like.
Now, if the second person keeps interacting with your content, gives meaningful comments on your posts, and even goes further to mention you in their posts, you’ll quickly give in when they ask for a discovery call.
It’s a similar scenario if you want to close leads faster.
Engaging with prospects first on social media allows you to get into their “friend zone.” By the time you reach out with your product, you already have several touchpoints they can remember, even if you haven’t talked for a while.
Plus, the approach builds trust with the prospects.
It shows that you’re not pushy and are genuinely concerned about the prospect’s pain points.
And when prospects trust you, they believe what you have to say, take your advice, and even go on further to refer your product.
“I’m not upset that you lied to me; I’m upset that I can’t believe you from now on.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
The only downside of this approach is that it’s time-intensive.
You have to connect with many people and engage with them. This often takes a few minutes per person and can go on for months before you feel comfortable introducing your product.
Still, it’s worth the effort as the approach has a high success rate. Furthermore, it’s better than conducting thousands of spam calls with low close rates.
4. Use powerful scripts
Scripts come in handy if you don’t know what to say or want to scale your cold-calling campaigns.
However, most sales teams lose it here. Here’s a familiar script in the sales world.
Hi, this is X from Y. We offer an effective Z for businesses like yours, and today we’re running a special campaign. I’d like to offer you our trial program for just $1000 monthly, half the regular price of $2000. I’d like to get started by the end of the week.
This script is pushy, generic, and lacks personalization.
The prospect will eagerly wait for you to finish the sentence before they can cut you off.
Effective sales scripts have a powerful pattern:
They don’t sell a product yet
Yes, the goal is to sell your product, but the first cold call isn’t for doing that.
Instead, let the script focus on building a rapport and encouraging prospects to move on to the next step, like a discovery call or booking a demo.
The prospect is likely to agree because you’ve provided value in the call and haven’t asked for a significant commitment from them.
Make room for questions
Most salespeople write scripts that revolve around their product. That’s good, but the prospect doesn’t want to know about your features or new product updates.
They want solutions.
Experienced SDRs balance the conversation by speaking 55% of the time and leaving the rest for the prospect to speak. That’s the ratio you should maintain by asking relevant questions.
You want to dig into their mind about the problem and how they’ve tried to solve it. For instance, if the prospect has been struggling due to a small budget for marketing, you can ask a question like, “Do you feel like you haven’t hit your ROI because you’ve not marketed your product enough?”
The question addresses the elephant in the room while hinting that it could be an ongoing problem if they don’t seek a solution.
Give them the option to decline
This might sound painful, but it might be an option to turn around a client who was ready to say no.
Giving them a chance to say no makes them feel they have control over the conversation, but you’re still in the driver’s seat.
In addition, it makes the environment less tight because prospects will also feel you respect their opinion.
Here’s an example statement: “Does this resonate with your current situation?”
Open your script for personalization
Personalization works like a charm as it tells prospects you have done your homework to get their personal information.
And don’t say you’ve called the prospect by their first name. That’s no longer personalization.
You want to mention unique stuff about the prospect. You can gather this information from social media platforms and use them to curate personalized scripts.
Here’s an example of a personalized script introduction.
“I notice you used to work at [PAST COMPANY]; how did you find the culture there?”
5. Be patient and consistent
92% of sales reps give up after a prospect has said “no” four times.
But here’s the exciting bit. 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say yes. So, in short, closing sales calls isn’t hard.
You just need to be persistent.
The reason is that potential clients won’t accept a call from anyone out of the blue and then buy their product. In fact, the same research found that only 2% of sales occur at the first meeting.
And that only happens if you’ve taken enough time to study the prospect and are sure they need the product.
But you’re still lucky, considering that 98% of the first sales calls don’t end up with a closed prospect.
So give or take, you’ll likely not close most of the sales on that first call.
That simply means that you’ll have to do more.
The best approach so far that’s worked for many sales reps is following up. The more you follow up, the more you can make the prospect change their stance on your product.
On average, you must make around 6-8 phone calls to a prospect before they can convert.
However, you don’t have to make it appear like you’re pushy. Give prospect room to tell you how they want and if they keep resisting, respect their opinion and move on to the next prospect on the list.
Cold calling is an effective strategy for closing leads and has helped countless companies for decades.
While the market has changed, you can still use it to change your business ROI.
Here’s a quick recap of the cold-calling tips and techniques.
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