Many people argue that cold calling is dead, pointless and a thing of the past, when it comes to prospecting. With the rise of social media marketing and the use of ads and email campaigns, the value of the traditional cold call has been questioned. Cold calls involve a ton of rejection, grunt work and discipline. What if this is the underlying reason cold calling is viewed as a “dirty” word? No doubt, making call after call is a difficult task, and it is clearly not for everyone. But what if it actually produces sales results? Let’s break this down into five components and then you can decide how to approach cold calling at your company.
First, have the right mindset before picking up the phone. Whether you are picking up the phone yourself or asking your inside sales reps to do so, demonstrate a winning attitude. Understand that the purpose of making a cold call is NOT to close business, but to generate interest. The idea is to get in the door by scheduling an appointment. The idea is to stay in touch with people and turn those cold, awkward phone calls into warm, welcoming conversations. Cold calls shouldn’t stay cold!
Secondly, understand or learn your numbers. New entrepreneurs or anyone making cold calls for the first time are not sure how many Nos it takes to hear a Yes in their industry sector. The only way to know this is by doing it often. I suggest making 10 calls per day, every day to start, and then increase this to 30 calls per day. Speak to the right decision-makers. Be kind to gatekeepers who are asked to screen the calls. Expect to hear the word No often but then learn how many of them lead to a Yes, “I will meet with you.” Stay motivated. Cold calling is about learning patterns. Pay attention to how many voice messages you need to leave prior to getting a call-back, for instance.
Thirdly, employ the right people. Whether you hire people to make calls for you, or you do them yourself, the following characteristics make success happen: persistence, a willingness to learn, discipline and follow-up. These skills are MORE important than perfect language, mannerisms and years of experience in a particular industry. Cold calling is about taking action and not being afraid of making mistakes or saying the wrong thing because you are a beginner. Working with young people in my own business, I have observed that the ones who do well are ALWAYS keen, focused and ready to go. The polite, strong communicator does not win the race. Employ the right people!
Fourthly, use the progressive voice message method. While it is ideal to speak to a busy executive on the first call attempt, it is more realistic to make several calls to that same individual before getting through. Why not leave a voice message then? Voice messages are powerful if done right. Progressive voice messages occur when the first voice mail links to the second. And the second links to the third, and so forth. It goes something like this: State the date and time of your call along with your message and then state that you are following up from the date stated on the next. This demonstrates credibility and a respect for your time and schedule. Try it.
Lastly, have a strong follow- up system. Success in cold calling comes from follow up. Gentle persistence is key. Simply follow your prospects’ instructions over the phone. If they ask you to check in next quarter, then do so. If they tell you to follow up next month, then do that. Follow their lead and take good notes in your CRM system. A great conversation won’t be remembered if many are being had on a day-to-day basis, no matter how well it went. Keep track of important details pertaining to a particular situation or experience that was shared.
Cold calling is not for the weak at heart. Yet it does produce results. Knowing your numbers allows you to stay motivated. If it takes 1 in 20 calls to obtain a qualified meeting, for example, that process can take less than 1-hour per day. That is 5 hours per week of making cold calls to start. Imagine what can happen if you bump up that number over time!
Expert Nicole AttiasCEO and Founder of Prospect2Win knows cold calling and all the angles all too well. Nicole has been runninginteractive training programs on cold calling, sales and presentation-skills for well over 20 years and can teach you cold calling secrets that still work today!