How Often Should You Reach Out to Prospects?

There are a few different answers to the question, ‘how often should you reach out to prospects?’

Frequency of calling 

First, let’s talk about how often you should be picking up the phone and having conversations with prospects.

I am a strong believer that ALL salespeople should be cold calling on a regular basis. Yes, even senior salespeople!

Dialing and engaging with prospects keeps your skills sharp, models good habits to your younger employees and helps you stay ‘in the game’. Making calls is the best way to stay familiar with current tools, aware of the latest objections (though those do seem to stay the same over the years) and helps you formulate new and innovative ways to interact with potential clients. 

How many days a week you set aside for cold calling and how many calls you make per day should be based on your goals and your call/ appointment ratio. See our post Know and Monitor Your KPI’s for Cold Calling Success for how to calculate this ratio and other KPI’s you should be monitoring.

And check out our post Less is More for more on how many calls YOU should be making.

Follow-up calls 

The second answer to the question of how often you should reach out to prospects is related to following up after that initial call.

I refer to this as our ‘Cadence’. We use a four-week cadence where we reach out to a prospect at least two times each week for four weeks. If, after those contacts, we have determined that they are a good fit but have not yet set an appointment, we put them into a rotation where we will reach out to them again in 90 days.

Note: this rotation may vary based on the number of leads you have. I never recommend exceeding 120 days.

So, while there is no single ‘right’ answer to how often you should reach out to prospects, this post should give you the information you need to determine the right answer for YOU.

Remember, phone skills are like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets! Check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedInand Twitterfor more on how to beef up YOUR phone skills and give us a call at  908.879.2911 to set up one-on-one or team training on how to more effectively use Cold Calling to build YOUR business!

How long should a Cold Call last?

Salespeople often want to know, ‘how long should a Cold Call last?’ Here are some guidelines and advice.

According to a Sales Hacker stat from Jan 2021, “The most striking difference between cold calls that result in a meeting and those that don’t comes down to how long you can keep the prospect on the phone.”

Successful calls, which they defined as resulting in a “held, follow-up meeting”, lasted on average, 5:50 minutes vs 3:14 for unsuccessful calls.

This aligns with my advice which is that Cold Calls should be between 4 – 9 minutes long.

Calls that last less than 4:00 minutes don’t give you enough time to get the information you need and/or reflect the prospect’s lack of interest and attention.

Cold Calls that go beyond 9:00 minutes DO NOT usually result in a meeting. And if you are on for 11, 12 13 minutes, that is usually just wasted time.

It is important to remember that you don’t want to get into a lengthy conversation.  If you are on too long, you will find yourself going into sales mode – which is NOT good!

Cold Calls are for discovery – we are trying to evaluate whether or not they are a good fit and to set an appointment – not sell.

Once you set the appointment, you will have time to research and prepare for that first-time appointment which will be longer. That call should be a 30 – 45 minute conversation.

To get there, make the most of those first 4 – 9 minutes. Have a Cold Call script which is filled with the questions you need answered to determine if this is a qualified prospect. Then be sure to LISTEN to those answers and if appropriate, set that appointment.

The timer is ticking – pick up that phone and get dialing! 

Do YOU need help crafting a more effective Cold Calling Script? Give me a call at 908.879.2911 – we can get you and your team up and running with a tight script that gets YOU more qualified leads!

Optimism increases Sales

They say that optimists see the glass as half full. I say that optimists see a full sales pipeline!

Let me explain.

Which would you rather spend time with – a person who is grumpy and glum or a positive, happy person? I would take the positive one every time! And when making cold calls, that positive attitude can be the difference between keeping a prospect on the phone until they set an appointment and having them hang up.

Now don’t get me wrong, hang ups happen, and sometimes, if they weren’t a good fit, that works in your favor – saving you time and effort. But if you want to keep people on the phone long enough to see if they ARE a good fit, a positive outlook is key.

Put on those ‘Rose Colored Glasses’.

Optimism is defined as “A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.”

In a business where so much of your day can be determined by the actions of others, it is great to know that this is something you can drive. What you ‘expect’ and what you ‘dwell on’ are both within YOUR control.

Control those and you gain more control over your results.

Data supports the claim.

Studies show that optimists outsell pessimists, in some cases by many times over! Here is an example of the results from a study done by Dr Martin Seligman, an expert in ‘positive psychology’, from just two industries:

                  Insurance 

                  Optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 38 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 88 percent.

                  Real Estate 

                  Optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 33 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by a whopping 319 percent. 

This doesn’t mean that you have to be unrealistically optimistic. You need to be able to acknowledge challenges and obstacles. I am suggesting that you confidently address them and move one. That you focus on the silver lining rather than the clouds. Don’t dwell on the hang-ups or the unanswered calls, rather, focus on the person you are going to speak with next. Be present and enjoy meeting them. Learn about their needs and see how you can help!  

And yes, you can take this too far. Being blindly optimistic can be detrimental to your sales goals. Sitting at your desk, or worse yet, on a distant beach, imagining that prospects will start calling YOU probably won’t fill your pipeline.  

But a good dose of optimism WILL boost your confidence, your outlook and your bottom line! 

For more on this see our post Control What You Can in Sales and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter for daily sales tips, advice and periodic boosts of optimism!

Cold Calling Tips: How Much Should YOU be Talking on a Sales Call?

How much should you be talking on a Sales call? I recently came across a post from SalesHacker, which suggested that “the best talk-to-listen ratio is 55%:45%.”

They went on to explain, “as a salesperson, you’re taught to do more listening than talking. This is true in some stages of the sales process, but not in a cold call. Gong.io says the most successful talk-to-listen ratio is 55% : 45%, with agents talking more than the prospect. A good rule of thumb is to prepare to carry the majority of the conversation and calibrate yourself to keep your talk level at just over half of the potential customer’s.”

I disagree!

We recommend a 70/30 ratio with the sales person doing only 30% of talking.

A Cold Call is a DISCOVERY call – the only way you will discover if it is worth scheduling an appointment with the prospect is if you let THEM do the talking!

Your job, when Cold Calling, is to engage the prospect in a conversation and ask key, probing questions to determine if they are a good fit for your product or services. To do that, you need to LISTEN more than talk.

Yes, you need to be prepared with questions but you need to be sure to leave time and room on the call to HEAR the answers.

How much should YOU be talking on a Sales call?

Here are some more posts and podcasts on this topic:

Active Listening: It is more than just hearing what your prospect is saying

Prepare for Cold Calling Success

My podcast with Laurel Bernstein on ‘How Active Listening Can Help You Sell More Effectively’

Need help mastering the art of Listening? Give us a call! Our time proven sales system will show you what to say, how and when to say it and how to really listen.

Contact me at 908.879.2911 or nancy@oneofakindsales.com to learn more and to get started TODAY! 

How to Leave a Voicemail When Cold Calling

How many of YOUR Cold Calls are going to voicemail? How many of your voicemails are getting returned?

According to a 2019 survey by RingLead, 80% of cold calls go to voicemail. And that is actually an improvement over the 2013 stat, by sales strategist Jill Konrath who stated that, at the time, 97% of calls were going to voicemail.

Either way, having your call go to voicemail is a VERY common outcome when Cold Calling. This is true for ALL calls. This post will address how to leave a voicemail when Cold Calling and more importantly, how to leave a voicemail that will get a return call.

Why bother? 

First, let’s be clear – you should ALWAYS leave a voicemail when Cold CallingIt’s free. It’s a chance to make a connection and a positive impression – do it!

Don’t do an info dump! 

I cannot stress enough that you should NOT use this opportunity to dump all your info on your prospect’s voice mail.

You should NOT do an info dump face to face either, but that is a topic for another time.

Make it compelling 

Be interesting. Be curious. Be intriguing. Give them a reason to return your call. 

For example, say, “your name came up recently in a conversation and it motivated me to reach out to you.”

Keep it short and simple 

Enough said.

Use a script 

As we noted above, the odds are good that you will be sent to voicemail. Don’t treat it like an afterthought.

This interaction is just as important as your live conversation with the prospect. Have it worked out and written down so you can follow it seamlessly.

Don’t have a script? Don’t know what to say? Call us at 908.879.2911 – we can craft an effective script that gets helps YOU set more qualified appointments and leave voicemail messages that get returned.

Be natural 

But be sure that you don’t sound like a robot when you are leaving your (scripted) voicemail message. People get enough robocalls! Differentiate yourself by being natural and human.

Be Ready 

Be prepared to WOW them if/ when they do return the call.

There is nothing worse than someone returning your call to follow up on what you said in the voicemail, and you don’t remember or know what they are talking about!

A WARM call 

When they return your call, it is no longer a COLD call. They have ‘met’ you – they have heard your voice and have an idea of how you can help them.

This is now an opportunity to build a relationship with someone who has expressed some interest. Don’t blow it!

Tech is your friend 

We use VanillaSoft Sales Engagement software to pre-record our voicemail messages. This allows us to perfect the scripting, tone and cadence so we can drop a great version into their voicemail every time!

Click here to learn more about VanillaSoft.

Not a Deal Closer 

A voicemail is just one of many touchpoints with a prospect. It is not designed to close a deal but to open the door to having a productive call.

Good luck and keep dialing!

Do you need help with YOUR Cold Calling scripts? Would you like our pros to take care of your Cold Calling for you? Give me a call at 908.879.2911 or click here to set up a time to talk!

Need more Cold Calling tips? Check out:

Prepare for Cold Calling Success.

A Better Approach to Cold Calling.

Step by Step Guide to Sales Prospecting Success – Step 1: The Cold Call.