When asked for Sales Tips for Success, I always include the reminder that you should ‘Do what they aren’t’. By that, I mean, do what your competition ISN’T doing.
Don’t necessarily follow the crowd
Yes, stats may show that Cold Calling Success rates are 46% higher on Wednesdays than they are on Mondays but that usually just means that your prospects are now going to be bombarded by cold callers on Wednesday.
What to do instead
I suggest that you have a regular call schedule and that you call consistently, not haphazardly nor based on the last stat you read or heard. And I also recommend calling on Friday afternoons! Some people may be gone for the day but the people who DO pick up will probably be more cheerful. This is also true of the days before, and the ‘short’ weeks after, long weekends.
Zig when they Zag
The concept of ‘Zigging when others Zag’ is not new. You see it in quotes, as book titles and in too many blogs and podcasts to count. It is used in fields as varied as financial investment to business leadership, in marketing and here, in sales. It is good advice but if you look around, you don’t usually see it implemented. EVERYONE is using the same, salesy script and the same, robotic delivery. And now, because of that stat, they are probably doing it on Wednesday!
Be brave – take a chance and ZIG.
Coco Chanel had the right idea
One of my favorite quotes is from Coco Chanel. She said “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different”. I would take it a step further and say that in order to be successful in sales, one must always be different.
When making Cold Calls, you don’t want to sound like every other sales caller. You don’t want to sound salesy and turn off your prospects before you even have a chance to qualify them. I always say that Cold Calling is about HAVING CONVERSATIONS, not making sales. Approaching your calls with this attitude will shift not only your mindset but the receptivity of your prospect.
Pick up the phone
The humble phone has lost its status as ‘most valuable sales tool’. There are so many other platforms and tools out there that are cheaper, more automated and easier to use that actual phone calling gets lost in the shuffle. I am not saying that you shouldn’t include some of these in your toolkit. I am a huge fan of my CRM (VanillaSoft – click here to learn more!) and social media can be invaluable for networking, building brand awareness and keeping you top of mind. But you still can’t beat the phone for making a real, PERSONAL connection. And personal connections are the foundation for closed sales.
Your Voice = Human Touch
With the prevalence of automated and robo calls, your voice can really make a difference. It can be the human touch and differentiator that helps you stand out from the crowd, making you and what you represent, irreplaceable.
Do you need more sales tips for success? Check out our blog, my podcast series ‘Conversational Selling’ and our videos.
I recently read an article on lead generation and how to drive sales and was surprised – no, I would say SHOCKED! – to see absolutely NO reference to Cold Calling.
Granted the post was listing ‘4 ways’, not ALL ways, to generate leads and drive sales but I think it is a disservice to leave out one of the most effective lead generation tools out there – Cold Calling.
In the post, the author talked about the ‘buyer’s journey’ and focused on the different content needs for each step. I agree that content is needed to support each step in the journey and that the type of content is different for each step. I also think that Cold Calling is an invaluable addition to the mix!
Here are my thoughts on how Cold Calling contributes to each step of the buyer’s journey.
Step 1: Awareness – where we want to establish credibility
Having a set Cold Calling cadence where you reach out to prospects on a regular basis can definitely help establish your credibility and build trust.
And delivering ‘content’ via the human voice trumps any graphic or digital delivery method for establishing credibility and gaining trust.
Step 2: Consideration – where we need to define our Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and how we differ from the competition
I would argue that since most people aren’t bothering to make the effort to Cold Call, picking up the phone and having live conversations sets you apart (makes you ‘unique’)!
I also recommend approaching the call as a ‘Conversation’ rather than as a sales call and that too will make you memorable.
Step 3: Decision: where the client has made the decision to purchase
This step actually occurs long after the Cold Calling stage. But getting to this point requires STARTING with a call to qualify the prospect (making sure they are a good fit) and laying the groundwork for a smooth transition to a successful close.
Step 4: Action: where the client takes action
Like Step 3, this final step is supported and facilitated by ensuring you have qualified leads to begin with. An effective Cold Caller will identify and qualify leads at the outset so they will more efficiently move to and through your funnel.
So, when you are looking for ‘Lead Generation’, definitely start with a strong Cold Calling plan. An effective cold caller will properly and professionally represent your brand, ask the questions needed to determine if the prospect is a good fit for your product or services and will actively LISTEN to the responses to identify pain points and extract the information you need to streamline the path from appointment, through consideration and decision, to close.
Need help getting YOUR Cold Callers up to speed? We can help. Or better yet, we can make your Cold Calls for you!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 908.879.2911 to learn more about how our Cold Calling Services can set the appointments you need to get more prospects into YOUR funnel and started on their Customer Journey with YOU!
Cold Calling has a terrible reputation!
Salespeople avoid making cold calls because they fear being rejected. This reticence leads to fewer calls being made and in the end, fewer sales being closed.
Prospects too, dislike cold calls. They are turned off by the thought of being ‘sold’ to and don’t want their time wasted. And who can blame them? Years of poor selling techniques and a barrage of robo calls have killed the cold call.
I think that Cold Calling needs a new name.
At One of a Kind Sales, we refer to it as Conversational Selling and I believe that, as an industry, we will have more success if we all made that change!
The difference between Cold Calling and Conversational Selling
What is the difference between Cold Calling and Conversational Selling? Well, to be honest, the only real difference in is the salesperson’s attitude!
Conversational Selling follows the same basic steps as Cold Calling. You pick up the phone and call a potential prospect. You speak with them and set an appointment. You follow up and make a sale. But the biggest difference is in the way you approach this.
It’s all about your mindset
On a typical Cold Call, the salesperson is trying to ‘sell’ from the moment they pick up the phone. This is immediately apparent to most prospects and is frequently a real turn-off. It is as if the salesperson is actually setting themself up for failure.
With Conversational Selling, we approach the call as a CONVERSATION. We want to speak with the person to see if they are a good fit for the product or services we represent. We aren’t trying to ‘sell’ them – we are ‘qualifying’ them. We are asking them the questions we need answered to determine if they are a good fit and we are LISTENING to the answers.
Because of this major shift in attitude, we have better conversations with prospects, gleaning more valuable information that leads to setting more, and more qualified, appointments!
It’s not a ‘COLD’ call, it’s a ‘DISCOVERY’ call
At One of a Kind Sales, we refer of the initial call as a DISCOVERY call. We are curious and ask questions. The goal isn’t to sell, but to determine if they are a good fit, and if they are, to set an appointment. The change may sound subtle, but the shift in mindset can seriously shift the tone of the interaction and drastically improve your results!
Cold Calling has died a tortured death. Let’s retire the term and move on. Long live Conversational Selling!
Do you and your team need help making this important shift? Give us a call – we can get you and your team up to speed and setting qualified appointments with Conversational Selling.
And if you just need results, we can make the calls and set qualified appointments for you. Give us a call at 908.879.2911 to get started TODAY!
I frequently hear salespeople say, “Once we get back to ‘face-to-face’ sales, I will be back on my game!” This is often used as an excuse for poor performance over the past months of Virtual Selling. Well, the reality is that Virtual Selling is the new sales ‘normal’. We may get back to more face-to-face interactions but to succeed in sales in 2021 and beyond, you MUST master selling virtually.
A recent article on Forbes included the following stats about virtual selling:
- “High-performing sales reps now spend 22% more time with customers — and they often prefer that time to be spent remotely.What’s more, 70 to 80% percent of B2B customers say they prefer remote interactions.”
- “Since the pandemic, the power of video as a way to connect with customers has surged, and digital interactions with sales reps are up 41%.”
- “The health crisis is reshaping the profession, with sales organizations in the U.S. and Europe finding remote sales models to be as — or more — effective than traditional approaches.”
Studies show that salespeople prefer to work from home.
I was speaking to a colleague who said, “I don’t want to fly all over the place anymore.” He has embraced virtual selling and is using the time he saves to reach and engage with more prospects.
And he is not alone. In a 2020 report by the Center for Sales Strategy, of the salespeople surveyed, the vast majority said that working from home has made them more productive.
Companies are also noticing the savings.
In a Global Sales Enablement Survey report compiled by Hubspot, they found that “64% of sales leaders who invested in remote selling met or exceeded revenue targets” in 2020. And that is for a year where ‘surviving’ was considered a ‘success’!
In the same report, they stated, “the adoption of remote selling is creating a competitive advantage” and found that “63% of sales leaders believe that virtual meetings are just as, or more, effective than in-person meetings”.
Virtual selling is the new sales ‘normal’ and we need to embrace it if we want to stay competitive!
What changes when you move to virtual selling?
Getting comfortable with the new, virtual venues can be a challenge. Technology has advanced tremendously in just the last year. Tools like Zoom and Teams that you may have not used before are now needed daily. Make sure you are familiar with and comfortable with these new options.
For some, this can be daunting. Like anything, learning something new can take a bit of time. Allow yourself some time to practice and don’t worry – you can do this!
Changing your mindset may be both the biggest and most important change. Virtual Selling is the new sales ‘normal’ and embracing that reality is key to your success. Read back through the stats if necessary and the EMBRACE this change. Your future success depends upon it.
Many things will stay the same.
I am a strong believer that many things will actually stay the same when you shift from live to virtual selling. Most of the important skills remain key across all platforms and modes. Memorize your script so you can deliver it naturally and use a CRM to track your prospects. Listening is just as important and invaluable as ever!
Selling is COMMUNICATING – it is about making a human connection. That hasn’t changed and successful salespeople know how to communicate, no matter the venue or platform.
Focus on the prospect, whether it is in person, over the phone or via video call. Make that connection and make that sale!
Do you need help making this transition? Does your team need training to get them ready to succeed with virtual selling? Give us a call at 908-879-2911 – we can provide you and your team with the skills and training you need to succeed.
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.
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, LinkedIn and Twitter for 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!