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.
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:
Optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 38 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 88 percent.
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!
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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and to get started TODAY!
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.
First, let’s be clear – you should ALWAYS leave a voicemail when Cold Calling. It’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
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.
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 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.
A Step by Step Guide to Sales Prospecting Success – Step 1: The Cold Call.
As we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I wanted to provide you with some tips for prospecting post–covid and on how to re-engage prospects as the pandemic starts to wind down.
First, let me congratulate you on weathering the storm! This has been a stressful time for all of us and my condolences go out to any of you who have lost loved ones during this difficult time.
And congratulations for having a business that is still alive. As I said early on, it won’t be easy and the strong and persistent will be the ones that are still standing at the other end. Take a moment to appreciate your accomplishment.
In sales, we tend to only look forward but this is a moment, if there ever was one, to look back, take stock and appreciate what you still have.
OK, enough of that – back to looking forward! Here are 5 ways to re-engage prospects as the pandemic starts to wind down and you are prospecting post-covid.
1. Pick up the phone:
Yes, the phone is still one of your best tools for engagement and in this case, re-engagement. Dust off that list of prospects who didn’t have the time/budget or bandwidth during the pandemic and start dialing.
2. Be human:
Be a bit more patient and compassionate as you reach people. A lot of people have been struggling and may need to re-enter slowly. A hard pitch is NEVER the right approach but now, more than ever, warmer, more human outreach is needed.
3. Adjust your script:
If you haven’t been re-working your script all along, now is the time to re-visit your wording. Consider adding some warmth, updated stats and some post pandemic optimism.
4. Go live:
As the world starts to re-open, consider making some live appointments. Not everyone will be receptive but offering this option may help you stand out in the crowd and make those authentic connections that lead to real sales.
5. Don’t quit!
Use all your Social channels and resources to connect and engage with your prospects. Don’t be discouraged.
When prospecting post-covid, picture yourself as a shark in the ocean – keep moving!
As we all begin to re-enter the wider world, I want to thank you for being a part of my community. Thank you for reading and sharing my content and please let me know what you would like me to address in the future.
Drop me a line at Nancy@OneOfAKindSales.com – I am always looking for great questions to answer here!
Thank you and stay well.
For more tips on prospecting post-covid, check out these posts:
How long should a Cold Call last?
Optimism increases Sales
‘Send me an email’ – are YOU hearing this Cold Calling Objection? It is always one of the top five Cold Calling Objections Salespeople face. In this post I will address why you may be getting this objection and how to deal with it.
Send me an email
Does this sound familiar? There you are, in the middle of your conversation and the prospect says, ‘send me an email’.
This is frustrating and, if you are not well prepared, it can leave you flustered. But you CAN turn this around.
First let’s look at WHY they might be saying this and then some things you can say to keep the conversation alive.
Why are they saying this?
When prospects say ‘send me an email’, they may mean any number of things. Your job is to figure out which it is so you can respond more appropriately.
- Are they trying to blow you off?
If they are blowing you off, (and chances are good that they are) you want to professionally challenge them to get to the truth.
My comeback is, “I am not suggesting this is you, but often, when people say this, they are not really interested but don’t want to hurt my feelings by saying so. Is that the case here? Please let me know – it’s OK”
This can save both of you time and free you up to move to your next prospect.
- Are they just trying to get off the phone?
Maybe they really are short on time, going into a meeting or onto another call. Maybe they were in the middle of something and really can’t talk. Respect their time and ask to schedule a time that would work better for them. This will probably get you farther than just plowing ahead.
“I’m sensing this is not a good time for us to speak, what day/time would be better?” (if they don’t commit to date/time they may be blowing you off)
- Maybe they prefer to read vs hear information
Some people do really prefer to read information or they know they will need written documentation to make a decision. Be sure that you have quality, written collateral that you can forward via email and schedule a call to discuss it.
Make sure they commit to the follow-up call date and time. If they don’t, especially if they say, ‘I will get back to you’, then they are probably blowing you off. Send them the information. move on and recycle the lead for a future conversation.
What NOT to do
Most sales people will just say, “Sure, give me your email address and I will follow-up in a day or two”. That is typically what happens and then you just sound like everyone else. We never recommend doing that!
What to say
If they do ask you to send an email, get that email address. It is a crucial addition to your database.
Then, explain that you need a bit more info to be sure you send the materials that are right for THEM. Try, “Sure, and please let me know what you would like to see” or “what would you like to learn more about?”
Another way to address this is to explain that you have entirely TOO much information to send and would like to be sure to only send what is relevant. Ask them, “What have I spoken about that is most relevant?” or “Which of our products/services seem like the best fit?” or reinforce, “What are the issues you are experiencing right now?”
Jeb Blount, a well-known Sales trainers, has a great tactic – he says, “I am happy to bring you information, it all comes attached to me, see you Thursday at 2”. As he points out, this only works if you are super confident.
Either way, be sure to add “The content is much easier to understand with my explanation” and set up a time to call back to discuss it.
Buy yourself some time
All of these options buy you a bit of time to ask the key questions you need answered to see if they are even worth pursuing as a prospect.
We always train our salespeople to be clear and confident when Cold Calling. Ask them if they are busy or just blowing you off. No matter what the real objection is, getting to that TRUTH, sooner than later, will save you time and frustration.
Click here to read more about this.
Facing objections is never fun but when you are prepared, you can more successfully address them and move on!
If you and/or your team need help practicing how to effectively address this and other frequently heard objections, give us a call at 908.879.2911. We are Cold Calling pros and can get you up to speed quickly!