Six Steps to Improve Your Cold Calling Results

One of the most challenging parts of selling is cold calling.  Like all of us, salespeople dislike rejection and don’t want to hear the word “no.” And many have never been trained how to do cold calling.  As a result, many salespeople find cold calling intimidating. Aside from the fear of rejection, there is a concern that they are “interrupting” someone to make a pitch.  But as professional salespeople, they need to keep in mind that the person on the other end of the call may have a need for the potential solution they offer. If the prospect sees that value in having their problem solved, it is well worth the interruption.

In a recent Zoom Info article, cold calling was deemed “very to extremely effective” by almost 30% of professional salespeople.  Also, it was reported that almost 70% of buyers accept cold calls.   Given these statistics, it’s clear that cold calling presents a real opportunity to prospect for new business. In our experience as professional cold callers, once our callers reach their targeted prospects, most of them get the opportunity to make their initial case without the call terminating before that point.

What goes into making cold calling more effective?  I believe preparation is critical to success.  Below are just some of the steps we take to make our cold calling as efficient as it can be.

  1. The call list should be targeted to the segment you are pursuing. This ensures that your offering is relevant to the prospects you are pursuing.
  2. Develop a script that lays out what you want to communicate. Don’t repeat the script word for word. Use it to internalize your message. This prepares you to be able to say exactly what you want to say the moment you get the opportunity to connect.  You’ll only have seconds to make an impression.
  3. Check your mindset. Think of yourself as an equal to the prospect you want to connect with.  Remember they have a problem, and you have a solution.
  4. Make sure the purpose of your call is clear to the prospect, so they understand how what you are calling about is relevant to their business.
  5. Remember this is a dialogue. Let the prospect speak. This is when you’ll learn whether there is an opportunity for your solution now.
  6. Every time you speak to the prospect remember you are establishing a relationship – one that will earn you the right to speak to them again, whether for a follow up appointment if there is a current opportunity, or for a check-in several months from now if there isn’t a current need.

If your team can incorporate this approach, it can help take cold calling outreach to the next level and bring in new opportunities for growth.

At One of a Kind Sales, we love cold calling!  If you need help implementing cold calling within your sales team, give us a call at 908-879-2911 to learn how we can help.

How to Get More Qualified Leads

Have you had the experience of meeting with a prospect and gradually discovering that the “ideal” prospect is not ideal at all?  Afterwards, you may feel like you’ve wasted your time and energy.

If you’re leading a sales team who has been experiencing this, not only is it frustrating, but it can also turn out to be quite costly. Time spent meeting with the wrong people could have been spent in a more focused and profitable way. And if this happens often enough it can bring down team morale.

There are steps you can take to ensure that this never happens.  But it involves something that may be the hardest part of sales – picking up the phone to qualify leads and confirm that they are true prospects.  Salespeople often tell me that this is something that they avoid. It is much easier to have a conversation with a warm lead than to do a cold call.

A Strong Pre-Sales Process

At One of a Kind Sales, we know that cold calling is a key component of pre-sales.  It’s the prospecting “legwork” that must be done to get a list of qualified leads. All things being equal, when a sales team is working with a list of qualified leads, they’ll have better success because they are meeting with the right people.

A strong pre-sales process uses multiple methods to build a list for the sales team to target. The process includes activities such as prospecting via social media and email, and cold calling.

Our experience is that cold calling is a critical component in the pre-sales process. Ultimately a well-executed cold calling campaign ensures that the sales team’s appointments are with the right people.

Our Recommendations

  • Implement a strong pre-sales process within your organization to build a qualified list of prospects that your sales team can pursue.
  • Alternatively, consider outsourcing the lead qualification process.

Remember, a sales team working with a list of truly qualified leads will result in shorter sales process and faster revenue growth.

At One of a Kind Sales, we love cold calling!  If your sales team needs help implementing a pre-sales process or you would like to outsource cold calling for your sales team, reach out to us at 908-879-2911.

 

Summer Cold Callers’ Jumpstart

This time of year, when I tell people I’m a cold calling expert, they often comment, ‘well this must be a tough season for you and your team because it’s summer.’  This belief that everyone is on vacation and decisions are not being made is a common misperception.

In fact, our experience is quite the opposite.  Here are some tips to make sure that you can use to jumpstart your summer cold calling activity and increase the likelihood of success.

  1. Know your target: Understanding your target means that you’ll know what motivates them to be interested in your offering.
  2. Know who the decision makers are: The decision maker is the one person you need for the appointment when you are cold calling.
  3. Develop and use a good script. Having a script allows you to think about and internalize your approach to the call in advance and anticipate different paths of discussion that might occur.
  4. Understand how your solution solves their problem. You’ll need to be able to recognize when a prospect is telling you something that indicates they are a qualified lead.
  5. Use Active listening. Make sure you’re not doing most of the talking. Allow the prospect to tell you about themselves and their business. This is when we learn what the opportunity really is.
  6. Pivot for the appointment. Once you’ve confirmed that there is a need, go for the appointment. Remember that a typical cold call is generally no more than 4 to 9 minutes. Making the appointment with a qualified lead is your objective. Leave deeper probes will be made during the first 30-minute appointment

Yes, these steps look like the basics…. and in fact, they are the tried-and-true core of cold calling best practices.  There’s a reason why they are best practices – it’s because they work no matter the time of year.

If you need help implementing best practices as an individual salesperson or with an inside sales team you manage, reach out to us.  We LOVE cold calling.  Contact us at 908-879-2911.

Selling Preparedness Equals Selling Success

Memorial Day is often thought of as the official start of summer – and depending on where you live, it’s also the official start of hurricane season. If you live in one of these hurricane-prone areas, this is the time of year that officials start reminding residents about hurricane preparedness. You need to plan in advance for what you’ll do when a hurricane strikes because not having a plan can put your life at risk.

This focus on preparation always reminds me of my business, One of a Kind Sales. Preparation is a critical success factor in sales. And that’s never more apparent than when you are making cold calls to set up appointments.

Anticipate the ‘Pain Point’

Here’s a cold calling sales preparation tip for you. Make sure you understand what factor motivates your prospect to be interested in your solution and ensure that you have a plan for how to engage in a discussion about it. Often this motivating factor is referred to as a ‘pain point.’  Prospects will express it as a source of frustration, or dissatisfaction. As cold callers we are looking for this as a point of qualification that the prospect could be a good candidate for our solution. As part of your sales preparation, you should anticipate several ‘pain points’ your prospects could have that they would like to resolve. Your plan should involve becoming conversant in these areas so that you are able to engage your prospect.

Start with a Script

I’ve personally found that it’s best to start with a script. When I mention ‘creating a script,’ it’s not so you can learn to recite the script word for word, but so that you can begin to internalize the messaging. When it comes to eliciting ‘pain points’, writing out your prompts and your responses in a script format helps to organize your thoughts. Reviewing the script helps make the responses second nature to you. This improves your ability to have a discussion with your prospect. Working this way, you don’t have to “wing it” based on what the prospect says to you. You’ve prepared by anticipating several possible responses and you are truly ready to engage.

Go for the Appointment

Once you’ve confirmed that the prospect is experiencing a discomfort, frustration, or ‘pain’ that you’re your solution addresses, you’ve qualified the prospect. Your next step is to set up the initial appointment.

At One of a Kind Sales, our core expertise is Cold Calling! We’d love to work with you to create the most productive approach for you and your team. To explore the possibilities, give us a call at 908.879.2911.

Good Selling!

Selling is Not a Race to the Finish

I know the feeling. You’ve got the prospect on the phone, and you’ve confirmed that they likely have a problem you can solve. You’ve secured the appointment. And then you think to yourself: ‘why not just give them a little preview and see if you can get them even more primed for the first appointment? Who will it hurt anyway?  Won’t it speed up the sales process?’

I have learned that taking this approach is both premature and risky. The further you move away from the established process for cold calling, the more likely you are to get poor results. While it might seem that moving some aspects of the first scheduled meeting into that initial phone call might speed things up, it’s better not to.   In fact, when you get this feeling, that’s when you need to slow things down. Why?

Learn From the Prospect

Keep in mind that although you may feel that you know all you need to know about the prospect, at this point  what you know is just the tip of the iceberg.  There is so much more.  During the first scheduled appointment, you’ll focus on establishing rapport and confirm their communication style. Also, you’ll encourage them to speak in greater detail about how the problem you solve impacts their business. It is unwise to proceed directly into “sell mode” without this information.

Focus on the Prospect, Not Yourself

When you enter “sales mode” in a cold call, you shift the focus from the prospect to yourself and your business. This is counter to the way that we can differentiate ourselves.  To accomplish this differentiation,  we need to keep the focus on the prospect.  Keep these questions in mind:

  • What are they experiencing?
  • How do they feel about it?
  • How is it impacting them?

During the call, your job is to listen and learn in order to capture and acknowledge what they are saying to you.

Establish and Maintain Your Differentiation

When you start selling during that initial phone call, you may not realize it but you will sound just like every other salesperson. Rather than listening to the prospect, and learning from them, you’re busy telling them why they need you. Rather than hearing and understanding how the problem you can solve impacts them, you’re discussing an impact that might not be important to them, and potentially losing an opportunity as a result.  To the prospect this interaction feels more like a hard sell than relationship building.

In my experience, I’ve learned that its best to stay laser focused on the main objective of that initial cold call: confirming that there is a need that can be addressed and making the appointment.  That’s all.

At One of a Kind Sales, our core expertise is Cold Calling! We’d love to work with you to create the most productive approach for you and your team. To explore the possibilities, give us a call  at 908.879.2911.

Good Selling!

Self-Care for Cold Callers – Part 2

Cold callers are faced with challenges every day.  In our previous blog (Part 1), we suggested tips that cold callers can use to manage their well-being:  leveraging training to be as prepared as possible, focusing on learning opportunities as they make calls (continuous improvement), and understanding what they can control and what they cannot control.

Other aspects of cold calling success are tied to environmental factors – in particular, with whom and where we work.

In my experience, I’ve learned that it’s most helpful to work in a TEAM environment.  This way you’re surrounded by others who are doing the same thing and facing the same challenges. You can get support from your team, and you can celebrate wins with your team. You can learn from the experiences of other team members, and you can share what you’ve learned as well. You’re looking for a team that loves what they do.  Whether you are working virtually or in an office with the rest of your team members present, leverage the opportunity to share and exchange experiences and ideas.

Another aspect of environment is the type of organization you work for.  Ideally, you should work for an organization that understands and VALUES THE SALES FUNCTION.  I’ve found that organizations that value sales tend to be more successful in their missions.  Clearly, as revenue generators, you have high value to the organization. Your skills are critical.  An organization that values sales will reward achieving the objective and won’t penalize a salesperson for factors that are beyond their scope.  For example, my sales team is responsible for setting appointments and they are rewarded for this accomplishment.  They are not penalized if the appointment needs to be changed or cancelled because we value the fact that they have achieved their objective.

Working in a team environment in an organization that values the sales function will set you up for success and you can anticipate having many more GOOD SELLING days than bad selling days.

And what’s a good selling day?  At the end of a good day you’ve had wonderful conversations, helped build relationships that will lead to potential revenue, learned something in the process either from team members or from your own experiences, and shared what you’ve learned with others to strengthen your team.

Cold calling is our sweet spot.  We LOVE creating the plan, building selling skills, and making cold calls. If you need help creating an environment that is supportive for an effective cold calling team or want to add cold calling to your sales mix, call us at 908.879.2911.

Good Selling!