What You Need To Do Before You Start Cold Calling

What You Need To Do Before You Start Cold Calling

People think of cold calling as picking up the phone and continually dialing prospects until you have success. But cold calling is not a random process and you will have much greater success if you set up your process and prepare the right documents before you get started. Successful sales professionals don’t wing it. Cold calling is all about planning and execution. Here’s what you need to do before you start Cold Calling:

 

Research – Compile a list of decision makers and whenever possible obtain their phone numbers and emails. Collect information about the prospect that allows you to engage them in a meaningful conversation.

CRM – Leverage the power of a CRM to set benchmarks, quantify KPI’s, and track your results. This is the best way to collect information about the prospect, to monitor who you have called, where you are in the process and quantify the outcome.

Telephone Scripts – To ensure that you sound professional and your calls are productive, prepare scripts for your initial call, and follow-up calls as well.

Voice Message Scripts – Often you won’t be able to reach your prospects directly by phone. So it will be necessary to leave a brief but meaningful voice mail messages. Have them prepared before you start dialing.

FAQ’s – You want to be prepared when the prospect asks questions. Anticipate and prepare responses to potential objections. Spend some time to document what questions they might ask and what your responses should be.

Training – It’s important that each salesperson is well versed in all the steps and potential outcomes of the process. Role playing is a good way to accomplish this.

Practice – Practice is the only way for you to know your pitch cold and to sound natural on your calls. Your goal is to have a conversation with the prospect, not sell them.

Think of your process as your secret weapon, helping you manage your efforts and more easily achieve your objectives. Need help establishing an effective process for yourself and your sales team? Give us a call at 908.879.2911 or email Leads@OneofaKindSales.com, we can help!

Now’s Not the Time to Deviate from the Plan

Reach the Goal!

According to an Ask Your Target Market survey, 59% of Americans take vacation sometime during July and August.

Certainly not everyone is away and those that are away are not gone for 2 months. Generally, those in the workforce take one or two weeks.

So why do so many people stop cold calling in the summer? This has a detrimental, long-term effect on sales quotas and year-end results.

Instead, use this time to your advantage to keep your plan on target and get a leg-up on the competition.

Stay committed

Just because people are on vacation doesn’t mean that you should be making only a half-hearted commitment to qualifying leads. In a given week, you’ll reach some people and not others, but you can keep the process moving ahead.

You may reach a prospect before they leave for vacation and the process may drag out because of it. When they return, you can pick right back up where you left off. If you need to, adjust your daily and weekly activity goals.

Don’t assume

Just because it is the summer, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. You don’t know if your prospect is away. Engage your usual call campaign, leaving brief messages, following up with emails and calling again.

Use time to your advantage

Because you may have a little more time on your hands, summertime is a good time to reconnect with in-process leads. Review your accounts, check in with them and find out what is new with them, personally and in business. A little interest goes a long way in your relationship.

Call on leads you might have overlooked at other times of the year, opportunities that, for whatever reason, didn’t materialize. As your competitors take a break from cold calling, this is your opportunity to get in front of these folks and build rapport.

Keep your pipeline full

When you take a hiatus from qualified lead generation your pipeline dries up and you have a huge fall-off in closed sales in a month or months following.  There’s a ripple effect in your work flow that can have a substantial negative impact on sales for the year.

Let’s say you stop cold calling July 1st and resume September 1st. What will you or your team be working on at the end of July, in August or in September or October? You’ve created a gap in qualified leads that could last months. You’ve lost the momentum of the campaign.

A cold calling campaign is a process of initial calls, emails and building rapport. Interfering with this process will set you back, possibly months.

The pace may lighten up during the summer, but sales activities need to continue. Stay committed and don’t let your business stagnate.

If you cannot stay committed to your inside sales effort, contact One of a Kind Solutions. We can help.

Why Your Cold Calling Isn’t Resulting in Appointments

nullAs technology permeates every aspect of our lives, we can lose sight of the importance of staying in touch with prospects. Customer relationships are at the core of sales. When you nurture relationships, you endear your customers to your brand and your business. Without this, your leads will go nowhere and sales will fall far short of goals.

Building a relationship and converting a prospect into a sales-ready lead, raises awareness and establishes a 1:1 personal relationship with each prospect. A successful lead generation campaign engages on many levels.

Keeps their attention. Engage and get the buyer’s attention through a multi-touch approach, routinely throughout the year. Response rates rise with each subsequent outreach attempt. But most sales pros give up after less than two touch points. In fact, on average, salespeople don’t even get to a second touch point when reaching out to a decision maker. This is such a lost opportunity!

Cultivates the relationship. B2B customer acquisition isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time to develop a relationship. Cold calling fails when call campaigns are not given enough time to mature. Continuous one-on-one communication using various channels helps cultivate the relationship.

Maintains awareness for when they are ready to convert. A prospect may not convert to an appointment by the end of one call cycle or even four, but that doesn’t mean that the prospect won’t be interested at a later date. Repeat the cycle to keep you and your company top of mind for when they do want to take the next step.

Engages on multiple levels. Being top of mind is one of the best ways to reinforce your relationship and turn leads into appointments. A multi-level effort using calls, voicemail, email and LinkedIn, with sales and marketing working together can be very effective in raising awareness, keeping you top of mind and getting the prospect ready to make the commitment for an appointment and subsequently a sale. The multiple touches and the continuity of the effort are crucial components of lead nurturing. Touch points are opportunities to prepare leads for the final stage in the buying journey, the point of decision-making. The better the experience and the more valuable each of these touch points are to leads, the more likely they’ll be ready to make a buying decision and convert to paying customers.

A successful cold calling campaign is more complex than you may be able to develop yourself. Contact One of Kind Solutions to see how we can help.

Are You Ready for a Cold Calling Campaign?

Your leads have been properly qualified as a good fit for what you are selling. But the leads aren’t getting closed.

When qualified leads don’t turn into sales, cold calling campaigns can be erroneously considered to be root of the problem. The failure to close sales cannot be attributed to the cold calling campaign when other conditions may be in play.

Proper training, preparation and having the right tools on hand will ensure that qualified leads result in closed sales.

Training and role-playing. Often reps are not properly trained to take the call/meeting to closure. The goal of the salesperson isn’t to just make a one-time sale but to position themselves as someone that understands the customer’s needs, someone to be trusted, and someone that the customer can turn to for solutions to their problems. Role-playing techniques help salespeople to become comfortable using this consultative selling approach.

Preparing and planning. When it comes to sales calls, don’t wing it. Prepare by becoming knowledgeable about the company and the prospect you will be speaking to. Have on hand all paperwork, forms, etc. that the customer will need to move forward. Plan by anticipating any objections that might arise and knowing how to respond to them.

Tools. Scripts are a useful tool to guide how the call or visit should go. Base scripts on the ultimate goal for the meeting but be as specific as possible when goal setting and writing scripts. Be sure to include thoughtful questions that will open the prospect to discussion. Leverage rather than read your script to make sure progress is made through the call to reach your goal.

Hiring. There is no training or preparation in the world that will make a rep successful if that person does not possess the need for achievement, an underlying competitiveness and overall optimism. If a rep is still not successful after the proper training, planning and preparation, it’s time to re-examine your hiring process because you are not attracting the right people.

Select people who are suited for the job, and train and prepare them properly to sell and close. Then you are ready to launch a cold calling campaign and turn qualified leads into sales.

Your Cold Calling New Year’s Resolution – Resolve to Avoid Unrealistic Expectations

Start the New Year off right with a resolution to avoid unrealistic expectations for your cold calling efforts in the coming year. This may seem straightforward, but setting realistic expectations actually requires quite a bit of consideration about your company and the marketplace, as well as understanding the process. Answer the following questions and then you’ll be able to set realistic expectations for your lead generation campaign.

About your company and what you sell

  • What are your goals?
  • Where is your revenue now and where do you want it to be in 1 year? In 2 years?
  • What are the biggest opportunities and the biggest threats to your business?
  • Does your brand communicate a unique and powerful message?

About the marketplace

  • Who is your target audience? How would they best learn about your company?
  • Who are your competitors? What sets you apart from your competitors?
  • What is the greatest flaw in your industry as your prospects may perceive it?
  • What is your value proposition? What does your company offer that is considered value-added?
  • Why do customers buy from you?

About the process

  • Has your sales team been trained on these key areas about your company, your audience and your competitors? An effective campaign cannot be realized without imparting this information to the team.
  • A call campaign takes 6-9 months to ramp-up. Do you have the patience to see it through?
  • Calling from a cold list requires scrubbing which increases ramp-up time. Do your expectations account for this?

Without answers to these questions, your campaign will fall short of your goals. A lack of understanding of your business means a much higher chance of things not going according to plan. Once you have gathered all this information, then you can set realistic time frames and outcomes. Cold calling, if done correctly, is an investment that will pay off in the long term.

How Suspending Cold Calling Hurts Your Business

It is likely that you, people on your sales team and your prospects will take a week off sometime during July and August. Perhaps a few will take 2 weeks. But does that mean you should stop cold calling during the summer? The impact of suspending or delaying your cold calling campaign will be far reaching.

In terms of business activity, the summer months may seem a little quieter. However, suspending cold calling, will impact sales results for months to come. Here’s why.

  • You lose the opportunity to set-up an appointment at any time. There is no particular day or time that is better or worse to reach out to a prospect.
  • By suspending your cold calling campaign, you will lose the momentum of the campaign. A cold calling campaign is a combination of initial calls, emails and building rapport. Interfering with this process will set you back, possibly to the beginning.
  • You may lose the rapport you had established with prospects.
  • You now have a gap in your sales funnel. Without a constant flow of prospects to your sales team, there will be a lag in sales in the coming month or months.
  • By suspending cold calling efforts, you have increased the length of your sales cycle. You may have initiated contact in June but with a lapse in effort, those prospects won’t be closed for months.
  • When your sales team isn’t working on high-quality warm leads, your revenue generation efforts risk becoming stagnant. It will be harder to close a prospect who doesn’t have you top-of-mind.
  • When lead qualification is not a priority, sales cannot be closed effectively. A lapse in cold calling creates a roller coaster ride in profit and loss.

When you take sales for granted, that’s when sales fall short. It’s never a good idea to suspend cold calling efforts because it will have a ripple effect on the entire sales process, revenues and profits.