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 email@example.com 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!
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!
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!
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