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!
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!
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!
Salespeople often want to know, ‘how long should a Cold Call last?’ Here are some guidelines and advice.
According to a Sales Hacker stat from Jan 2021, “The most striking difference between cold calls that result in a meeting and those that don’t comes down to how long you can keep the prospect on the phone.”
Successful calls, which they defined as resulting in a “held, follow-up meeting”, lasted on average, 5:50 minutes vs 3:14 for unsuccessful calls.
This aligns with my advice which is that Cold Calls should be between 4 – 9 minutes long.
Calls that last less than 4:00 minutes don’t give you enough time to get the information you need and/or reflect the prospect’s lack of interest and attention.
Cold Calls that go beyond 9:00 minutes DO NOT usually result in a meeting. And if you are on for 11, 12 13 minutes, that is usually just wasted time.
It is important to remember that you don’t want to get into a lengthy conversation. If you are on too long, you will find yourself going into sales mode – which is NOT good!
Cold Calls are for discovery – we are trying to evaluate whether or not they are a good fit and to set an appointment – not sell.
Once you set the appointment, you will have time to research and prepare for that first-time appointment which will be longer. That call should be a 30 – 45 minute conversation.
To get there, make the most of those first 4 – 9 minutes. Have a Cold Call script which is filled with the questions you need answered to determine if this is a qualified prospect. Then be sure to LISTEN to those answers and if appropriate, set that appointment.
The timer is ticking – pick up that phone and get dialing!
Do YOU need help crafting a more effective Cold Calling Script? Give me a call at 908.879.2911 – we can get you and your team up and running with a tight script that gets YOU more qualified leads!
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!