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.

Making Closing Easier

Closing new business is the main objective of professional salespeople.  Everyone knows sales is a challenging career.  To outsiders who know little about sales, closing new business seems to be the hardest part- a mysterious technique that is often unsuccessful.  But believe it or not, we’ve seen that closing can be easy if you’ve paved the way with your prospect by taking the right steps.  Closing should be a natural outcome of a discussion between you and your prospect. By the time you get to the close, your prospect has reached the unavoidable conclusion that your solution is just what their business needs.  The “hard work” of sales lies in taking the right steps throughout the process that result in an easy close.

What Makes Closing Easier?

First, be sure you are addressing the real decision maker. There is nothing more frustrating than discovering that you’ve walked through an entire sales process only to find that the person you’ve developed a relationship with needs to bring in another party who will ultimately make the decision.

Confirm that your prospect’s problem can be addressed by your solution. Take time to fully understand how the problem has impacted their business, what stress it has caused, what resources it has consumed, and what they’ve already done to address it. This allows you to adjust your script to speak directly to their challenges and their experiences.

Make sure that you are getting mini ‘buy-ins’ as you are progressing through the sales process.  Do this by ensuring that this is a two-way conversation. Check for agreement at key points in the discussion.  You’ll be able to assess your prospect’s level of engagement, confirm their level of interest, and address potential objections.

Above all, throughout the engagement, never forget that “people buy from other people”. Make sure that your prospect feels good about connecting with you and is looking forward to working with you.

If you’ve taken these steps, once you are ready to close, you can simply ask: “What would you like to happen next?”

At One of a Kind Sales, we are sales experts.  We provide services that help qualify leads, improve sales performance, and close more business.  Want to learn more?  Give us a call at 908-879-2911.

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!

It’s All About Them

At One of a Kind Sales, I lead a team that does cold calling of prospects to set up initial meetings for our clients. Companies like ours often use one of two methods to accomplish this: either the ‘features and benefits’ approach or the consultative selling method. I have a strong preference for the consultative selling method.

‘Features and Benefits’ Selling Focuses on You

When you’re selling using the ‘features and benefits’ approach, you’re focusing attention on yourself and your offering. The core messaging centers on how the offering’s features will benefit the prospect. These kinds of conversations feel more like a hard sell, and I believe that they are perceived that way as well by the prospect.  From the moment the conversation starts there’s little focus on understanding where the prospect fits in the equation. Because of this, features and benefits selling tends to lead to more immediate rejections.

When cold calling using the ‘features and benefits” approach the objective is normally to schedule 15 minutes with a prospect to talk to them in greater depth. But this is 15 minutes spent with a client that has not been qualified. I can’t image that anyone would think this is a good use of time.  We also find that appointments arranged using the ‘features and benefits’ approach result in a high percentage of ‘no shows.’

Consultative Selling Centers on the Prospect’s Needs

In Consultative Selling, the prospect is the focus of the discussion. The discussion is about their needs and challenges with the objective of determining whether they are a fit for our solution. Then, and only then do we schedule an initial meeting. We request a 30-minute initial conversation. During that meeting we continue our conversation with the prospect about their specific situation. This approach fits with what we know about psychology of most buyers: it’s all about them, not about us. In our experience, the consultative selling approach has yielded higher quality initial meetings and an overall higher conversion rate.

If you’re in sales and you’re transitioning from a ‘features and benefits’ approach to consultative selling, you’ll end up sharpening your skills. Admittedly the transition may be somewhat uncomfortable because you are accustomed to talking about the offering right away. As salespeople, we are excited about what we are selling and have a natural desire to talk about it.  But delaying this gratification and focusing on the prospect’s needs first results in a better qualified prospect.  You’ll have a greater likelihood of being able to close a deal.

At One of a Kind Sales, we love to do cold calling.  We also train inside sales teams to do cold calling.  If you’d like to discuss how we can help move your business to the next level by increasing your sales opportunities reach out to us at 908-879-2911.