Cold calling is an age-old technique practiced by sales teams to boost sales. But in the age of Instagram and Facebook, modern sales teams seem to be ditching cold calling in favor of shares and likes. Is it time to pronounce cold calling dead?
Young sales professionals try to avoid it like the plague because it can be a painful struggle having to call people they do not know. They see it as an old-fashioned method that has seen better days. Indeed, it can be tedious and often leads to awkward conversations.
Yet, it would be a big mistake to avoid implementing this strategy altogether. No one can doubt the immense value it brings to a company that utilizes it properly. So, hold your horses. We should not bury cold calling just yet.
What is cold calling?
Cold calling is a strategy used in B2B and B2C lead generation. Callers do this by calling prospects to sell goods or services. It is called “cold” calling because traditionally the prospect does not know the caller and has not expressed interest in the offer… so the call is the opposite of warm.
Cold calling is indeed taxing, but it is anything but dead. If done right, it will bring beneficial new customers to your business. Making it work, involves having the correct prospect selection process, background information, timing the call, and calling with the right message.
Cold calling versus telemarketing
People confuse cold calling with telemarketing. Telemarketing is when a company gives their callers hundreds of phone numbers and tells them to call those numbers as fast as they can. Cold calling is much more than that.
A cold caller has to know what their prospect’s needs are. That way, clients respond more readily and are more receptive to the idea of discussing a particular subject.
Why small- and medium-sized businesses need cold calling?
Sure, social media and other online platforms are useful, but the competition is very tough in the online space. Contrary to what many think, online marketing is not free. Companies need to spend a substantial amount for people to notice them.
For instance, only 3% of your total followers on Facebook get to see your posts. You need to pay to reach more people. That is how Facebook plays right now.
Paid advertising works. However, it can be challenging to play in this pay to play arena for small businesses that have a limited budget. Cold calling, on the other hand, can produce similar results for less money. The advantage is it can get you in a conversation with potential customers more quickly.
Cold calling tips
Having a sincere conversation with a prospect is valuable, and cold calling is the best way to find relevant queries you would otherwise not be able to answer from a call list. Besides, people usually do not answer over email.
Here are some cold calling ideas you can use.
1.Change your mental outlook before making the call.
If you are like most individuals who make cold calls, your objective is always to close a sale even before making that phone call. However, the person at the other end of the line is aware of your mindset immediately.
Most people do not like being sold to. And they sense that you are more focused on your interests and not on what they need or want. This can create a big problem when you are trying to build trust.
Changing your mental objective will take away the fear of rejection that comes with the expectations of getting the sale as it is premature to even think about it. Instead of hoping to close a sale, think about building a meaningful relationship and having a genuine conversation so you can build trust. Eventually, you and your prospect can determine if you are a good fit to do business or not.
- Understand the mindset of the person at the other end
Imagine you are working in the office trying to beat a deadline when your phone rings. You answer, thinking it is your client. The person at the other end says, “Hello there, this is Tom. I’m with ABC Financial Solutions. We provide financial solutions to fit your needs. Do you have a few minutes?”
You will most likely think, “Oh no, another salesperson! I need to get rid of this guy!”
The very moment you use the old approach to cold calling that sales gurus teach – telling people who you are and what you offer – you trigger the salesperson stereotype, which is most often negative.
Sales teams often ignore that the problem is not what you are selling, but how you sell it. Salespeople undergo training that pushes for the sale, and that creates sales pressure. Put yourself in the shoes of your prospects. Mirror the language and tone they use, and you will find it easier to communicate with them.
- Answer the “so what?” question
Often, salespeople talk about themselves, their products, and their solution. They hope that the prospect connects with what they are pitching.
However, talking about yourself is not the solution they are thinking about. When talking to a customer, answer the “so what?” question.
“We have a 14” LCD screen.” So what?
“Our laptop is very light.” So what?
“It fits in your bag.” So what?
Continue searching for answers until you answer all your prospect’s questions. That is how you help solve a problem. Features are merely features until you are able to uncover the customer’s problem. Once this is accomplished, the features turn into benefits.
- Begin with dialogue and not a presentation
A cold call aims to start a conversation and engage a prospect in a conversation. Do not set them up to say yes or no, which is the old way of doing cold calling.
Engage people in a natural conversation, just as you would with an old friend. Then you can decide whether you can push the conversation further.
Never assume making a sale before calling because you do not even have an idea whether that person can buy what you offer. You do not have any ideas about their priorities, their budget, and decision-making process yet. Assuming you are selling something to them sets you up for failure.
- Diffuse hidden pressures
When speaking to your prospect, your voice should be natural and calm. Enthusiasm might come across as being too sales-y, which can pressure your prospect and they may reject you outright.
Let the conversation flow naturally and set up milestones throughout the call so you can evaluate whether there is a fit between you and your prospect.
- Determine a fit
Let’s say you have found your prospect to be receptive to you and you are having a good conversation, do you try to close the sale?
First, determine if they are prioritizing solving the problem. Maybe it is not in their budget yet, or it is not the right time. Finding this out is important. If the client says yes, they need it now, then you can proceed with your pitch.
Cold calling the traditional way is a numbers game, meaning you must make as many calls as you can so that if you get rejected you can just call the next person. The reason why salespeople fail is that they do the same thing all the time but expect different results.
The right way to cold calls is to know what to say and how you say it. If you use a fresh approach and understand how to get rid of pressure from your initial cold calls, you will encounter more success and satisfaction that will certainly change the way you do business. This new method of cold calling can bring you sales success beyond your imagination and remove rejection from your vocabulary for good.