With today's technology of e-mailing and social media, the most powerful tool in a salesperson's arsenal is their ability to call a prospective buyer with a powerful "Oh By The Way" call. And because cold calling is such a vital part of a salesperson skill set, we have created a number of tips to help anyone in sales to become better at making them.
7 Secrets For Strengthening Your Cold-Calling Skills:
Tip #1. Do Some Research First: Before you pick up the phone and call a prospect cold, you should take a minute or two and visit the prospect's website. That way, you can familiarize yourself with their company, what they do and possibly what role they have at their company, etc. In fact, this process can go a long way during the actual phone call itself. For starters, it adds a more personalized touch to the call and (more importantly) shows the prospect that you are genuinely interested in them.
Tip #2. Cultivate A Unique Greeting: Bland introductions are typical by many salespeople. Because of this, it tends to be a one-way ticket to getting hung up on in the first 15 seconds. The trick is to strike a balance between formality and casual charm - and we often suggest asking the prospect an open-ended business question.
Tip #3. Include Your Name And Company: Continuing from Tip #2, your greeting should also contain your name and your company name, as well as a little about your company (what kind of business you are, service or product you provide, etc.). This is in an effort to pique your prospect's interest as you don't want to come off as being vague and elusive to just get an appointment.
Tip #4. Be Upfront About Your Purpose: When talking with someone, don't skirt around the issue of why you are calling - just cut to the chase. Think of this as a declaration of your reason for calling. One of the more effective ways to state your purpose while engaging a prospect is to phrase it in the form of a question. Opening with a question sparks the potential for conversation, which is what most prospects would rather have than fielding an overly rehearsed sales call.
Tip #5. Learn To Accept Rejection: A common concern among salespeople is being too persistent. Unfortunately, many salespeople give up calling a prospect after their unsuccessful attempt at moving the sales process forward. The truth is, the majority (80%) of your calls will go to voicemail (which makes it crucial to have a voicemail script prepared), and those that don't, well, rejection is part of the game. One "yes" is easily worth ten "no's." If you are rejected, accept rejection gracefully. Respect the prospect's wishes and don't press on, or you will be a pest.
Tip #6. Close With Gratitude: After you have spoken with someone, the first thing you should do is express gratitude by thanking them for giving you a moment of their time. This tells a prospect you understand and appreciate the value of their time. After hanging up with a prospect, send them an e-mail thanking them again as well as attaching a simple, one page summary of your services.
Tip #7. Always, Always Follow Up: Perhaps the biggest area salespeople drop the ball in is their follow-up. Every phone call requires some kind of follow-up, especially if you left a voicemail. A quick e-mail after leaving a voicemail is one of the best ways to follow-up on a phone call, especially if you provide useful information. After that, put some time between your next phone touch. A minimum of 3 days should go by before you reach out to a prospect again. Anything less may leave them feeling pressured or hounded.
Executive Summary: Despite the ease and convenience of mass e-mail marketing, the sales game is still all about a salesperson telephone skills. People want to buy from people they like and trust. That is why it is so important for salespeople to put a sincere effort into making cold-calls. By doing so, you will be well on your way to more successful cold-calling.