Cold calling for most people raises a spectre of fear and dread. If you follow these 10 cold calling tips and get more experience you will find the process much easier and effective.
Be sure to also download our How to Cold Call white paper for more great tips.
1. Do your research
You want to understand your target market, the companies in that market and who your main point of contact is before cold calling. You can utilize social media, news releases, read the annual or quarterly reports and visit the company website. Remember, you do not need to spend a lot of time doing research, keep it focussed and concise. Look for things that will help you identify the business pain and the potential fit.
2. Try to make your cold calling warm calling
Leverage your network; use LinkedIn, Twitter, or ask for a referral from another contact. This increases the chances of generating a meeting and taking your cold call and moving it to a warm call.
3. Understand the purpose of your call
Ensure that your solution is beneficial to the company and contact you have targeted. If you are selling a lower dollar value solution you may be trying to sell to them on the phone and have them purchase then and there. If you are selling a large and more complex solution your goal may be to simply book a face to face meeting by enticing them with your key value proposition points.
4. Ensure you are solving a business pain and don’t be overly technical
Your product or solution ultimately has to solve a business pain the customer has. This pain will be in the form of three potential things: help them increase revenues, help them reduce costs, or provide some form of efficiency.
5. Dedicate time
A solid cold calling effort should include a variety of interactions – we generally recommend emails and phone calls in a rotating combination. Be sure to change up the frequency and timing of your calling. One technique that works for may sales people, including myself is calling either first thing in the morning (before 8am) as generally senior level decision makers are in early and use their early morning time to get caught up. Alternatively, try later in the afternoon. I have been able to successfully contact a number of CEO’s taking this route.
6. Be persistent
An absolute must as it could take multiple attempts to make contact. If stuck, look to utilize the admin or executive assistance contact and see if they can schedule a meeting for you as well. These individuals can be a valuable resource.
7. Personalize your message
This relates back to doing your research. We have always found greater success, from a cold calling response standpoint, when the message is more personalized. Use the contact’s name, mention something relating to their business and how you think you could help them, mention an article you read that discussed the company – anything that will help them to realize you are taking a personal interest. This needs to be in the very beginning of your message to grab their attention. You only have a few seconds to get their interest when cold calling.
8. Use a CRM system
A CRM tool does take some work but once you’ve been cold calling for a while, there is no way you are going to remember everyone by name nor the conversations you have had. In most B2B sales cycles, the process could take 6 to 18 months to close, so during that time, a CRM is a sure way to make sure you don’t lose track. Also, if someone needs to provide back up for you, they can get up to speed quickly.
9. Don’t take it personally
Not everyone is going to say “yes” or even like the fact that you are cold calling. Building up a thick skin takes time but remember it is no different then you getting a phone solicitation in the evening at dinner and saying “sorry not interested”.
10. Be prepared to objection handle
You will often get objections to your pitch; rather than see these as obstacles utilize them as opportunities to further engage the prospect and learn about their business. Make a list of your Top 10 objections and practice handling them effectively.