As Mike Weinberg, author of New Sales Simplified, says “sales is a verb.” In order to be successful in Sales, you have to be active, and one of the best ways to be active in the sales cycle is cold calling.
There are multiple ways to reach out to customers and build relationships but cold calling is one of the best ways to catch their attention. In his book Fanatical Prospecting, Jeb Blount supports this with evidence of a 15% to 80% contact rate on the phone (depending on industry). This is dramatically better than any cold email campaign.
Picking up the phone and calling a stranger can be a daunting task. Cold calling isn’t easy but with these tips, you’ll be a cold calling powerhouse.
What is cold calling?
Cold calling is contacting any prospect by phone who hasn’t yet been in contact with your company or team. You may have emailed them before but there hasn’t been a response from them yet. This means the prospect probably won’t be expecting your call, but that’s okay. Cold calling is a great way to break through and drive awareness by putting a voice to your name.
Preparing for cold calling
It’s easy to hide behind a computer screen and send emails, but the thought of making a call to a live person can be terrifying. But if you truly believe in your product or service, nothing will be able to stop you.
Our emotions and experience can even be shaped by our physical bodies. That’s why many sales trainers coach their reps to smile while talking — prospects will hear it on the other end. Some trainers go as far as to advocate for placing a mirror by the phone while making cold calls.
As Jeb Blount emphasizes: “Studies on human behavior from virtually every corner of the academic world have proven time and again that we can challenge how we feel by changing our facial expressions, the words we use, our self-talk, and our physical posture. In other words, what is happening inside of you manifests itself in your outward confidence and enthusiasm.”
How to write your cold calling script
Sales scripts can be extremely helpful if composed right. When it comes to cold calling, the most significant aspect is to be different. You can't sound like a robot and you don’t want to sound like your competition. Follow these steps to build your unique cold calling script.
1. Start off right
The most important part of your script is your opener. The goal of the introduction is to capture the attention of a prospect. It’s important to spark the interest of your prospect in the first 30 seconds to show prospects it’s worth their time.
You should do a quick google search of each prospective company or person before you call them so you can have a clear understanding of what their pain points are and how your product can help them. Understanding clearly what they need will also help you feel more confident. Show the person on the other side of the phone that you took the time to prepare to talk to them. Connect personally.
2. Qualify your lead
This part of the script isn’t about you. It’s about learning more about your prospect. Successful cold calls are not just about pitching the product, but ensuring you have an engaging conversation with your prospect. Come prepared with open-ended questions, and pay attention to your talk-to-listen ratio.
You should include relevant questions. Here’s a list of lead qualification questions that can help you come up with the best approaches for each prospect.
Since your cold call is probably your first interaction your prospect doesn’t have a reason to trust you yet. Your goal in this part of your script is to help you both understand if your solution will solve their problem. You need to find out more about their specific challenges and needs and show them the value of your solution.
You want to fully understand the client’s current processes, and what they want their future business to look like. That's when you'll know whether or not your product or service is a good match for them.
3. Show them you have something they need
By now, you should have a clear understanding of the needs and pain points of your prospect, and deliver a pitch based on that information.
Avoid hesitation and get to the point. Getting to the point shows your respect for the decision maker’s time. You’re asking for time on their calendar right now, not necessarily a sale. You want more time with them: you’re building a long-term relationship. If they understand that you’re interested in helping them, they are more likely to agree to a meeting.
4. Call to action
Every sales call should end with a clear call to action to schedule a follow-up call, a demo, or a meeting. If you don’t end the sales call properly, you’ll be right back at square one. Directly ask for a meeting, but don’t use the word meeting. You want the meeting to sound like it will be simple and easy to take the next steps with your team.
Based on your goal, come up with an appropriate CTA. Some examples are:
- Let’s chat again. What does your calendar look like next week?
- When is a good time to schedule our next time to talk?
How to use the script
Don’t use your script in a way that sounds robotic. In other words, don’t read directly from the script. Before you use your script, practice it a few times. Don’t repeat your script verbatim during the call, use it as a guide. Avoid complicated phrases or terminology which sounds strange when you read it out loud. Talk to the prospect as if you were talking to a coworker, use natural language and intonation.
A script is a great way to sharpen your communication skills, control the flow of the conversation, and manage the prospects’ objections. After enough practice, you’ll know what to say and how to react without any clues.
Embrace rejection on cold calls
Rejection happens. And it happens a LOT when you’re cold-calling.
In fact, according to the State of Conversation Intelligence, the average connected cold call only lasts 80 seconds long. Only ~10% of cold calls last longer than 2 minutes.
There are some things you can do to get over your fear of rejection. You can ask for feedback. When a prospect rejects you, try saying: “I appreciate your honesty. The hardest thing about my job is not knowing whether we can help someone. Do you mind telling me why you don’t think we can help you?” However, the best way to gain confidence is to practice. The more confident you can be, the more quality calls you’re going to have, which gives you more confidence. Rejection is all a part of the game but the more it happens, the more comfortable you become with it which in turn helps you to become more confident and a more effective cold caller.
Use voicemails alongside cold-calls
More than 90% of cold calls will result in a voicemail. Use voicemails wisely by referencing an email you’ve already sent them or by offering something of value. For example:
“NAME, I’ve been thinking about your COMPANY and am going to share some ideas by email to solve CHALLENGE. I will call again early next week to get your feedback on the ideas I shared and really appreciate your response.”
Then, connect with them on LinkedIn with a personalized message.
Some things to keep in mind when leaving voicemails during cold calls:
- Keep the voicemail under 20 seconds or less
- Leave your name and info last – lead with value and don’t try to sell right away
- Use an upbeat, friendly, and energetic tone of voice (smiling while talking can help with this)
Keep Improving Your Script
Use a platform like Hubspot that allows you to manage all of your outbound sales processes from calls to emails in one place. The tool should also give you great insight into your performance metrics and help you refine your scripts. This way you can A/B test your scripts.
Set your goals in your tool, such as setting up more meetings. Always be testing and refining. If you aren’t seeing results from the script you’re currently using, ask yourself what you could be doing better. Is it your opening sentence? Is it the pitch of your product?
One of the best ways to keep improving your script is to record and then review your calls. If there are calls that went well, learn from those and add what you did best in the call to your script. From the calls that you felt went poorly, ask yourself what could be improved and remember that for next time.
The Best Resources For Cold Calling Success
Want to learn more about the finer details of cold calling and become an expert? Here are some more resources to check out:
Books to help you dramatically improve your cold calling game:
- Fanatical Prospecting
- New Sales. Simplified
- Smart Calling
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cold Calling
- Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling
Websites to learn from:
Podcasts to listen to:
Every cold call is going to be a lot more effective if you know exactly what you want to achieve with this interaction and prepare for each call in advance. Hopefully, these actionable tips have helped you more effectively prepare for engaging with your prospects. Always remember that your main goal is not to close the sale but to begin to build a long-term relationship with the prospect. Personalize your message and show people that you care. With a little time, practice, and tweaking, you'll be able to consistently turn first meetings with prospects into life-long customers. Want to learn more about Sales? Read our latest blog post on how to write Sales Copy that converts!
Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, Meratas Inc. makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of content contained herein. Meratas Inc. assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained herein or the operation or use of these materials.
Topics: Professional Development