How to ace cold calling

Cold calls can be intimidating. However, with solid preparation a cold call can turn into a warm lead. Here is Robertson Sumner’s guide to acing a cold call.

Before a salesperson ever picks up the phone, it’s time to do some research. Social media allows you to find a wide range of information in one place. For example, LinkedIn allows you to see the groups which your prospect is part of and the influencers they follow, which in turn gives you an insight into your prospect’s interests and values. This can also be applied to Twitter, take note of your prospect’s interactions, mentions and shares. Furthermore, social media sites can help you find mutual connections, this is a great way to build trust and conversation. In preparation for the call, look for trigger events that has indicate that the prospect has a need for your solutions. For example, hiring sprees, investment announcements or new office openings. You can search for these trigger events via social media, the news, job listings or company blogs.

It is useful to research your current customers similar to your prospect just in case your prospect asks if you have ever worked with a company such as theirs. In this case you should look for or prepare case studies and testimonials to see what worked for similar prospects in the past. In addition to this you will find your extensive research will lead you to new customers similar to your prospect.

When conducting the cold call ask questions rather than immediately trying to sell your product or service. This will enable you to learn about your prospect’s business needs and will help you tailor your pitch. DO NOT use a script. It’s difficult to establish trust if you’re just another salesperson reading a script. By defining your target audience, you should be able to address their specific wants and needs rather than relying on a rehearsed script. It’s important to focus on more than just making a sale; the purpose of a cold call is to engage the prospect in conversation about their needs and determine next steps. You’re not there to sell anything right from the start, you want to plant the seeds for future sales by engaging in conversation.

Don’t expect to make a sale after just one phone call. 80 percent of sales happen after the fifth contact attempt. If you feel nervous about coming across as a “pushy” salesperson when following up with your prospect you can; send an email thanking your prospect for their time and sharing an article that they may enjoy, make sure to set up another appointment before concluding the first cold call and always be persistent, polite and professional.

Keep track of who you called, when you called them and how many of those calls resulted in appointments. Measuring your progress will keep you organised and give you a sense of accomplishment. Recognise that not every sales call is going to be a success, having more information about the company or person can be useful for a follow-up call. Ensure collaboration between your sales team members with a CRM that helps keep information updated and available to everyone who needs it.

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