Cold Calling Tips to Generate More Leads
Understand your product
Before thinking about cold calling other companies, get to know your own. Understand your products and services inside out, including all the different customer benefits. If one use case doesn’t appeal to them, maybe another will, which gives you multiple chances to get their attention. Sometimes you can start pitching one product and your thorough questioning may lead you to introduce another, based on their needs.
What’s a good lead?
Let’s not waste time calling companies that aren’t going to buy from us, don’t have a requirement or won’t renew. Understanding your perfect fit client ensures you’ll be reaching out to the right prospects. Review your best clients and ask yourself why they’re a good match for the product. Looking at their industry, location and company size will be a great place to start.
Finding decision makers
Now that we know which companies we want to do business with, we need to know who to contact. Many reps begin at the bottom of the prospective business and repetitively pitch their product at every stage up to the top. This is time consuming and provides many opportunities to be rejected. By reaching out directly to the decision maker, you can save yourself a heap of time. Prepare a list of the job titles that have previously signed off on buying from your company and start with those.
Locating names and contact details
In order to convince the gatekeeper that you have an established relationship with the decision maker, you’ll have to provide them with a name. It’s also very common for automated phone systems to ask for a first and last name of the person you want to contact so you can be redirected. The best place to search for decision maker names is on LinkedIn, followed by their website’s About Us and Contact Us pages. If you’re reaching out to a small company in which the decision maker is the owner, you can check out the Government’s companies registry. We all know that Google knows A LOT, so put that to the test by searching for the prospect company and the job title. There’s often an old article or video created by that person that can be dragged from the depth of the internet to give us what we need.
Hunter, Skrapp, Snov, RocketReach and Lusha are all web applications that hold business contact data from across the web. They all run a freemium model and can be an easy method of quickly locating time-saving contact data. Bear in mind that whenever you’re dealing with data it’s important that you do so compliantly.
At this stage we’ve done our research on who we need to contact, we call the prospect company but, unfortunately, our contact isn’t available that day. However, by selecting multiple decision maker names before calling we can ensure the call is still effective.
Use warmer data
Calling cold data will yield results but we’d be foolish not to first look for warmer data. The warmer the leads we’re calling, the higher our rate of success. Your companies CRM, spreadsheets or ordering systems will contain the clients who have purchased from you in the past, the prospects your team has previously spoken to and the companies in your lapsed marketing pipeline. All of these companies should know your brand and you can use that to your advantage. As you’ll have access to previously used contact data, you can even send an email or LinkedIn message prior to reaching out for a warmer reception.
Lead Revealer specializes in warm lead generation for sales teams looking to up their game and make more sales. Check out our video to hear how we collate the warm opportunities and deliver them into sales teams.
Using a script
An essential part of an outbound lead generation strategy is a cold calling script. They assist sales teams in honing their abilities prior to the call. Repetitively practicing with scripts in role playing sessions can be very realistic and bring up challenges to combat early. As reading on the phone can negatively affect your delivery, aim to learn the script to a point where it’s no longer required and the words flow naturally into conversation.
Understand that in sales you’re going to get rejected. However, cold calling is a contact sport so the more decision makers you contact, the more success you’ll have.
The Cold Call
This tip may put you out of your comfort zone; however, the stats don’t lie, it works. Try standing up to feel more confident. This will be betrayed in your voice which the prospect will recognise. You can also focus on the tone of your voice. Aim to be less excited, use lower tones and avoid filler words when you’re speaking.
Getting past gatekeepers
A gatekeeper is a trained receptionist put in charge of redirecting important calls and declining time-wasting ones so it’s essential to be on the right side of that line. Be confident and likeable without unveiling the fact that you’re a cold caller. Use vocab that suggests you have a relationship with the decision maker but avoid lying or risk burning the lead. We recommend creating a second script for this step with objection handles for questions such as ‘are they expecting your call?’ or ‘what are you calling about?’.
Avoid using bad phrases
Always try to avoid using phrases that invite the prospect out of the call. A good example is ‘did I catch you at a bad time’, to which they are almost guaranteed to say ‘yes’ and slip off the phone. It’s also key to stay away from phrases that make you sound unsure and amateur. An example of these would be ‘sorry to bother you’ or ‘I thought you might be the right person to speak with’.
Start with a bang
The first 30 seconds are crucial and, if you get this right, the prospect will start to hear what you have to say and be more willing to answer your questions. It’s very important not to sound like a salesperson during this early part of the call or you may lose them before you’ve even started. Instead, you can ask questions that an established friend would ask such as ‘how have you been?’.
Resolving prospect pain points
We know you have a goal you’re trying to achieve with every call; however, the prospect won’t care. They have their own problems they need fixing so it’s important to focus on how your product or solution can resolve those issues instead of trying to brag about your own company or product by feature dropping.
Using open-ended questions
The best way to find out about their pain points is to ask questions. To get more engagement and ensure the conversation flows, we should always use open-ended questions. This allows the prospect to tell us their future plans and the challenges they’re facing. The best salespeople speak 20% of the time and listen for 80%. This is called the 80/20 rule and it’s an important statistic for you to track.
You can equip yourself for your later conversations by sitting back and listening to what your prospect has to say. Try to note down vital bits of information throughout every call to help ease them through your sales pipeline and build rapport along the way. For example, when are they available again, who else do they work with, what are their contact details, what’s the structure of their organization, where do they holiday or what hobbies do they have etc.
Don’t give up too quickly
There are often uncomfortable moments in a cold call where it becomes apparent the recipient doesn’t want to speak with you. It’s very easy in these moments to accept defeat and say your goodbyes. However, how does the recipient know that they aren’t interested if they don’t know what you have to offer? Alternatively, if they have already heard your pitch and are still trying to exit the call it may be time to use our objection handling skills to pique their interest.
We all receive rebuttals from prospect and we all hate hearing them. A simple ‘yes, I love it’ would be much nicer. But to move forward from this point in the call, we need to provide the prospect with a sufficient and positive response. That’s why we’ve spent hours practising our objection handles; so we know what they’re going to say before they do and have that golden response to hand.
Here are some common cold calling objections that you can prepare for:
- I’m too busy
- This isn’t a good time
- I’m not the right person
- We haven’t got the budget right now
- We already have a supplier
- It’s too expensive
- I’ve never heard of your company
- Hang up
- How did you get my information?
- Call me back next month
- I’m just jumping into a meeting
- Doesn’t (insert competitor) do it (insert positive adjective)?
Call to action (CTA)
The end of the call is what we’ve been building up to and so let’s finish strong. You should always try not to settle for just sending them an email, as you may never speak to them again. Set a clear next call date with an agenda attached that benefits the prospect.
After Cold Calling
Record your progress
Sales pipeline tools and CRMs are a great way to track your progress with each prospect. They enable you to add notes from the latest call, create a time to follow up and set alerts for meetings you can’t miss. While many CRMs offer a free version, you can always fall back on a spreadsheet to hold this information. Inputting your data into an organized system also allows your colleagues to carry on the sales process with your leads in your absence.
Tracking your progress will help you understand your personal sales statistics. For example, if your statistics show you aren’t progressing prospects effectively at a certain stage of the sales funnel, this can be an area to practise to improve your overall results. Knowing your numbers will also help you set realistic goals and give you a clear picture of how many cold calls are required to generate one qualified lead.
Record your calls
Listening to a recording of yourself may feel uncomfortable at first but when you start seeing the positive results, you’ll wish you started sooner. The only way to correct your weaknesses is to first find out what they are. Critiquing your own recordings can sometimes be subjective so ask senior colleagues to assist to ensure you improve quickly. Conversely, try to listen to the recordings of top salespeople to learn what’s working so well for them.
While rumours have it that cold calling is dead, this simply isn’t the case. Especially when the right strategy is implemented. Like anything, learning to become a cold calling expert is a process with no replacement for practice and graft. Take these tips onboard and watch your numbers fly.
Cold Calling FAQs
Cold calling is the process of making phone calls to prospective consumers in an effort to close a sale. Typically, cold calling involves reaching out to people who haven't previously expressed an interest.
The success of a cold calling campaign will vary based on factors that include the experience and skill of the sales team, the relevance of the product and the quality of the leads.
- 82% of buyers will accept meetings with cold callers – RAIN Group
- 69% of shoppers have accepted a cold call from sales representatives over the past year – Rain Group
- 2% of cold calls lead to a set appointment – Charlie Cook’s Marketing Success
- 18% of cold calls results in qualified leads – Charlie Cook’s Marketing Success
- 8 attempts are required on average to reach a prospect - The Brevet Group
Cold calling is not illegal; however, it’s important to be respectful. Prospects should be given the right to be excluded from campaigns and from further contact.
Cold calling is not dead but, with the rise of digital marketing in recent years, this traditional practice has become less common.