Outbound marketers and sales professionals all dislike cold calling, even experienced professionals. This is partly because of the nature of cold calls but let’s face it, sales teams hate cold-calling and prospecting because they don’t have the time to do it; or they don’t understand how to do it effectively!.
This is only natural because it takes a certain type of professional to consistently make successful cold calls. Cold calling can be a learned skill – but it requires much more than just having thick skin and a script to be able to successfully pull it off. Cold calling requires knowledge, persistence, training and a system in order to be successful consistently.
Such are the ones that have a professional Inside Sales Support team, a highly successful company that offers cold calling services to B2B businesses. They employ highly skilled professionals who are experienced at B2B prospecting, cold calling, follow-up, qualifying and successfully setting warm sales appointments, so your sales teams can focus more on closing deals and growing your business.
We’ve asked 5 of these experts to share their success secrets behind making consistently strong cold calls. Here is what we learned.
5 Experts Share Their Success Formula for Cold Calls
Expert 1: Do Not Depend on One-Time Calls
Successful cold calls are a conversation and not a one-time cold call. One-time calls rarely generate a lead or a warm sales appointment. Prospects need to be engaged many times before you can get a desired outcome. No commitments from your first cold call does not mean that your cold call is unsuccessful.
Any engagement that moves the conversation forward is a successful cold call. Prospects require nurturing before you can convert them, and one-time calls rarely achieve this. There has to be a recurring and progressive approach for things to work out, and you must consistently deliver value to demonstrate you can solve your prospect’s pain/problem.
Successful sales in today’s market typically require 8-9 touch points (calls, emails, voice messages, research on your website, etc.) before a cold call converts to a well-qualified lead/warm sales appointment. You have to be persistent to increase your chances of success. The good news is that most of your competitors are not persistent!
Expert 2: Introduce with Value and Build Rapport
When you first approach a prospect, they need to quickly understand and grasp who they are talking to and what you can do for them if you want the conversation to continue moving forward.
You must communicate with confidence and speak with the prospect as an equal who is calling to offer value. This is achieved by telling them, in the first 20-30 seconds, why you are calling and why it is valuable for them.
If you can successfully capture their interest and ‘psychological permission’ to continue your conversation at each step of the cold call, your chances of continued success improve dramatically. Once they give you permission and are warmed up, you can build rapport by demonstrating you value their time and will not waste it with chit chat.
Position yourself and your words to demonstrate you understand their industry, their position, possibly their problems and the value of their time. This will help you build rapport for continued engagements.
Expert 3: Acquire New Information and Use It
You should already know the basic details of your prospect, their company and their industry before you make a cold call. Researching the prospect’s company, industry and potential issues faced by them before calling is a good start and will keep them engaged and interested.
After gaining their permission to continue, begin asking open-ended questions that help you acquire new information. Open-ended questions about the prospect’s specific situation will help you gain insight on the challenges and problems they face.
These questions may take time but will give you the important information you need to move forward with the prospect. You can use the new information to customize your presentation to specifically meet your prospect’s pain points.
Your value proposition should always meet the challenges the prospect is facing. If you simply regurgitate every feature, advantage and benefit of your product/service (most of which is not relevant to your prospect) you are just making a very feeble plea to buy your product/service, you are not solving a problem or adding value.
Expert 4: Verify, Validate & Update – and Follow-up with Value Added Material
Updating contact information for future reference and other sales & marketing campaigns is critical. You must verify and validate contact information during your conversation by asking directly. Once you have it, update your prospect’s contact information in your database for future reference.
A professional Inside Sales Rep will always maintain and update any/all contact information and sales & marketing intelligence gathered during each conversation. This information is also helpful when approaching similar prospects or prospects within the same industry.
Use this information to send follow-up emails with marketing material in the form of supporting documents, video links, PDFs, white papers, case studies and other resources. This will help you add value, nurture the relationship and keep your brand and its products and services in prospects’ minds.
Expert 5: Qualify, Set and Confirm
Qualifying prospects throughout your conversation will save you a lot of time and effort. If you work hard on a prospect for a long time and discover they were not well-qualified at the very end, it will not only be frustrating, it’s an incredible waste of time and opportunity cost.
You must always keep your mind and ears open to any little bit of information. Every additional piece of information helps you qualify or disqualify prospects for your sales or marketing campaign. This will save you time and effort, while letting you understand how to better continue your approach. We like to say, “Did I just hear what you didn’t say?” – you’ve got to listen between the lines to understand the points that are verbalized overtly!
Once you’ve qualified a prospect and set a warm sales appointment, be specific about the details of the appointment. You need to set and get the information right – loose appointment setting is a recipe for disaster. A warm sales appointment is one that is set with a prospect for a specific day/date/time; the prospect understands what the call will be about; and the prospect is expecting (looking forward to) the meeting.
Confirm all of the details and remind them promptly about your meeting. Send an email immediately following your call with the exact details (day/date/time and location) of your meeting and thank them for the appointment. We recommend also sending a ‘Meeting Reminder’ email 24-hours prior to the sales meeting; and another ‘Meeting Reminder’ via SMS/Text Message about 1-hour prior.
Use this as yet another opportunity to add value and build brand awareness.
Always provide your (or your sales rep’s) contact information (preferably your direct contact) and ask them to contact you directly with any changes to schedules.
Conclusion: Achieving Cold Calling Success
We understand from what we learned that successful cold calling depends on how you approach, what value you offer and how you use the information gathered to your advantage. Simultaneously, qualifying, updating, following-up and marketing are the most successful way to end up with long term success.
Following these success formulas from 5 experts will help you drive success with your own cold calling and appointment-setting efforts.
Michael is a member of the editorial team at Leads At Scale. His main areas of expertise include business growth, inbound, and outbound marketing & sales. He is a walking wanderer and a travel enthusiast.