Cold calling isn’t exactly an attractive option for many people: it’s tough to call people up out of the blue and get them to talk to you, let alone make a sale. But cold calling remains a viable sales strategy, just the same: it works, at least for high-priced products that offer a dramatic return on all those hours of making calls.
Cold calling is something of a necessity in many industries. You can learn to be more effective at cold calling, which in turn can make it a more comfortable process. These tips can get you started in strengthening your cold calling skills.
1. Use a System to Track Your Prospects
Contact relationship management tools can make cold calling significantly easier. Just by having a piece of software that allows you to track your calls, you can avoid unnecessary calls, as well as easily remember to follow up with prospects who weren’t ready to consider your pitch the first time around.
2. Collect Data on Your Cold Calling Process
Do you know how many calls typically lead to a sale in your company? What about what level manager often makes a purchase? Details like these can help you better understand the cold calling process. Even better, you’ll be able to tweak your cold calling process to make sure that you’re doing everything possible to close a sale efficiently.
3. Choose the Right Prospects
Half the battle in cold calling is finding someone who will listen to your pitch at all: if you can get them to stay on the phone through your whole offer, the chances of moving forward go up dramatically. You need to choose who to call, so you’re not wasting time on people or companies who have no interest in buying. Focus on identifying the right prospects, even if you need to sink more time into the cold calling process up front to do it — though, if you have data from past calls, the choice will be easier.
4. Research Each Individual Prospect
You should never cold call a company without a clue as to who you want to speak to. It’s relatively easy to discover who works at which company through social media and company websites. You should identify individuals within each larger company you want to contact and research them thoroughly. From the right contact information to details that open up avenues for discussion, research can make a world of difference.
5. Look for Ways to Build Connections Before the Call
By warming up prospects, even a little bit, before you call them, you’ll have a better opportunity to make your pitch. Even small steps, like connecting on social media, can make your name more recognizable to prospects and make them more willing to take your call.
Ask for a Referral
Not every call can result in a sale: you can’t guess if a prospect has just built an in-house solution or is happy with your competitor. BUt that doesn’t mean that a cold call has to automatically end in failure. Consider asking for a referral, so that you see a valuable result for the time you invest in the call.
Practice Your Public Speaking
If you’re shy or otherwise uncomfortable talking to new people, public speaking can often be an easy way to become more comfortable with cold calling. Taking a class or joining a speaking group can be a practical way to get experience and build your skills. Just walking up to strangers and striking up conversations can also push you to become more comfortable talking to new people.