As a sales rep, finding qualified prospects and converting them into customers is the ultimate goal. Many agree that, when properly done, cold calling yields the greatest outcomes in regards to large opportunities. Still, there are others that consider cold calling to be archaic with a low strike rate regardless of opportunity size. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, let’s evaluate the pros and cons.
If you’re starting without an existing network of connections, then cold calling is an ideal option. In a B2B model, cold calling can be effectively used to identify your prospect needs. The information gathered from a one-on-one conversation can be subsequently used to offer a customized solution. Moreover, those same conversations will provide valuable insight and often lead to undiscovered market segments that will open new opportunities.
The single greatest disadvantage of cold calling is difficulty in getting to the right person on the phone. There are several technologies available to increase prospect pick-up rates, but without that advantage, too many unsuccessful calls will leave a sales professional disheartened and affect motivation to preserver. Moreover, sales representatives whose main role is to present and close the sale do not possess the skill set to open a conversation with a prospect unknown to them. It is highly unlikely that the “closer” will consistently participate in making outbound calls regardless of the consequence.
Therefore, if you want your sales and marketing to be more predictable and scalable, then you need a refined version of cold calling strategies to achieve the desired results. Discussed below are tips to maximize the benefits of cold calling.
Apply a research-driven approach
Understanding your prospect and their business prior to engaging in conversation will produce dividends. Specific details such as their preferences, needs, buying habits, and authority will help you personalize your offerings in a way to help them understand that your call is an intended and targeted conversation that will benefit them and their organization.
In a B2B scenario, most company information is available via an internet search. Begin with the latest news about an organization from its press releases to understand compelling events and whether they are in growth, status quo, or trouble mode. Supplementary company information, including financial status, can be obtained through 10K forms and SEC filings for public companies. In any situation, any attempt to directly interact with a prospect without prior research must be avoided.
Possess keen product knowledge
Cold calling is the optimal method to get prospects excited about new technologies, product updates, or service offerings. However, an exciting prospect will likely have a string of questions as to how this new product will specifically benefit them. If you hesitate or are without the appropriate answers, you stand the risk of losing a potential prospect. Hence, it is important to gain deep knowledge about the product/service offering, which will help you in responding to prospects with confidence.
The perfect pitch
It may happen that you have all the information about the prospect as well as possess product knowledge to handle their replies with confidence. Yet, many prospects will show little interest for the reason of an ill-defined sales pitch that does not hit home.
Most prospects are impatient if they cannot quickly decipher the reason for your phone call. You must have your elevator pitch right, which can be done by the following:
- A short introduction about you, your company, and your research to express to the prospect that you are genuinely trying to help. This opening statement must be clear, concise, and practiced.
- The main purpose of your call is to understand if your product or service offering fills a void in the prospect’s business; therefore, your pitch should include a set of questions that directly inform them of this need. For instance, if you are selling security software, you may begin the conversation by asking if they are aware of current security threats. These questions will help the prospect understand your product or service offering in a short amount of time and allow you to set an exploratory meeting in the near future.
- Know your responses to the most common objections. A prospect most often will state “not interested/busy,” “tell me more,” “send me information”, or “we already use competitor x.” These are standard objections when a prospect does not yet understand your value equation. Be respectful in your response and have confidence that the time they spend gaining information on your product, the more opportunity they have to benefit.
Simply following these essential tips will improve your proficiency in cold calling. And those who grasp the benefits of cold calling will not only be rewarded with an outstanding funnel of opportunities but also the daily gratification of gaining interest in their product or services.