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How effective are cold calling techniques in today's business environment?
Cold calling has always been a part of sales. It was the only way to reach potential customers back then. Cold calling went out of style. (Or so many salespeople thought so).
But it wasn't the cold calling industry that went out of trend; salespeople abandoned the strategy trying out the trends and taking advantage of the social media craze.
Now that the audience gets tired of fake news and is wary of misleading information, they are more open to answering calls from salespeople. - But Why?
The human touch. Talking to a person, asking questions, and getting answers in real-time is one of the finest experiences customers can have in their buyer's journey.
Accountability and responsibility. It is easier to hold someone responsible and accountable if something goes awry. There is a more solid connection between sellers and buyers.
So don't let anyone persuade you that cold calling is at death's door. Statistics prove it is very much alive and very effective in gaining new customers when prospecting.
First things first: what exactly is cold calling?
What Is Cold Calling?
Cold calling means calling people who have not yet expressed interest in buying from you. You could be referring to anyone who visits your website or even someone who has already registered with you but hasn't made any purchases yet.
The purpose of cold calling is to get them interested enough to buy from you eventually. Cold calling techniques have been a sales tool for decades to help businesses achieve success, and it appears to be alive more than ever, even in the face of potentially faster and more convenient technologies like email and social media.
Admittedly, cold calling is still one of the most challenging aspects of selling.
One of the biggest reasons businesses are skeptical of cold calling is that they assume people don't want to be disturbed or see cold calling as pushy and aggressive.
Is Cold Calling Illegal?
Cold calls are not illegal if you implement the cold calling techniques well, but there are laws against false advertising and deceptive practices. These laws apply to any advertisement, including those sent through cold calling.
If you are going to cold call, you should follow cold calling techniques like asking for permission before doing so. Ask whether the person wants to be contacted or not. If the answer is no, respect their wishes and move on.
What are the several different types of cold calling techniques?
Direct Mail – In direct mail, you send unsolicited letters to people. The letter usually includes a form where the recipient can respond with their name, address, and phone number.
1. Telemarketing: With telemarketing, you call people at home or on cell phones. You typically leave messages on answering machines.
2. Telephone Sales: In telephone sales, you call people on the phone. You can either call people yourself or pay others to do so.
3. Email Marketing: Email marketing involves sending emails to people. Some companies use autoresponders to send follow-up emails to people who open their emails automatically.
4. Social Media Advertising: Social media advertising is another way to reach out to people. Companies advertise on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google+.
Why is Cold Calling Important in Sales?
Cold calling is the most important tool in the modern-day sales arsenal. The reason why is simple: it works!
It doesn't matter whether the person has never heard of you before or has already purchased from you. The point is that you will find someone willing to listen to your pitch.
Cold calling is practical and necessary for your company's sales growth. According to studies, cold calling generates around 30% of leads. That is a lot!
Businesses that dropped cold calling from their strategies experienced a 42% decline in growth than those who still do cold calling. Compared to other lead generation methods, cold calling is one of the cheapest and takes less time.
One of the biggest advantages of cold calling is that it allows you to build relationships with your prospects. When you cold call, you get to meet new people every day. This makes cold calling ideal for those who love meeting new people.
What type of business relies greatly on cold calling?
Cold calling is an excellent tool for salespeople in almost any industry. Here's a look at sectors where cold calling works well.
1. Real Estate Cold Calling
Real estate agents often rely on cold calling techniques because most buyers don't go online to search for properties. Instead, they prefer to work with realtors that they've met face-to-face.
That means you can find clients by getting out into the community and meeting them personally. To get started with real estate cold calling, you should first identify the areas in your local area experiencing high levels of demand.
This includes neighborhoods that are seeing lots of new development. Next, start contacting property owners directly. Ask them if they would consider listing their homes with you.
2. Financial Services Cold Calling
Financial advisors often depend on cold calling because many people prefer to speak with someone over the phone rather than the internet to research financial products.
In addition, many people feel uncomfortable talking to strangers over the phone. They may even worry that they could be scammed.
However, these fears aren't justified. There are plenty of reputable financial advisors that will help you find ways to improve your finances.
So, when you call potential customers, make sure that you have a clear message that explains why you're the best choice instead of other advisors.
3. Retail Cold Calling
Many shoppers prefer to shop in person. They want to talk to the store owner or manager before buying anything. And, they don't want to take the chance of being sold something that doesn't fit.
That's where cold calling techniques come in handy. When you call potential customers, you need to explain how your company differs from competitors. You can also highlight special offers that you offer.
These types of tactics can boost your conversion rates. So, remember to use them whenever possible!
4. B2B Cold Calling
Businesses in B2B (business-to-business) markets usually depend on cold calling because it's much easier to sell to companies that already know what they're looking for.
Plus, they tend to trust experts more than amateurs. In other words, if you cold call businesses, you are likely to have a greater success rate in closing deals.
The reason for B2B cold calling might be anything from generating leads, qualifying prospects, or conducting market research. But, what makes B2B cold calling so effective?
First, it's important to understand that businesses are more concerned about price than customer service. So, when making calls, focus on finding companies that offer competitive prices. Also, try not to waste time on companies that won't provide you with an opportunity to pitch your business.
5. Event Cold Calling
Event planners often depend on cold calling to promote their events. They can reach out to event attendees via direct mail. Or, they can contact event organizers who might be interested in promoting their event.
6. Direct Sales Cold Calling
Direct sales reps often depend on cold calling. They typically spend hours every day making cold calls to prospects. And they do this while trying to keep up with all of their daily tasks. This is why they need to build a system that allows them to manage multiple contacts at once
A Guide to Effective Cold Calling Techniques in 2022
1. Accepting Rejection
According to research, only 5% of sales reps are willing to take a chance on a stranger,95% fear rejection. So, before you begin cold calling, prepare yourself mentally for rejection. If you're not ready for rejection, you might be too sensitive.
Rejection is inevitable when you cold call. You shouldn't let it stop you from doing something you enjoy. If you don't mind being rejected, cold calling is perfect for you. If you're not used to dealing with rejection, here are some tips on how to handle it:
Don't take it personally.
Remember that no one likes to be rejected. It hurts to be turned down, especially when you have worked hard to get where you are today. But remember that it's not personal. The person rejecting your cold call has nothing against you.
Patience patience patience.
Don't expect to get accepted right away. Be prepared to wait up to 30 days before you receive any feedback.
Ask for feedback.
After you've been rejected, ask the person why they didn't accept your offer and let them give you suggestions on how to improve your presentation so that you'll be more successful next time.
Take notes after each call. Write down the prospect's name, contact details, and other relevant information. This way, you'll always know what happened during your conversations.
2. Use Technology
Technology plays a vital role in cold calling. Below you will find some tips for making cold calling easier:
Voicemails allow you to leave a message for your prospects without speaking to them first. Use this feature to remind your prospects of your availability and to give them a chance to schedule a time to talk to you.
Email is another great tool for cold calling. You can email your prospects at specific times throughout the week. For example, you could send them an email asking them to respond within 24 hours. Then, you can follow up with another email reminding them to do so.
Outreach is another technique you can use to find new leads. Reach out to people who seem interested in your products or services. Send them emails, Facebook posts, and tweets.
Nextiva is a software program designed specifically for cold calling. It allows you to create lists of contacts based on criteria such as industry, job title, and location. Nextiva will automatically dial numbers and place calls to those individuals on your list.
DiscoverOrg is a free online service that helps discover companies that want to buy your product or hire your services. DiscoverOrg provides detailed reports on thousands of businesses across multiple industries.
A CRM system is a database that keeps track of your interactions with customers. A sound CRM system makes it easy to manage your entire customer base.
3. Follow your Cold Calling scripts well, and don't be robotic.
What is a cold calling script?
Cold calling scripts are a set of instructions that you follow when making cold calls. They come in handy when you are trying to generate more leads online. The script should include all the information you need to present to each prospect.
The key to using a call script is to practice it over & over and make it your own so that it becomes a natural saying & NOT robotic.
When writing a cold call script, start with an opening line that will capture your prospect's interest, eg. How have you been?
According to studies, using the phrase “how have you been”? correlates 6.6 times higher likelihood of booking the meeting with a prospect, also using this opening line has proven 10 % success rate compared with 1.5% baseline
The question scrambles the prospect's brain in a good way such that it appears like you have met them before
Always Use open-ended questions. Don't just ask, "Are you interested in our product?" Instead, ask questions that allow the prospect to talk about themselves. This makes the conversation feel more natural and helps you learn more about the person.
Don't be afraid to ask follow-up questions after the initial question. If you get a positive response, you can continue with another question. However, if you don't hear anything back, you should move on to the next person on your list.
Always Keep your cold call script under 20 minutes long. You don't have to make an hour-long sales presentation.
Don't come off as too pushy to prospects. People hate being pushed into doing something they didn't intend to do. So, keep your tone conversational and friendly.
Here are some sample scripts for cold calling:
- "Hi! My name is __________. I am calling about our new product/service. Would you like to learn more?"
- “Hello, my name is ___________. I am calling regarding your company's services. Would you like me to send you a brochure?"
- Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. Can I get your email address to send you our brochure?
- What type of products/services are you looking for?
- Would you be open to speaking with our sales representative?
- I am more than happy to answer any questions that you might have.
- Can I assist you in any other way today?
4. The ideal number of cold calls in a day.
When you are just starting, it is recommendable to shoot between 75 to 100 calls in a day. This will harness your abilities and develop your confidence in talking to prospects on the phone.
It will also get your name out there by leaving your number on answering machines, increasing your odds of a call back by leaving messages.
I recommend 60 calls per day and 3-4 hours of talk time with prospects as you progress.
Making 100 dials a day is too many. It means you are not having a meaningful conversation with prospects.
If you make around 100 dials a day, that's not good because it means you aren't having any fruitful conversations with prospects. If you had a successful cold call, you wouldn't have time for 100 dials a day.
Unsuccessful cold calls normally range between 20-30 calls per day. This is way too small because it means you are probably spending more time doing 'research' than you are selling. It means your sales process and time management skills need an upgrade, agree?
Create a solid list
As you make headway, qualify your leads before making a call. Make sure your lead is within your target market so as not to waste your time and the prospect's time as well.
Know the best time and day to make a call.
And the best time is between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., followed by just around noon, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., or just before lunchtime. Try not cold calling during lunch; I am sure no one likes answering calls with a mouthful of pizza.
Also calling before 10.00 a.m. is not a good idea. This is the time most people take to complete unfinished tasks from the previous day. Furthermore, most companies have early morning meetings.
Spend your time and your prospects time well
Prepare your sales pitch in advance and make sure you provide valuable information that is read in a short time. Research shows that the best balance is for salespeople to talk 55% of the time and spend 45% of their time listening.
Also, during a successful cold call, sales reps should spend about 37 seconds during their monologue. Be mindful of this:
5. Be Perfectly Pushy.
Is There Such a Thing as 'Perfectly Pushy' in Sales?
Well, that is putting it lightly.
Over time, salespeople have developed a reputation of being pushy and sleazy (sigh). That's because many of us have had negative experiences with salespeople who have bulldozer mentalities. They eagerly run over you to push a sale and don't let any resistance, objection, or NO get in their way.
As a result, many people think selling is not a profession but just an unscrupulous job where its purveyors push products to consumers who don't want or need them.
Do you have to be pushy in sales?
As said earlier, Cold calling in Sales requires grit, resilience, and thick skin. A salesperson must have a strong drive, energy, and the killer instinct, or he may not reach the level of a top salesman and propel his business or his organization forward.
But on the other hand, it can be said that pushy salespeople alienate consumers and that selling style is old-fashioned and ineffective nowadays.
It would be unfair, though, to say that more than one or two cold calls in a week are pushy or obnoxious. You have to show up in many places and keep trying to get your message across to serve your customers. If a salesperson genuinely believes that he can be of service and help someone with their pain points, then he must insist (up to a point).
Insistent vs. Pushy
Both terms are used to describe salespeople, in the negative, of course. So what's the difference? Is there some redeeming factor?
Insistent when stretched could also mean persevering, persistent, pertinacious, tenacious. This can be positive because it means you don't give up easily, a commendable trait and necessary and even respected for a salesperson. It shows good business drive and concern.-A great script would cast your insistence in a good light.
Pushy, on the other hand, indicates disrespect and a wrong approach. Being pushy in sales shows you sell primarily in the best interest of yourself (maybe not even for your company) in a timeline that suits you. Pushy feels like it is all about you and not in the client's best interest.
So, do you have to be pushy to be successful in sales? Yes, if that means you need to push yourself and acquire the necessary skills to become a successful salesperson.
Push yourself to develop the positive attributes and skills to change people's perceptions of a salesperson. Because, of course, we all know this:
PEOPLE WANT TO BUY, BUT THEY DON'T LIKE BEING SOLD TO.
That is how you can be 'perfectly pushy in sales," push yourself, not your customers. This is now the era of consultative selling, if you haven't noticed.
6. Expect changes.
Research reveals that just within a year, 30% of employees change contact details, positions, or switch companies. Your contact information might be outdated. So you think leads for cold calls are lost.
It doesn't have to be. Don't be shy or lazy to ask for referrals.
7. Engage with the right people.
Concentrate your time and effort on the people that need your product or service. Do not waste your time and resources (or the customer's), and you realize it's not a good fit.
Create a system of prioritizing prospects that are more likely to buy. For instance, run a sales analysis to understand better where your past customers have come from.
8. Make them comfortable with you.
It's essential to make people feel comfortable. That doesn't just mean chitchat: a smooth introduction and discovery of their own needs, really hearing them out, would better precede the actual pitch. The more comfortable customers are, the higher their confidence that you are looking out for their best interests.
9. Take the role of an active listener.
Best ways to create a positive sales cold call experience, according to buyers:
Showing good speaking skills is highly needed in sales but being an active listener is more important.
Selling is not manipulating people to buy things they don't want. Instead, it is finding out what they already desire and fulfilling them. Successful salespeople excel at this step.
10. Focus on their problems, not your product.
If you go in desperate, your proposal won't fly. You must first take yourself and your product out of the equation. Focus on their pain points and challenges to better understand their needs. This way, you can present your products and services well.
Find the perfect timing; there is no need to rush into a sales pitch. Many salespeople commit the annoying mistake of pushing the prospects on their products.
11. Follow Up
Most sales representatives give up on the cold calling sales way too early. Prospects typically require multiple touchpoints across numerous channels before they ever speak to a sales rep, especially in a B2B setting where sales cycles are longer with more decision-makers.
However, following up with customers can be tricky because many people associate it with bugging or annoying people. Moderation and timing are essential because bugging prospects is the last thing you want to do as someone trying to grow their business.
Making a "no" into a "yes" requires courage and planning, so details are essential. Most importantly, though, is to remember to follow up with a simple reminder email within two weeks of reaching out.
Find the right time and day to send your follow-up emails at a time readers are more likely to be available to read and respond to your message.
12. Close that deal.
When closing deals, the best way is to take an assumptive stance. It requires confidence in yourself and your products and services to be a power move.
This is an actual power move that requires confidence in yourself and your product.
An assumptive close is done after driving home the benefits of your offer. The key is to be assertive but without being aggressive. Move forward under the assumption that the prospect wants to buy and that the deal is pretty much close.
The Final Note
When it comes to scheduling appointments, discovering who might need your products and services, building rapport, and closing sales, I believe that the data above shows that cold calling is very effective.
Yes, sales should keep up with new tools and trends to allow one's organisation to achieve sales goals. But, if statistics show that cold calling is effective, why abandon it?