While some companies regard cold calling as an interruptive, not so effective marketing strategy, 75% of prospects have attended an event or scheduled a meeting based on a cold email or call.
Cold call is a one of the few approaches that allows a one-on-one, super targeted, and live conversation with the prospect. James Pollard, founder of a consulting company says:
“Nothing will help you adapt faster than speaking directly to your prospects to hear their questions, objections, concerns, and more. Cold calling also helps you learn to quickly get to the point and establish your USP because people can easily hang up the phone”.
Besides, if cold calling wasn’t effective, B2B lead generation services wouldn’t specialize in it and wouldn’t be able to find any clients. It’s as simple as it is!
To help you get the most out of cold calling and see its true value, we interviewed sales experts and their cold calling tips are below:
1. Know who you are calling
Having access only to the call recipient’s phone number isn’t enough. To increase your chances, you should research their company, position, name in advance and gather as many details as possible.
A company website and the recipient’s LinkedIn profile will be more than useful in helping you. Check out their website’s Contact us, About, Team sections to understand who the decision makers are and who is the most relevant person to contact.
Cristina Kudlock from a home buying company says:
“Find the first name of the person you are calling. If you call and ask for the person in charge of X, it comes off as salesy. If you ask for a name, you will make a better first impression”.
Freddy Keefe, Head of Marketing and Sales at BioTech Life Sciences, adds:
“Address the reason why you are calling. “The reason I am calling is because I noticed you [did something] and we help businesses like your [achieve this goal]””.
Gathering company information is time-consuming but it’s the first step towards having quality conversations that won’t make you feel disappointed.
2. Have a script
Cater Mark, a copywriter sums up this point with a short, yet informative quote:
“I write a script or at least an outline before making a call. It’s tempting to go in blind but a script will help you get over the cold call jitters.
You don’t need to follow it to the letter but it will help with inspiration”.
3. Engage the prospect with open-ended questions
Like a generic email, ad or blog post is doomed to failure, so a generic cold call is.
A super short introduction about your service/product is necessary to qualify the call recipient. But the result depends on the engagement level of the potential customer.
Luke Smith, founder of a real estate company explains:
“Cold callers should focus on keeping the customer talking to gain understanding of their circumstances. From there one can start to make suggestions or offer solutions”.
4. Optimize cold calling days and times
Magic days and hours don’t exist but having a look at some recommendations will help you organize your work in a more productive way.
According to studies, the best time to call is between 4:00 and 5:00 PM (consider different time zones as well). Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the best days during the week to initiate cold calls.
Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO at a consulting firm, shares her own tip regarding cold call time:
“The worst time to make a cold call in any region is 8-10 AM. It’s the time when everyone is rushing to work and preparing for the day.”
5. End with a CTA
What step do you want your prospect to take after the call? Visit your website? Provide their email address for additional info? Attend a video call? That’s something you should have in mind before dialing any number.
Jessica Pingrey, a Senior Sales Analyst observes:
“The goal of the call should be short and to the point, leading to a call to action such as scheduling a demo meeting. Ask for 15 minutes of their time and schedule right away”.
6. Follow up
Statistics show that 50% of leads never get a second cold call from a salesperson. However, only a tiny percent of sales happen after the first interaction between the seller and customer. In most cases, sellers need to follow up if they don’t hear from the prospect for a while.
Susie Ippolito, a brand strategist, describes the process in a simple way:
“Don’t focus on closing the deal in one phone call. Instead, create a sustainable value for your business by focusing on the opportunity to build a relationship.
You are better to leave them with something to think about and give yourself a reason to follow up and continue to show you value. That may be emailing an article you think they would be interested in.
Keep a close eye on their business and brand behaviors, reach out to them and give praise or even critique if you see fit. Show them why they need your product/service by sharing your expertise generously”.
Amara Ukaigwe, CEO of a driving school, agrees on this opinion:
“When cold calling a prospect, don’t try to make a sale on that initial call.
Use the initial call to build a picture of the prospect. Find out whether they have a genuine need for your product/service and get permission to continue the discussion at a later date.
If possible, try and agree on actionable next steps as well”.
7. Leave a voicemail
It’s natural that X percent of prospects will be unavailable or don’t answer the phone call. If the situation repeats a few times, you can leave a voicemail, introduce yourself, and ask a question that will make the prospect get in touch with you.
The recommended sales voicemail length is 20-30 seconds. It’s usually enough to clarify why you reached out, leave your contact details, and give the prospect a reason to get back to you.
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.