In this article, we’ll discuss five techniques for cold calling that will help you get through that first impression.
Cold calling can be one of the most difficult areas to develop effective techniques as a salesperson. First impression’s count for quite a bit in sales, but a cold call comes with a built-in negative impression. You skill in overcoming that initial hostility will be what separates you from lesser cold callers. In this article, we’ll discuss five techniques for cold calling that will help you get through that first impression, through your pitch, and to a completed sale. Much of this will also be valuable for other forms of cold selling-if email pitches are more your speed, there’s still something to learn here.
Before you start cold calling, learn what you can about the prospect. Ideally, you’ll be dealing with an individual-someone you can research in advance. The first thing to discover if you’re calling a business is whom you need to be talking to. Asking for a specific, relevant person by name and having insight into that individual will give you a massive leg up over the average cold calling scenario.
When information on an individual is unavailable, at the very least be as knowledgeable about the demographic as possible beforehand. Cold calling of this nature will fail most of the time, but the times you succeed will be because you played to odds early on and learned what you about the individual could mid-call.
If there’s any hard rule of cold calling, it’s that you want the prospect talking more than you are. There are multiple reasons for this:
A prospect who has committed in some way becomes exponentially more likely to eventually buy. There’s some basic psychology operating behind this: People like to believe they have made good decisions and used their time, money, and effort wisely. If they have committed resources or time to you in the past, continuing to do so vindicates that past choice.
Even something as simple as a prospect talking for a while counts as a commitment of time. If you can get them to fill something out, forward some information, or clear space on their schedule for another call, that’s even better. Just get some form of commitment as soon as possible-it instantly moves you away from the hardships of cold calling and into warmer sales waters.
You have very little time to make a good impression when cold calling, so the best salespeople are often those who most methodically refine their process. That means taking notes of what works and what doesn’t, down to the smallest detail. Don’t be afraid to try new moves, but keep track of what consistently failed and refine, refine, refine.
If you don’t have a basic process to begin with, that’s a problem. There’s not enough room in cold calling for wasted tangents and unforced errors. You need to know what the moves most likely to result in a sale under normal circumstances will be-even if you choose to deviate from it often, that baseline is important for tracking how your sales process works and improving it.
You may not have the luxury of a pile of leads you can never completely clear, but if you do you need to prioritize. Once you have experience and a strong awareness of your process, you should be able to tell with little effort that leads will most likely lead to sales and which are almost certainly a waste. Cold calling is about making efficient, smart moves as often as possible, and leads are a good starting place.
Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.