Cold calling allows you to focus your sales efforts on your ideal customers that are ready to purchase, and you are able to control their entire customer experience. Referrals are great, but they often provide you with less than ideal clients who already have preconceived notions about what your company can do for them.
The first key to successful cold calling to research your leads before you make first contact. You want to look for indicators of need, willingness and resources. Using this information you want to outline your contact strategy, sales pitch and closing strategy. Your goal should to be to build relationships, and this means that you won’t be able to work a list of hundreds of names. Instead, I recommend cold calling between 10 and 25 people a month. This will give you time to research them, quality them and make several attempts to contact to request a meeting.
The second key to a successful cold call is making first contact. No matter how targeted the list or how much you know about a person, picking up the phone to someone you don’t know is nerve racking for even the most polished salesperson. You have to just pick up the phone and confidently take the plunge.
On the first contact your only goal is simply to get a face-to-face meeting. This can be in person or virtually such as over Skype. The most important thing is that you end the call with a clear next step. At the end of the first contact you should either have a meeting rescheduled, a request for a follow-up call or take the lead out of your sales pipe.
Getting a face-to-face meeting before you try to sell the lead is important because a large amount of human communication is visual. This means that your sales pitch will be most effective face-to-face, and you don’t want to waste your sales pitch over the phone talking to a complete stranger. Also, most sales people are very comfortable talking to new acquaintances in person instead of over the phone, so in person your sales presentation will come across much more confidently.
Confidence is essential because people buy confidence, so your voice can’t quiver, break or shake. You need to appear confident. To help you convey confidence, you need to be very well prepared with what you are going to say. Many of the best sales people have a large repertoire of stories that they use everyday with almost everyone they meet. Your preparation should focus on developing your main points and using them to respond to questions. Focusing on your main points instead of writing out a word-by-word script will help your presentation flow smoothly. I would also recommend role-playing with a peer by having them ask you questions.
At CAN, we use predictive mathematics to find people that have the need, willingness and resources to make B2B purchases over $20k. While CAN provides the leads as well as all the research needed to develop an effective sales strategy, actually making the first contact is left up to the individual sales person. If you are not used to making cold colds, making first contact can be challenging. One of our clients developed an interesting solution. They developed Most Wanted posters of their leads, and sent them to business connections and friends. On the posters they included the persons name, photo, company and most importantly an explanation of why they believed the person would appreciate an introduction.