Does a telephone cold call have the same impact that it did 10 or 20 years ago? The answer is probably not. Is a telephone cold call still a valuable way to prospect? The answer is yes. Of course, the method is the key to success.
Consider the following top ten tips for effective cold calling . . .
1. Understand that the ratios have decreased dramatically from 20% according to Steven Schiffman in his classic book, ” Cold Calling Techniques ”
One of the answers to this challenge is to make more calls; our new salespeople are required to make 100 phone calls daily. If you dial 100 prospects, only one in five decision makers will answer the phone and you may make 2 appointments.
2. Business owners are busier than ever and technology enables them to avoid cold calls. In the old days, there was a good chance that they would answer the phone; now they have voice mail, email, and others ways to avoid cold calls.
3. The cold call itself must follow a five part formula. The formula is simple – who you are, where you are calling from, the reason for your call, the benefit to the prospect, and the request for an appointment. Without a script, it’s easy to get off track. You wouldn’t plan a long car trip without GPS.
4. Due to the fact that effective communication has very little to do with the worlds you are saying, your tone of voice is critical. So make certain that your tone of voice is positive, energetic and positively expectant. Eliminate any question marks in the way you speak.
5. There are two simple and effective ways to sound great on the phone. Stand up and smile. Believe it or not, you will hear the difference. Try it. Most professional radio announcers will smile while they are voicing a commercial.
6. Do your homework. Gather some basic knowledge about the prospects business so that you can have an intelligent conversation based on what you have learned. Check them out on LinkedIn, and even take the time to drop in to their place of business if the prospect has great potential.
7. Learn how to handle objections. Most business owners will tell you that they are not interested in your offering. However, that is just a normal reaction to any sales call. Use the feel, felt, found formula to handle objections. In other words, if the prospect says I have no budget, simply say ” I understand how you feel, other prospects that I have contacted felt the same way until they found out how affordable our offering is and how it can save you money, or increase your business.
8. Rejection. When cold calling, rejection is a normal part of the process. They are not rejecting you but simply rejecting your offering. If one out of every ten calls results in an appointment, then every no gets you closer to a yes.
9. The purpose of the cold call. Unless you are selling a product or service over the phone, the purpose of the cold call is to make an appointment. Once you are face to face with a prospect, your odds of making a sale increase dramatically over the phone or email. Do not get bogged down in details when prospecting, just get the appointment.
10. Attitude. Stay positive as you cold call. The process is not easy and takes patience but will pay off in the long run. The sales reps who succeeded in our company embraced the cold call and worked our formula for success. The ones that balked at the idea are no longer with our company.
So pick up the phone and make something happen.