Cold calling is probably the most feared sales activity known to mankind, at least for most salespeople. And with good cause. The majority of calls that we make end up in the wastebasket after several attempts to contact, followed by a short, nasty conversation.
It’s no wonder that there is so much advice on cold calling. When to call, what to say, how to say it. But even then there is that great hurdle: fear of rejection.
I can’t tell you that this ever goes away, but I can tell you how to calm those butterflies in your stomach whenever you think about making your daily calls.
It all boils down to having a plan, and then executing that plan consistently, day in and day out. In so doing you’ll be creating a habit, whereby the activities and outcomes are consistent. This consistency will produce regular, stable results that you’ll be able to expect each time you sit down to make your calls.
This stability will not only calm those butterflies, but in time will reduce them to a distant memory. Use these next 6 tips to make your own plan for cold calling. You may never look forward to cold calling, but you certainly won’t loathe it (something I did when I first got into sales).
The Top 6 Cold Calling Tips – let’s get started
1. Know your strengths in comparison to your competition
Understanding your competition will enable you to focus on what differentiates you from them. This in turn will give you the information you need to craft a successful cold calling script.
2. Best time to call
When calling personal prospects, such as someone looking for a mortgage or investment, I’m not telling you when to call. My best advice is to ask your lead when he or she wants you to call. How can you ask without calling? Put a field in your web form that asks for you. InsideSales.com did a study with FranklinCovey and found that this tip solved several contact issues.
When calling business prospects who haven’t filled in a web form, there are several studies that have tried to determine the best time of day to call. If you’re calling a business prospect the best time is reported to be between 8 to 9 am, and 4 to 5 pm. The worst time is typically over lunch, between 1 and 2 pm. These times are based on a study done by Dr. James Oldroyd, a Professor at Sung Kyun Kwan Graduate School of Business.
3. Be local
Ever see a call coming in from an area code that you don’t recognize? If you’re like me you don’t answer that call. In fact an InsideSales.com study showed that prospects are 57.8% more likely to answer their phone if the call is from a local area code. So, try not to call from numbers that aren’t local.
Create a script. Make it conversational, using terms that are comfortable for you, but ensure that it stays on point. Your call has a beginning, a middle and an end that must ask for the prospect’s business. That business, by the way, isn’t always a sale. It might be a commitment to a follow up call, an email or an appointment, to name a few. After each time you use it, review it. Cold calling scripts aren’t carved in stone, they should be a working document that you improve as you begin to see results.
5. Don’t wait, call now!
You may loathe cold calling, but don’t put it off or you’ll hate it even more because your results will suffer. You should call within 20 minutes of getting the web lead, and at the very worst no later than 1 hour after. Studies show that the first one to call a prospect is typically the one who gets the business!
6. Don’t give up… yet!
Don’t give up until after you’ve tried calling 6-9 times. If you still can’t get in touch with your prospect, you have our permission to consider this cold call a “dead call”
There are literally dozens of other tips for cold calling, but if you can master these six you’ll be on your way to putting those butterflies to rest once and for all. Your business will love you for it.