Anand Srinivasan is a digital media consultant and the author of the book “Cold Calling Success: Tricks & Strategies.” He also runs a newsletter for entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Daily.
Regardless of whether you are the sales guy making the phone call or the prospect receiving them, we all hate cold calls. Yet, it is one of the most inevitable aspects of sales.
During the course of writing my book, I was able to talk to business owners and sales managers with decades of cold calling experience to spell out some tricks that may be replicated by fellow sales executives. Here are some takeaways from my conversations.
Personalize the call
It is one of the most obvious aspects of cold-calling; yet a majority of callers tend to overlook this. Nobody likes to listen to a templatized call that does not address to their situation specifically.
The trick here is to exhaustively research the prospect company and the specific person you will be reaching out to. Has the company recently closed a funding? Has the prospect updated their designation on LinkedIn? All this will help you draft a call script that is extremely personalized.
Having said that, do not give off a stalker-vibe – instead, touch upon the researched facts in a matter-of-fact manner. Everyone likes to receive compliments on a recent job promotion, for instance.
Do not call cold
This may seem like going against the grain of this topic, but this is one trick that always works. People do not like it when you call them while they are in the middle of something else that they deem important, but they all take the call more seriously when you are referred to them through a colleague or friend.
One way to do this is by making a short call or sending an email to the boss of the actual prospect asking for the right person to reach out to. When they refer you to the intended aspect, it gives you much more authority while calling the prospect who you intended to reach out to in the first place.
Let the prospect speak
Nobody likes to listen, but we all love to talk about what we do. So how do you do this in a cold call?
One thing that has worked for me is to start the call by asking for permission to ask a couple of questions. For instance, “I’m calling from XYZ. We recently worked with a few companies in your industries to help increase their revenues by 23 percent. Can I ask you a couple of questions to see if there is a chance of us helping your company as well?”
Build curiosity/do not give away everything
Know the objective of your call – is this to gain an appointment? Do you want to schedule an online demo? Only do so much as to get to the objective.
The primary role of a cold call is to build interest in the prospect that would lead to an appointment or online demo. There may be instances where the prospect might get pretty interested and would start asking you questions about the product.
Keep in mind not to give everything away about the product. This is especially true for pricing plans and doing so reduces the mystique around the product and often leads to lower conversions.
Even the best sales managers do not always elicit interest in the first call. The response is always something on the lines of “Let me think about it and get back to you.” As a result, following up is an inevitable part of sales management.
With cold calls though, one may come across as an annoyance if you follow up more than once. One way to tackle this is by providing new product updates each time you call.
This is an extension of the previous point where I mentioned about not giving everything away. By doing so, you may have stocked yourself up with sufficient ammunition to follow up with the prospect every week or two.
What other cold calling tips do you find effective? Let’s discuss in the comments below!