Ah, cold calling. Such a funny relationship we have with it. Those who make cold calls hate making them, and those who receive cold calls hate receiving them, yet, it is still a highly effective way to generate new business in 2022. And I should know.
My first experience cold calling was almost ten years ago now. My first sales job involved door knocking in the central business district of Wellington, New Zealand generating business for document solutions. I knocked on the doors of over 1000 businesses – something I was quite proud of at the time.
Whilst cold calling has changed a lot since then, there are still fundamentals that have stood the test of time. There’s a certain attitude that MUST be adopted when cold calling – and in my opinion attitude is probably the most critical of all the tips and tricks out there,
If you can get good at cold calling, it creates a solid foundation of success for the rest of your sales career. No longer will you have to rely on others to generate business for you.
In this blog post I will outline what cold calling is and provide some essential tips for sales development reps just starting out, or more seasoned sales professionals looking to improve their skills. Finally, I’ll provide a handful of cold calling scripts to add to your playbook for testing and refinement.
What is cold calling?
If you’ve seen Wolf of Wall Street (what budding sales professional hasn’t?), you’ll know what cold calling is. It made Jordan Belford extremely rich, but also got him landed in jail. Don’t do that.
For the rest of us, cold calling is the process of proactively reaching out to potential customers who have had no prior contact with your business. The goal is to create interest in your product or service and ultimately generate new leads and sales.
Cold calling is hard, and that’s why many people hate doing it, but it is still and extremely effective method for generating new business. Cold calling can done in the form of door knocking (how I started out),or more commonly these days outbound cold calling on the phone.
In my experience, of all the channels that can be utilised for sales outreach, the phone is still the most effective and efficient way to turn a cold call into a further meeting or qualification.
Why is cold calling still relevant?
Cold calling is not dead, despite what some experts might say . It’s a method of outreach that needs to be approached with the right attitude, and when done correctly, can still be extremely successful in generating new leads for your business.
There are certain principles that remain true when cold calling, no matter how much technology or the sales landscape has changed.
The number one rule of thumb is that you should always be prepared before making a cold call. This means researching your target market, having a solid understanding of what you’re selling, and knowing your script inside out.
Some people believe that because they’ve read a few blog posts on the internet about cold calling, they know everything there is to know about it. This could not be further from the truth. If you want to be successful at cold calling, you need to put in the hard yards and prepare thoroughly before making any calls, it’s through cold calling, that you will get better at cold calling. Activity generates results along with other prospecting strategies such as leaving voicemails, and sales emails.
Check out some more cold calling techniques and tips below.
4 Cold Calling Tips to Try Now
The following cold calling tips and tricks are based on my own experience, as well as feedback from sales leaders and experts in the field. Whilst it may not be possible to implement them all at once, getting a few under your belt and testing the on a cold call can go a long way to getting an improvement on your results.
Know the best time to call your prospects.
I know what you’re probably saying, its never the right time to receive a cold call. But in saying that – depending on your industry – some times a definitely better than others to make a sales call.
For example, when I was calling into Europe and the UK, the best time to call was between 5 and 6pm local time. The reason being was that the prospect was often in their car on the way home from work, a time when they had nothing to do. So a perfect opportunity for a cold call. Think about times when your prospect would most likely be free and call them at that time. They may be more likely to pick up the phone.
There have been many studies done around the best time to make a cold call, but I really think it depends on the persona you are trying to target – everyone works differently.
Monday mornings are generally considered a poor time to make cold calls – people are getting back into work mode, they’re usually busy and haven’t had time to check voicemails or emails from over the weekend. Afternoons from Tuesday to Thursday are often a good time as people have generally settled into their week by then. Fridays can be good too as some people are already thinking about the weekend and may be more receptive to a call and more relaxed. Fridays could be a good opportunity to try a new cold calling script or implement some of these cold calling tips.
Early mornings (before 9am) can be hit or miss. Sometimes it is the perfect time to get a prospect on a cold call, other times it is the absolute worst – especially if the prospect has children!
Learn to love rejection.
A thing most most sales reps starting out don’t realise is that cold calling and sales calls will end up as a ‘no’ most of the time. It is essential that sales reps start to get comfortable with that fact.
When cold calling, it is important to take every ‘no’ you get to be as valuable as a ‘yes’. By disqualifying sales calls quickly, you can focus your attention more on the prospects that may say yes. Effective cold calling is about knowing when to stop calling a prospect as much as it is about when to try and continue the conversation. Learn to love a ‘no’!
Know your customer.
One of the most important cold calling tips I can give is to know your target market and research your ideal customer. The more you understand about who you are trying to sell to, the easier it will be to make a connection with them and eventually close the sale.
Creating a buyer persona is an excellent way to learn everything you need to know about your target customer. Once you have created a buyer persona, familiarise yourself with their needs, pain points, wants and desires. This will make it easier for you to identify whether they may need your product or service.
If you aren’t targeting the correct ideal client profile for your product, you’ll have a had time getting them to agree to a meeting. Sometimes testing a cold call script across difference personas can beneficial in getting this right.
When cold calling, always aim to sound like you are already familiar with the prospect and their business. This means checking out things like their Linkedin profile, company site and other social media profiles to learn more about the customer before cold calling.
To make successful cold calls, it’s important that you stand out from the other sales reps also making cold calls. Though personalisation of you sales script you show that you have take the time to learn more about your prospect and they aren’t just part of a sales sequence (even though they are).
Know what you want to say.
The best cold calling scripts are ones that sound natural and conversational. This can be difficult to achieve if you are reading from a script word for word.
To make your script sound more natural, try to write down key points rather than whole sentences. This will help you to sound more like you are having a conversation with the prospect, rather than reading from a script.
Some sales reps find it helpful to record themselves reading the cold calling script out loud. This can help you to identify any areas where the script may sound unnatural or robotic.
It is also important to make sure that you know your product inside out. If you are able to answer any objections that may come up, you will sound more confident on the call and be more likely to close the sale.
Finally, make sure you know what your goal for the call is. Whether it is to schedule a meeting, get a decision maker on the phone or simply gather information, know what you want to achieve before making the call. This will help you to stay focused and not get sidetracked during the call.
The more conversation you have, the more natural your conversations with prospects will become so it is important that your put in a sufficient number of dials at the beginning. It’s through this trial and error that your cold calling skills will start to improve.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many calls should I make in a day?
This depends on a number of factors such as the type of product you are selling, your target market and the script you are using.
As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended that sales reps make around 100-120 calls per day. This may seem like a lot, but remember that not every call will result in a conversation.
What is the best time to make cold calls?
The best time to make cold calls is typically early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This is because decision makers are more likely to be in the office and less likely to be in meetings.
What is the best day to make cold calls?
The best day to make cold calls is typically Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. This is because people are more likely to be in the office and less likely to have plans after work.
Making cold calls can be daunting, but by following these tips you can increase your chances of success. The more calls you make, the more comfortable you will become and the more likely you are to close sales. What are your tips for naming effective cold calls? Let me know in the comments.