‘Cold calling’ is like entering an unknown realm and conquering it with your interpersonal selling skills. You approach total strangers who have no prior knowledge of your call. Cold calling, is one of the most cost-effective medium for B2B businesses to reach new customers. Instead of spending hours writing a blog to generate leads or wearing creative hats to draft highly impactful emails, why not just pick up the phone and speak?
Yes! It is difficult to sell a product immediately after the first phone call. However cold calls aren’t even meant for that. Cold calling is an opportunity to acquaint a potential sales prospect with your company and product.
Cold calling is the essential ingredient in B2B sales
Most of the companies feel cold calling is a thing of the past and they avoid using it. Either they don’t know the right cold calling practices, or they are waiting for a miracle to drum up their sales. However, this old-school technique has worked for many companies. One of the best example is ‘Uber’ that started as a small business idea in 2009, has now grown into a multinational company. Even the founder of Uber implemented the cold calling sales strategy to find his first few customers.
“I went to Google, typed in San Francisco chauffeur or San Francisco limousine, I just filled out an excel sheet, and I just started dialing for dollars, right? First ten guys I called, three of them hung up before I got a few words out, a few of them would listen for like 45 seconds and then hung up, and three of them said ‘I’m interested, let’s meet.’ And if you’re cold calling and three out of ten say ‘let’s meet’, you’ve got something.” – Travis Kalanick (Founder of Uber)
Done correctly, cold calling can help improve your B2B sales. It is the best way of adding high-potential deals to your sales pipeline and a direct source for understanding the requirement and business challenges of a prospective buyer. Cold calling requires persistence, patience, and proficiency to succeed.
Success is the sum of small efforts- repeated day in and day out – Robert Collier
Effective B2B cold calling tips for sales success
- Start it right
- Define your list
- Cope up with the fear of rejection
- Avoid distractions while making cold calls
- Focus on the time duration of your cold call
- Build rapport by narrating customer success story
- Ask relevant questions
- Use a local number
- Practice your craft
- Use cold calling scripts but don’t sound scripted
- Leverage technology
Sales rep mostly find cold calls intimidating and nerve-wracking. The thought of interrupting someone in the middle of their day would make them physically sick. No one likes to be turned away with a rude response at the start of the day. However, escaping cold calls would only affect your sales result.
Don’t allow the fear to control you; set yourself free from the cold calling anxiety. You are not calling with an intention to disrupt but because you have something important to say.
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie
Cold calling is an art that you need to master as a sales professional. It requires few skill sets, a positive attitude and the right techniques to be fully effective.
Below are few cold calling tips that will help you in increasing your B2B sales call success ratio:
1. Start it right
There is no second chance in cold calling. It is now or never. Once you annoy the prospects, they will never answer your phone call again. So, it is crucial to creating an impact as soon as they get on the line. Your opening statement should give them a reason to stay on the call and listen to you. Organize your thoughts before the call and come up with a statement that piques the prospect’s interest. It must be so impressive that it gets out a response like “tell me more” from the prospect; providing permission to further question them for uncovering their business needs.
Statements you “SHOULD NOT” use as an opening statement for a cold call:
- “Did I catch you at a bad time?“
Sales professionals try to demonstrate respect for the prospect’s time with this question but most of the time it backfires and results in negative responses. Using this statement to open a cold call makes you 40% less likely to book a meeting
- “Do you have a minute to talk?”
This is one of the most commonly asked questions that can show your prospect an exit door to avoid the conversation as no one has time to hear a sales pitch.
What are the right openers for a cold call?
You can use the below statements to open a cold call:
- “Hi, Mr. Keith, Derick Nathans here, calling from ABC company. My company works with leading oil and gas firms in Athens, Georgia. Would you like to hear some of the benefits these companies are enjoying through our product?“
- “Hi, Mr. Ryan. This is Stalna Williams here and I am calling from XYZ company. We provide (product/service) to help companies minimize their (_____expenses) and maximize their productivity as well as monthly sales revenue. Would you like to hear the details to see if it would be valuable for you and your team?”
- How have you been?
This simple question can increase your chances of arranging a meeting with your potential sales prospect. Opening a B2B sales call with this question boasted a 6.6X higher success rate than the baseline.
2. Define your list
It might seem tempting to Google and dial the numbers you see. But, is it effective? It isn’t about how many calls you make. You might call 50 companies and complete your calling target for the day but will it help in achieving your monthly sales target? Instead of approaching everyone under the sun, narrow down your list and target ideal sales prospects to ensure your calling efforts don’t go in vain.
Define your target audience and develop a strong list for making successful cold calls. Reflect on the database of the existing customers or view the testimonials on your competitor’s website to find your ideal sales prospect. Once you know whom to approach, then you need to research their business and market. Try to find out the decision maker of the company by browsing through their social media profile or press releases and blogs.
Wondering how to find the contact numbers of your target audience?
There are many places where you can find their contact numbers without burning a hole in your budget. Like:
- Emails signatures. (install Gmail plugin Rapportive to get additional contact info)
- Company websites
- Sites like Crunchbase
- Linkedin profile
- Competitor’s clientele list
- Social media networks
3. Cope up with the fear of rejection
If you have chosen sales as a career, then you need to be mentally prepared for rejections. The negative responses shouldn’t bog you down. I see many sales professionals who get stressed due to rejections and then eventually give up. They can’t give their best performance due to a negative mindset.
The biggest calling mistake that sales professionals make is ignoring the rejections instead of understanding and facing it. They stick to current customers and don’t try to explore new opportunities. Retaining customers is a good sales strategy, but that doesn’t mean you stop approaching new sales prospects.
“A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success”- Bo Bennett
How to cope up with fear of rejection?
- Analyze the reasons for rejections
- Sit with your team and try finding solutions to deal with the objections
- Play positive and visualize your success before picking the phone to call (prepare your mind to win)
- Tighten up your sales pitch to sound confident on the phone call
- Don’t dwell on a no, let it go
- Don’t get influenced by negative people around you
4. Avoid distractions while making cold calls
Distraction is the biggest enemy of a sales rep. Cold call demands your undivided attention. Distraction traps you into saying things that you might regret later. It disturbs the flow of communication and disconnects you from your potential sales prospects. Besides, prospects get annoyed when they are asked the same question multiple times. This mostly happens when your attention is divided between different things. It is impossible to call continuously without taking breaks. However, those breaks shouldn’t be quite often. Some of the sales reps tend to get up frequently only to avoid the cold calls. Ignore temptations and keep your concentration intact while making B2B sales calls.
“Starve your distraction and feed your focus”-anonymous
How to mute the distractions while cold calling?
- Turn off your screen (If not related to call)
- Keep your phone aside
- Work smart and divide your time
- Block four hours of the day for cold calling (It doesn’t need to be continuous, you can break it up)
- Use the rest of the hours for creating proposals, following up with prospects, scheduling appointments, updating information in your sales CRM or meeting a prospect for product demo
- Maintain distance from social media sites while you are on a B2B sales call
- Stay away from the gossip corner of the office (colleagues who have a hot topic to discuss every day)
- Put on wireless headphones and walk across the office or in the corridor while cold calling
- Get rid of unwanted thoughts and listen to your customers attentively
5. Focus on the time duration of your cold call
You have few seconds to set an impactful first impression. You can either waste it or extend it by convincing the sales prospect to keep everything aside and listen to you. Successful cold calls are mostly longer; as a cold caller you need to be expert in buying time.
Longer the call, better are the chances of taking the sales deal forward. Every step should be well-planned in advanced; you should know what exactly you are going to say next to capture the prospect’s interest and keep him on the phone for a longer duration.
6. Build rapport by narrating customer success story
Once you draw their attention with a strong one-liner, then break the ice and build rapport by sharing the experience of helping others having the same issue. This will assure that you know their industry and are qualified to solve their problem. Demonstrate the positive results companies have experienced by using your product or service.
Try something like this:
“Schynelle, who also belongs to the construction industry told me how our system helped them in saving their time by organizing their project related documents at one place, increased their efficiency by automating most of the task and kept them updated about their project bids for taking real-time action. Which of these is important for you?”
The idea is to pick 2 or 3 business problems that your company has solved for a client from a specific industry. Target companies from the same industry and strike a meaningful communication by highlighting the solutions to those problems. Try being very explicit while discussing the problem so that the potential sales prospect can relate with it.
Be a storyteller and make them visualize the journey you are going to take them through. For creating effective success stories, you can call your current customers and ask them to narrate their experience with your product. Try to know what did they like or dislike about your product and how much money did they save or gained by using it. Some might give you interesting details that might help you while connecting with a new sales prospect.
7. Ask relevant questions
Cold calling rarely results in immediate sales; so instead of being impatient, focus on establishing a relationship with your contact. Ask relevant questions and try to collect maximum information for future interactions. Let them know that you are genuinely interested in helping them. Focus on introduction, prospect’s issues and setting up the first meeting for giving the demo of your product.
Below are few questions that you should be asking your prospect on the first call:
- I see A, B and C going on in your industry. Are you being affected by it?
- Several of our clients are struggling with X and Z. how are you dealing with it?
- Can you tell me something about your current business scenario?
- Are there any areas in your business that you are looking to improve?
- Are you currently using any solution?
- In your annual report, you had mentioned your top 4 priorities. Are you facing any problems in achieving it?
Be attentive while asking these questions. Their answer might contain a wealth of information that can help in closing the deal.
8. Use a local number
Having a local number for your business allows you to gain trust and credibility of your prospects. Your prospects will have a high level of comfort if they feel you are working in their city. Why? Because it creates a sense of accountability in their mind
However, you don’t need to spend a fortune for setting up a business in their vicinity. You can get a local number with the help of virtual phone system and increase your cold call response rate. Sales CRM such as Salesmate come with in-built calling feature. Get rid of third-party applications and effortlessly call from within your sales CRM.
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9. Practice your craft
Cold calling mistakes can result in bad sales outcomes. Sometimes even experienced sales reps stumble while facing buyer’s hesitancy or questions during a B2B sales call. To avoid it, you need to practice well before calling your potential sales prospects. Cold calling is a tough task, so you need to brush your skills and practice various sales scenarios to succeed.
How to do it?
- Gather the team and conduct mock calls to see what are the challenges you face during a cold call
- Try to make the mock B2B sales calls as difficult as possible to prepare the sales rep for tough situations
- Keep repeating this till the sales rep is confident to take cold calls
- Make a list of the most common problems
- Listen to your top performer while they are making cold calls
- Create multiple approaches and test which one is more effective
10. Use cold calling scripts but don’t sound scripted
Sales professionals try to create the best cold calling scripts for their calling campaigns. However, the success of the calling campaigns doesn’t depend on how good is your script but on how well you use it. Cold calling scripts are very helpful in navigating a conversation, but if it isn’t used smartly, you might begin to sound like a robot.
Cold calling scripts are just a guide to ensure you don’t lose track while interacting with a high potential sales prospect. However, you shouldn’t be completely dependent on it, as prospects expect a naturally flowing conversation. They prefer speaking to someone who hears and understand their business problems. Try adding your personality while using the cold calling scripts.
Wondering how to create effective cold calling script? I recommend that you go through the blog-” Best Cold Calling Scripts for All Situations”. This blog has some of the best outbound sales call script examples that you can customize to match your product.
11. Leverage technology
There are many sales tools and mobile apps available in the market to ease the work of sales professionals. CRM is one of the most helpful tools in that list. Most of the CRM systems have grown beyond storing contacts, and they now come with advanced features. Being a sales driven organization, you might be using a CRM. However, to surpass your competitors, you need to be abreast of the changing trends in the CRM industry. CRM with built-in calling feature has now become a preferred choice for most of the companies.
Why use two applications when you can manage your sales and cold calls from one platform? CRM with built is calling feature is the perfect solution for sales reps who use the cold calling sales strategy for closing more deals. You can instantly make calls with just a click. Quickly take notes and record call for future reference. Besides you can save your precious time by automatically logging all inbound as well as outbound calls. It adds convenience and makes your work faster.
Best time for cold calling
Timing is everything in sales. No matter how many calls you make in a day but it is pointless if you don’t reach out to your prospect at the ‘right time’. So, it very important to find out the apt time to contact.
As per the research conducted by Phone Burner, below are the best times to make cold calls:
Here are the actual percentages:
- 6 AM: 2.31%
- 7 AM: 3.73%
- 8 AM: 11.84%
- 9 AM: 14.09%
- 10 AM: 15.53%
- 11 AM: 14.95%
- 12 PM: 13.53%
- 1 PM: 14.41%
- 2 PM: 15.01%
- 3 PM: 14.44%
- 4 PM: 14.07%
- 5 PM: 12.58%
- 6 PM: 12.39%
- 7 PM: 12.59%
- 8 PM: 11.81%
- 9 PM: 12.09%
Note: The time mentioned in the graph relates to the time zone of the person being called, not the caller.
According to the above data, there are certain times in the day that are apt for cold calls.
- The chart shows the time slot between 9 AM to 4 PM is best for making outbound calls
- 10 AM with 15.53%, and 2 PM with 15.01% are the idle time for calling your high potential sales prospects
- You shouldn’t disturb your prospect between 12 PM to 1 PM and before 8 AM as it is the worst time for calling
The below things need to be done to take out the chill out of cold calling:
- Record a good voice messages so that you don’t need to repeat the same thing when you end up in someone’s voicemail.
- Respect the gatekeeper if you want to reach the decision maker.
- Avoid calling on Friday as it can have the worst results compared to other working days. Instead use it for completing your rest of the sales activities.
- Believe in yourself and your skills
- Don’t give out a straight price, show them the value of your product
- Before making a B2B sales call ask yourself why are you calling this specific person, what are you trying to achieve and how will you do it?
- Maser the skill of emotional intelligence for facing criticism during cold calls
- Train your mind to never give up
Cold calling can be very beneficial for your B2B business provided you know how to use this smart selling strategy. Plan you calling process in advance to avoid the calling mistakes and prepare yourself to sound confident during the B2B sales calls. As I said above cold calling is an art, and you need to enjoy it. Have fun with your B2B sales calls by adding a pinch of humor while interacting with the clients. Step in your prospects shoes and think from their perspective to help them in overcoming their business challenges. We hope these tips will help you in making successful cold calls.
Try using excellent tools and apps for ameliorating your calling experience. Salesmate is one of the sales tools that can help you in it. By embracing this tool, you can gain control over you deals as well as sales calls. Easily get numbers of 80+ countries and call from anywhere at any hour of the day. Get in touch with our team you want to know more about this excellent sales CRM with built-in virtual phone system.
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