Cold Calling: How to call Prospects?

What exactly Cold Calling is

“Cold Calling” is a term popularly understood in the fields of marketing as the process of soliciting business (sales) from potential customers (buyers) for the very first time.

Though usually performed over-the-phone as a form of telemarketing, cold calling can also include “door-knocking” (a term used for door-to-door marketing).

Door-to-door marketing is more effective in cases of consumer goods that require live demonstration of the goods to the potential buyers, such as marketing of books and clothing under special “limited-time offer” schemes.

How it works

Under cold calling technique, the salespersons make random telephone calls to persons from pre-defined lists who have neither expressed their interests in the products/services being offered for sale, nor have they had any transaction or interaction with the salespersons at any earlier point of time.

Although lead generation has always been the prime objective of cold calls, vast changes (improvements) have been witnessed in this field during the last two decades with the evolution of some newer forms of marketing techniques involving the deployment of highly interactive and very popular social media communities, forums and portals such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

From the traditional approach of assuming each contact number in the lists as a potential buyer and making as many number of cold calls as possible, attempting manipulations through a pre-established script, and targeting on closing sales, the thrust has now shifted to effective cold calling whereby the salespersons need to have a deep understanding of the prospect’s needs and are required to lessen the stress and pressure on the prospect.

The role of cold calling has now become more of a starter than a closer.

How effective it is

The end results of cold calling are very hard to predict beforehand. Empirical studies show that cold calling has a success rate of approximately just 2%.

As a measure to check the nuisances & irritation caused by unwanted and uninvited cold calls, many countries including many institutions thereof have laid legal boundaries.

For instance, many countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada have their own “Do Not Call List” (DNCL) called by different names.

Nevertheless, the usage of cold calling is continuing till date and is often used as an effective tool by many successful market players such as Fortune 500 companies, Twitter and Uber as well as many growth-seeking entities.

Following appropriate approach, the effectiveness of cold calling can be increased to as high as 25% or even more.

How to cold call effectively

Cold calling is definitely a very difficult and frustrating task to most of the salespersons.

On the contrary, there are some few others who actually carry out the same task more easily yet more successfully.

So, what does it takes to convert the frustration into a success?

Some of the most important ways that lead to an effective cold calling technique are discussed hereunder:

Plan and research

Avoid useless and excessive cold calling. Instead, google search about prospective companies and use LinkedIn to know more about the prospective individuals.

Build on a positive attitude

A positive attitude can convert your frustrations into your strengths and hope.

Having known the very little success rate of cold calling, the salesperson needs to be ready to welcome the the overwhelming “No’s” before significant “Yes’s” start to flow in.

Despite the avoidances, verbal abuses and continuous failures, one must always have the patience to remain humble and hopeful.

Seek information before you offer

Try and understand about the needs and requirements of the prospect rather than jumping directly into offering your products/services.

In this light, Art Sobczak suggests, “People don’t care about you. All they care about is what you can do for them.”, communicate that you understand about their needs and explain to them how you have helped similar clients before.

Talk about value

Talk about value of the products/services you are offering and not about their prices.

It should also be kept in mind that one must not compare with competitors since that implies offering more choices to the prospect while tending to maintain status quo.

Speak just adequately

Studies suggest that the human brain is capable of maintaining only around 20-30 seconds of information at any given point of time.

Hence, instead of speaking whatever is in your mind, focus on speaking adequately and effectively.

Rehearse and improvise yourself continuously

Successful salespersons analyse what worked for them and what did not.

Even going with a pre-written script, they bring in that touch of intimacy and personal connection in such a way that the prospect starts believing that the salesperson is there for his/her help and care rather than for pushing sales irritatingly.

Maintaining a cheerful mood and a confident posture help reduce stress and builds rapport with the prospects.

Work constantly towards innovations

Innovate ways, through tireless practice, to handle avoidances and to creatively lead the prospects into getting interested in your products/services.

Leave pre-recorded voicemails using referrals

When the prospects are unavailable, don’t just hang up.

Instead, leave them voicemails which can work as an advertisement for your products/services.

Voicemails, however, can generally be rendered ineffective due to the fillers salespersons use. Hence, a pre-recorded voicemail is preferable and that too using referrals.

It has been observed that call backs are more probable when referrals are used. Social media such as LinkedIn can be taken assistance of in deciding about the referrals to be used.

Do not forget to seek permission from the referrals beforehand.

Do not focus on sales

In the view of Vorsight, “The purpose of a cold call is to engage a prospect in a conversation about their needs and determine next steps.”.

Cold calls are not meant for attempting pushes and making outright sales but to initiate the sales lead in the future.

Generate a follow up

Researches suggest that “80% of sales happen AFTER the fourth contact attempt”.

Therefore, humbly ask the prospect if u can email them the brochures and, thus, create an avenue for warm calling that enjoys a higher success rate of 30%.

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