12 Cold Calling Tips

cold calling tips

As consumers, most of us hate receiving a cold call from a sales team. Who has time to talk to some random person about buying something you didn’t even want? Yet the telemarketing calls continue.

Why do they keep calling? The answer is simple. Cold calling works. Telemarketing is a highly effective sales tool, but there are still tricks and tips for how to cold call successfully.

What is Cold Calling?

What is cold calling? Also commonly called telemarketing, cold calling occurs when sales reps connect for a sales conversation, usually via telephone, with potential customers with whom they’ve had no prior contact and who have not requested the information or expressed any prior interest in the product or service being sold. To achieve the best sales call results, teams often rely on cold calling scripts when engaging in telemarketing activities.

Does Cold Calling Work in 2022?

Cold calling has been going on since the invention of the telephone, and it is still an effective sales strategy in 2022. According to professional marketer Charlie Cook, about 2% of cold calls result in a sale, which wouldn’t be great if there wasn’t the potential to make massive amounts of cold calls every day. After all, 82% of buyers say they’ve accepted sales meetings after receiving a cold call.

The Benefits of Cold Calling

Companies use cold calling as a sales strategy for a variety of reasons, and telemarketing provides brands with multiple benefits, including:

  • Cold calling provides a human touch to a sales interaction. People respond to other humans, and the interaction in a telephone call can’t be duplicated with creative keystrokes.
  • Cold calling allows brands to identify target customers. Cold calling allows sales reps to quickly determine the decision maker, so they can focus their time on selling to the right person before setting an appointment.
  • Cold calling results provide useful and insightful data. Brands can review the results of their cold calling campaigns to gain valuable insight into their prospective clients and to gain an understanding of what parts of their strategies are working.
  • Cold calls increase conversions. Cold calls result in sales, period. The more cold calls a sales rep can make each day, the more potential sales appointments they can set, which then can convert into deals. How many cold calls can your sales teams make?

12 Best Cold Calling Tips and Techniques

Sales teams tend to dread making cold calls, so how can a sales manager better equip their reps to make more effective sales calls to cold prospects? Fortunately, there are plenty of cold calling techniques that really work. Check out the following 12 best cold calling tips to boost your conversions:

1. Conduct Pre-call Research

Cold calling involves hard data. To effectively communicate your sales pitch, you have to have some understanding of the prospect on the phone. Don’t expect to find success calling random numbers and speaking to whoever happens to answer the phone. Cold calling must be done strategically. Who is on the other end of the line, and what makes them a target customer?

2. Write a Cold Calling Script

Unsuccessful cold calls lack structure and direction, both qualities that can be difficult to accomplish without an effective cold call script. Sales reps who create cold calling scripts for their sales pitch can boost conversion rates by ensuring every element of a successful cold call is included in their telemarketing efforts.

3. Schedule Best Calling Times

What is the best time to cold call? Research has found cold calls are more successful on specific days and at certain times of the day. Cold callers are more likely to schedule an appointment or make a sale on Wednesday or Thursday, according to InsideSales.com. Meanwhile, studies have found the best time for a cold caller to reach a prospect is between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. or 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. – NOT first thing Monday morning!

4. Test Opening Lines

A prospect will decide whether or not the call is worthwhile within just a few seconds, so the cold calling opening line can make or break the sales pitch. Successful sales professionals will write and practice a variety of opening lines, then take note which are most successful during their cold calls. Remember, while you want to capture your lead’s attention, initially stating the purpose of the call increases conversion rates.

5. Aim for Longer Cold Calls

Short cold calls usually are not successful cold calls. In fact, cold calls resulting in a sale or an appointment generally last about twice as long as their counterparts, but how many sales reps create cold calling scripts of that length? When crafting a cold calling script, be sure to plan for the entire structure of the call, including a hook, touching prospects pain points, a value proposition and a call to action. Don’t forget to prepare ways to overcome a variety of sales objections.

6. Practice Your Sales Technique

Don’t think you can create an effective sales script and immediately use it for successful cold calls. After all, you want to sound confident to impress buyers from the moment the phone rings. Sales is like any other aptitude: Practice makes perfect. Rehearse the cold calling technique before you make your calls, including alternate conversations based on prospect answers. After making calls, review what parts of the selling process were effective and revise your routine.

7. Use Your Best Closing Line

Remember, many sales are closed some time after the first cold calling post. Therefore, your closing line can be just as important to your success rate as your opening line. Create and practice your best closing line, and be sure you leave your prospects wondering why they didn’t already close the deal with you. The lead will remember your pitch and be waiting for your next call.

8. Schedule a Follow-up

The follow-up call is a key element of the sales process and a necessary aspect of making cold calls. After all, only about 2% of sales are made during the initial cold call. That leaves 98% of deals that would be missed without some type of follow up call or follow up appointment. Prepare to leave professional, polite voicemails for prospects, and schedule times to call people back when they are available.

9. Keep It Professional

It’s important to know your target customer and speak to them in an appropriate manner. Are you reaching out to consumers or engaging in b2b cold calling? Are you speaking to an executive-level decision maker? Be sure your cold calling script and your conversation reflect the appropriate level of professionalism. While some small talk is appropriate, a professional telemarketer will steer the cold call back to its purpose.

10. State Your Full Name

Seems like this should go without saying, but successful sales reps making cold calls provide their full names as well as the name of their company at the beginning of the call. It sets a professional tone for the sales call and allows even new salespeople to maintain control of the call from the start. Callers who use their full name command respect. If the prospect has to ask for this information, the telemarketer has surrendered the conversation.

11. Include an Enticing Value Proposition

At the heart of every cold call is the value proposition. What does the sales rep have to offer the prospect, and how will it benefit their life or business? While it’s important to capture prospects’ attention and touch on their pain point, the cold call will not result in a follow up if the caller doesn’t offer value of interest.

12. Master Your Tone

While a cold calling script is important, it’s not always what you say but how you say it that matters when developing sales skill. Sales reps who sound bored aren’t going to attract much interest among their leads. Prospects won’t get excited to hear about a product from a cold caller who sounds angry, sad or annoyed. When rehearsing your cold calling script, be sure and practice mastering your tone of voice.

How to Cold Call

The prospect of making a cold call might be nerve-wracking, but the process of cold calling is simple. Just gather your list of sales team prospects – or let your cold calling software do it for you – and start talking!

Unsure how to make cold calls? Just follow these steps and you’ll wonder how you ever made sales without such a pitch:

  1. Know your prospect – Pre-call research is vital to making the cold call. Be aware of who you are contacting before making a cold call.
  2. Use a creative opening line – Write multiple opening lines for different types of prospects, and choose one opening line to use before placing the cold call.
  3. Hit on your prospect’s pain points – Why should the prospect care about what you have to say? Make cold calls matter to your leads by touching on their paint points.
  4. Offer a value proposition – What do you have to offer your prospective customer? Every successful cold call must include a value proposition that matters to the potential customer.
  5. Deliver a call to action – Never assume your prospect knows why you’re calling them. In fact, they might be waiting for you to ask! If the reason of the call is a sale, then ask for it. If the call is to set up a follow up sales appointment, then include that task in your call to action.
  6. Request a follow up – Few cold calls result in a sale on the first attempt. In fact, many result in no contact at all. When leaving a voicemail, be sure and request a follow up meeting. Also request a follow up meeting for prospect’s who don’t have time to talk or who express hesitation about closing a deal.

Cold Calling Vs. Warm Calling

What is the difference between cold calling and warm calling? It boils down to interest. In warm calling, the prospect has already expressed interest in the product or service being sold, either by visiting a website, signing up for a newsletter or communicating with a sales rep. Cold calling, on the other hand, is made to leads who have not expressed interest and have had no prior connection with the brand. While warm calling can result in more conversions, it takes more effort to obtain the leads than cold calling research.

Is cold calling illegal?

Cold calling and cold calling services are entirely legal in the United States, however there are restrictions on who can be called and during what times. For example, if a prospect has asked a company to no longer call them – of if they’ve registered for the Do Not Call Registry, those wishes must be obliged. In some other countries, such as the United Kingdom, for example, cold calling is illegal.

Is cold calling dead?

While strategies have changed in recent years, cold calling is alive and well in 2022, and it’s still an effective method of digital marketing. Buyers – and the entire buying process, however, have changed in the 21st century, and they are more informed than in the past, thanks to their access to the World Wide Web. Therefore, it’s become more important for cold callers to do their research and qualify prospective customers as best possible to capture a prospect’s attention.

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This article, "12 Cold Calling Tips" was first published on Small Business Trends