If you ask a room full of people to stand up if they love cold calling, I’m guessing no one will jump to their feet excitedly and shout, “I do!”
I like to say the only people who claim to love cold calling are sales managers and people that don’t actually have to do it. And it’s no wonder. Successful cold calling usually sits at below a 10% success rate, which means the other 90% of a sales rep’s "cold calling" day is filled with failure and rejection. That being said, cold calling is still an essential part of the prospecting strategy at many firms, and can be highly effective when done correctly. Here are two cold calling power strategies that will help maximize your chances for success.
Strategy- Ask questions early
The key to a successful cold call is to get a conversation started as quickly as possible. Once invested in a conversation, it is more difficult for someone to break the conversation or hang up the phone. I like to start by saying my name and company, followed by, “I don’t suppose that sounds familiar?” This encourages a response and allows the other party to verbalize what they were already thinking, which helps remove some of conversational barriers they would otherwise put up. It doesn’t really matter how the other party answers this question, the purpose is to set a conversational tone while providing a little extra time before question number two.
Strategy- Give them an out and let them relax
Most people put up instant barriers the moment they realize they are talking to an unsolicited sales person, so getting them to relax and not put up those walls is key. After engaging in the brief conversation mentioned above, follow up with, “Listen, I don’t know if it even makes sense for us to talk today. How about if I take 30 seconds to explain why I am calling and if it doesn’t make sense for us to talk, I’ll let you jump off the phone?”
This question is powerful on several fronts. First, not many sales people start off by giving their prospect an opportunity for an out. By engaging in this type of dialog it short-circuits the internal “sales person detection alarm” and helps the prospect relax. Second, by letting them know that you will end the call if it doesn’t make sense to talk, you are assuring them that you won’t keep pushing them for a sale until they literally have to hang up on you. By employing a version of this question you will almost always hear a positive response to sharing what comes next: your reason for calling, or 30 second commercial.
By utilizing an honest and “non-salesy” approach throughout the call, you and your prospects will feel less pressure. Remember to keep it conversational. Make your prospect feel like you are not a sales person, but rather a solutions provider who is only looking for people who would appreciate and benefit from the product or service you are providing. By keeping these thoughts in mind and practicing variations of the questions mentioned above, you will have a higher ratio of successful outcomes from your cold calling efforts.