This is the third installment of our key messages series, analyzing cold calling. Read the first parts here: Crafting Key Messages that Sell (Part I) – Cold Email in Style and Crafting Key Messages that Sell (Part II) – Cold Messaging on LinkedIn.
Cold calling has an undeserved bad reputation among sales people. Yet it is one of the most used tools in sales, with a higher success rate than its non-verbal cold counterparts–emails and instant messaging. While cold calling isn’t easy, you can improve your results by doing it effectively. Follow this guide to learn the best practices for your next round of sales calls.
How to make a successful call
The human voice is incredibly powerful. An interesting study from Leslie Seltzer, a biological anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin, proved this. She created a study where students received either text messages or calls from their moms before taking an exam. Those who heard the voices of their mothers had much lower stress hormones than those who simply read their words.
While cold calling might not have the same impact as some encouraging words from mom, it can allow for a deeper human connection than basic email messages. The tone of your voice and the openers you choose can keep potential customers on the line.
Learn about your leads
Lead scoring is the process of researching the people you call and evaluating their quality. High scoring leads are those that are more in need of your products and those most likely to care about your cold call.
For example, if your CEO recently spoke at a conference, then leads who attended that conference might have a higher score than others. Leads with a certain number of employees or annual sales amounts might also drive higher scores.
Take time to score your leads before you make any calls. Most importantly, take time to research each person. This will help you speak to the potential customer more effectively and create the emotional connection you’re looking for.
A few items on your pre-call checklist for research might include:
- Recent company news and announcements: what can you refer to during the call?
- Customer connections: who might they know that you already serve?
- Education background: can you reference their Alma mater?
- Professional background: how can you use their experience to help them better understand your solutions
The research and scoring process takes time. However, this process should drive better results than simply calling 100 names on a list.
Test your language and wording
You might not think that your introduction plays a major role in your conversation. Yet, it can determine whether or not your leads listen to what else you have to say. Here are some elements of your conversation to focus on most:
- The opener: This either keeps someone on the line or causes them to hang up or tune out what you have to say.
- The value proposition: This either keeps your customer engaged or causes them to end the conversation.
- The rebuttal: This either allows them to see the value of your product, despite their concerns, or not.
In addition, Gong.io studied 100,000 cold calls and found that successful ones were twice as long as the unsuccessful ones. Successful calls were on average 5:50 min long and unsuccessful calls 3:40 min. This means, your job is to use your language to hold their interest.
Avoid getting flagged as a spam risk
If your sales phone number is flagged as a spam risk to your customers, you’ll be able to reach fewer people. Phone companies don’t arbitrarily label numbers as spam. Your behavior affects whether or not you earn that label. For example, if your number makes too many calls in an hour and the calls are short because of customer hangups.
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to avoid getting labeled as spam:
- Focus on lead quality over quantity. It’s better to have a few quality conversations each hour than to dial a few dozen people.
- Develop quality scripts. An over-rehearsed script can make you sound like a robot or can turn off leads. Try to be conversational and engaging to keep leads on the line.
- Consider how you call customers. If multiple salespeople all call from the same number, it could look suspicious. Make sure each salesperson has their own line.
- Remove “bad” leads. Delete the number of people who don’t want to talk to you. This will prevent them from hanging up and potentially blocking or reporting your calls.
Focus on learning
There is no one-size-fits-all blueprint for successful cold calling. Your success depends on you, the people you’re calling, and the product or service you’re selling. Use these best practices to get started, but don’t forget to keep your focus on learning what works for you as you go. For example, every time you get off a call, make note of a few key things:
- Was the call successful?
- How long was the call?
- What were the reasons for saying “no”?
- What wording or language did they seem to connect with?
Getting an understanding of what works for you is what will make you most successful with cold calling.
Cold calling like a pro
Cold calling gets a bad reputation because so many people do it poorly. They dial an endless list of numbers and read from the same script.
However, if you take time to understand your leads and connect with them meaningfully, you can drive better results. Use these best practices to figure out what works for you so you can get more affirmative answers each day.