Cold calling is far from dead. If anything, it has seen a resurgence in popularity as brands try to redefine the selling experience in today’s fast-paced, Internet-based society. Of course, the way that cold calls are made has changed slightly, since today’s consumer is much savvier and they get a ton of solicitation calls and junk messages every single day. That is why many companies have outsourced their sales outreach, so they can make the calls and qualify the leads while the in-house sales team closes the deals.
If you want to get in on a good footing, the introduction is what counts. Sure, you can just say hello and give your name, but that’s not going to get anyone’s attention. It might even turn the person on the other end of the phone off and cause them to tune you out, assuring you that no one is interested in “whatever it is you’re selling.”
The best thing that you can do is know who is in charge of making decisions so that you can ask specifically to speak to them. When you call and confidently ask for someone, it’s assumed that they will be expecting your call. It tends to go much better than just calling and asking for the “person in charge of [product/service/department].”
You only have a matter of seconds to make an impression—it better be a good one. They don’t have time to listen to you drone on about who you are and why you’re calling. This isn’t a sales presentation. Get to the point and get the basics out in less than 30 seconds, or you’ll lose them entirely.
Again, you’re already calling on borrowed time here. Don’t launch into a huge explanation of why you’re calling, where you’re calling from, and so on. People will ask more if they want to know more, and you can explain more when you get past the initial “hello.” Stick to the basics in the intro so that you can get a better chance of them allowing you to continue on the call.
This one always throws people off, in the best ways. If you start your call with something as simple as saying “Hello, Jim, how are you doing today?”, it will catch people off guard, make them feel appreciated, and remind them that they’re talking to a real person. This can often get you a lot further in your cold calls than just going straight for the decision-maker.
The biggest problem that people have with taking phone calls is that they feel like cold-calling sales reps don’t give a crap about their time. They’re just trying to sell something. Change their mind on this by starting with something that acknowledges their limited time and lets them know you’ll be quick. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll often get much better feedback.
In the same vein, you can always follow up the acknowledgment that their time is valuable and that they’re probably busy by suggesting a scheduled return call or other arrangement. This gives them the power in deciding how to proceed and lets them know that you value their time and that you’re willing to be flexible to make things work for them.
For example, if you ask “did I catch you at a bad time?”, most people will respond with the answer of “no”. Their mind is busy and they’re just thinking if someone asks about time the answer is “no” without actually listening to the full question. It works even better if you change it up to ask “I didn’t catch you at a bad time, did I,” because it puts a positive spin on things. Therefore, if you ask like this, you can then segue into why you’re calling and often get further than you would otherwise.
Much like asking how they’re doing, this catches people off-guard and makes them think. For example, you can start by asking them what their biggest daily struggle in business is (hopefully it’s related to your product/service). This will stop their “phone sales” automated thoughts and help you get their attention.
If you have the decision-maker on the phone and you lead with something like, “I’ve heard that you’ve been looking for a new solution for [problem],” you’ll grab their attention by showing them you’ve done your homework and that you can probably help them. Why else would you be calling, anyway?
A lot of times, your manners will get you further than you realize. Too often, sales reps like to call and take the ‘buddy’ approach, which isn’t effective. Something as simple as adding “sir” or another official title to whoever you're calling will often get their attention and show them that you have respect, which is big for anyone.
This is yet another way to catch your answerer off guard. When you call, instead of explaining what you do or offering your assistance for their pain points, ask them if they can assist you in some way. This could be by trying your product and providing feedback, or by connecting you to the decision-maker so that you can provide further details. When you make people feel needed, they often respond differently.
Personalization is the key to success with cold calling these days. If you do the research ahead of time and find a connection that you can put into your introduction, you’ll often get further than if you just call blindly and ask for the DM (decision maker).
Outbound sales calling is no joke, but it doesn’t have to be a thorn in your business growth. If you partner with the dedicated experts at Smith.ai, you can get all the outbound sales and support that you need, along with things like outreach campaigns, appointment scheduling, lead intake, and even live chat on your website, SMS message answering, and more.