The tried and tested 7 Step method to cold calling success
FACT – Cold calling works!
I have been cold calling since 1986 (1982 if you count my time as an Avon girl in my local village) and I reckon I have knocked up close to 20,000 face to face cold calls and almost 50,000 telephone cold calls. Quite a lot when you think I have never been employed as a pure canvasser or telesales rep!
Trust me I have come across everything that might possible happen and definitely have the battle scars to prove it.
Therefore, I know that if you aren’t getting anywhere with your cold calling, I can almost guarantee that you are doing it wrong.
You are the problem. Not the person you are trying to cold call.
Now that may sound harsh, but I know that you are probably using every excuse under the sun to get out of cold calling. Sorry, but I’ve heard all the excuses. I have even used them myself in the past!
“What’s the point, they never answer the phone”
“I won’t get to see the right person anyway”
“It is a bit too pushy for me”
“I’m scared they’ll kick me out or slam down the phone”
However based upon the last 30 years sales experience, I know that anything that helps get me nearer a sale is worth doing. Cold calling helps me get nearer a sale so I will do it whenever I need to increase my prospect list.
The big benefits of cold calling
Now the only thing that should stop you cold calling is your market. If you are selling directly to consumers then cold calling is really challenging these days. Consumers have been severely wounded by rubbish telesales people trying to sell them everything from double glazing to PPI Insurance claims.
In the UK we have the telephone preference service. When you register your number with the TPS you should not receive any unwanted calls. Fines can easily reach 5 figures for those that don’t respect this service.
The introduction of GDRP within the EU in 2018 will also change the way we use people’s data such as emails. Unless businesses have approval from the owner of the email address, then sending emails without permission will see fines being issued left right and centre.
HOWEVER, you can still legally cold call potential clients and the benefits are also a lot better than you might think. If you are in the UK just make sure you use the TPS to check you can call your prospects and be aware that GDPR is coming. (Sign up for forthcoming updates as and when they are released via the fabulous KoffeeKlatch)
People are communicating differently
Millennials or Gen Y don’t like cold calling much. On the whole they much prefer hiding behind social media and email to picking up the phone or even good old fashioned door knocking. The fast moving digital era we are now doing business in, has encouraged many millennials to create a digital barrier between themselves and their prospects.
There are many who have achieved great marketing success from using the likes of YouTube, Facebook and even LinkedIn, but if you are selling B2B then you need to get a lot closer than just the internet.
Think about it this way. If your competition is hiding behind their computers, this has to be a really opportunity to do something different and stand out. Calling potential clients by phone, or even physically going to their offices is definitely different these days.
People buy from people
The quicker you can get to speak or even meet your future clients, then the easier it will be to develop a profitable relationship between you. The closer you can get to your future clients than the competition then the more successful you will be at influencing their decision to buy from you.
The 7 steps of the sales process are designed to influence your prospects to buy from you without feeling they have been pushed into making a decision in you favour. Having a great relationship is important when selling successfully, without being pushy.
Selling is a numbers game
The closer and more often you can get to your future clients, then the more successful you will be at selling to them. You need to consider your numbers and the return you get for your marketing efforts.
I’m not necessarily saying that quality is better than quantity. I’m talking about ROI. The effort you put in must deliver the right results. Closely monitoring your efforts in the form of KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) is essential.
Business leaders don’t just talk KPI’s because they sound good. KPI’s matter in a business, especially in the sales department.
What’s the ROI to make more money from cold calling?
Let’s consider the potential return of investment for an hour of cold calling. I’m not talking about a sale as the outcome, just a qualified lead.
Say you spend an hour crafting an email and sending it to a whole bunch of people. How many will respond back? Of the ones that do (a miniscule percentage I bet) are they ready to talk business?
What if you picked up the phone and called 20 prospects instead? I bet your percentage response would be nearer 10% at least.
What if you spent an hour door knocking some businesses in your target demographic? You could probably get 10 done in an hour and you would stand a really good chance of actually getting in front of the decision maker.
When I sold stationery and office equipment in the 1980’s I got nearly all my leads knocking on doors. Targeted door knocking definitely still works for a lot of markets. Website design, social media management, online advertising are all relatively new industries that could all benefit from old school cold calling methods such as telesales and door knocking.
7 Step process to making more from cold calling
If I haven’t convinced you by now that cold calling can make you money, then you won’t be interested in these 7 easy steps. However, if you want to stand out from your competitors in todays digital age then grab your phone, get your best walking shoes on and let’s get cold calling!
Step 1 – Understand your client
First thing is to think about why they buy what you do. Where do they work? Can you go to their office or are they too far away?
A scatter gun approach to cold calling doesn’t work, so think about what your typical clients want and how can you get to speak to them. Doing your research on your future clients before you start cold calling will really help you focus your effort in the very best way possible.
Step 2 – Prepare to cold call
Preparation is the number one reason you will make more money out of cold calling. Think about what you need to make the calls.
- If you are in the UK, have you checked the telephone preference service to see if you are allowed to telephone them?
- Have you got enough business cards if you are door knocking?
- Do you know what to say before they answer the phone or you walk into reception?
Also remember, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. If you are door knocking then make sure you look the part. For example:
- If you are selling to lawyers then is your outfit formal enough?
- Is your tie straight or shoes clean?
Even if this is the tenth cold call of the day have you still got a smile on your face? Cold calling is hard, but if you aren’t smiling then the person you speak to will struggle to warm to you.
Step 3 -Know your objective
The main objective for the majority of cold calls will be to find out who the decision maker is for what you sell. You are not there to sell to the receptionist. Make sure you are clear about your objective before you pick up the phone or knock on the door.
It is also a good idea to have more than one objective too. A second objective could be to speak to an influencer in the company if the decision maker is not available. Influencers help a decision maker to come to a decision, so there could easily be someone else you could talk to who may influence the decision make.
[easy-tweet tweet=”Make friends not enemies with the gatekeeper – Susan Marot CEO” user=”@SucceedatSellin” hashtags=”#Sales #ColdCalling”]
Gatekeepers are often your decision maker’s biggest influencer. Don’t disregard them
Step 4 – Ask for help
Put yourself in the shoes of the receptionist. How would you respond to someone who asks for help, or to someone who comes through the door going on about what they do and how great they are.
This approached has worked really well for me over the years. All you need to do is say who you are and where you are from then immediately ask if the receptionist can assist you. I assure you they won’t refuse.
It is important that you get help from the first person you meet when you ring or walk through the door of a company. The benefit of this approach is that you will have immediately gained support from the receptionist and their agreement to assist you.
Step 5 – Get to the point
And do it quickly. Most of the time your objective from cold calling is to find out who the decision maker is. That is usually all you need to uncover at this stage. Simply say-
“Who makes the decisions regarding xyz?”
Don’t start presenting how fabulous you and your services are, until you know if a) they have a need for what you do, and b) you are talking to an influencer at the very least. You will lose the support of the receptionist very quickly if you waste their time.
Step 6 – Push a little
Once you have the information you need then ask if that person is available. If they aren’t then find out the best way of getting to speak to them.
The receptionist is often the fountain of all knowledge so don’t stop as soon as you have the name and title of the person you are looking for. If you have done a really good job then they will be happy to help furnish you with all the information you are looking for and possibly some additional clues too.
Step 7 – Build rapport throughout
Make friends with as many people you speak or meet when cold calling. You will be surprised at how much they remember and like about you.
An essential part of rapport building is the Pareto 80/20 rule. It is often a good idea to think of a few general topics of conversation should you need to get the conversation flowing a little better. The weather, traffic and business are always good general topics to bring up on a cold call though you may find this easier and more natural when door knocking face to face.
Cold Calling works!
When it comes down to it, cold calling prospective clients is still an excellent way of gaining good quality leads. Just prepare, keep focused on the right objective and monitor your performance.
Cold calling worked 30 years ago, and it is still an essential part of the sales process. If you want to learn more about the whole sales process then check out my 9 Day Sales Challenge. Put this training into action and I guarantee you will be selling a lot more successfully!