Are you making cold calls right now, as you read this?
Do you ever get the feeling that cold calling is just the equivalent of taking a giant brick and banging it against your head…day after day after day?
This is the experience most cold callers go through. Cold calling can be very difficult.
Yet there are a number of strategies you can use to make your dials far more effective.
When salespeople use the traditional cold calling approach, they make their lives so much harder than they have to.
If you’re making cold calls, you simply must watch the training below. In this video, I show you exactly what you must know in order to be effective at cold calling.
So don’t make another dial until you see this video. Check it out:
1. Stop cold calling.
I know, I know—I just got through talking about how I’m going to help you improve your cold calling strategy. And now I’m telling you to stop cold calling. What gives?
Well, traditional cold calling is an antiquated sales approach that makes connecting with new prospects much harder than it has to be.
So I’m not saying you should stop making prospecting calls…I’m saying you should stop making traditional cold dials.
Instead, you should always be warming up your calls through other mediums.
You’ve got so many ways to get in touch with new prospects these days. It’s not just about cold calls anymore. And in fact, cold calls as we once knew them are pretty much ineffective today.
The key is to warm up your calls by using email, LinkedIn, Facebook, snail mail, sending packages, and any number of other ways before you ever get prospects on the phone. That way, when you do call, the prospect already has a real idea of who you are.
Suddenly the call is so much less cold. Hopefully the prospect has gotten some value from what you’ve sent leading up to the call, making it much more likely that the call will be effective and ultimately successful.
2. Master your IPP.
Your IPP stands for your ideal prospect profile. This is one of my biggest passions in sales. I see so many salespeople out there making dials to prospects who aren’t even necessarily a good fit for what they offer.
Making dials is painful; it’s hard work. So do the effort up front to make sure the people that you’re calling are actually going to be good fits.
That means making sure they have the right title, the right challenges, the right geographies, and the right ability to buy whatever it is that you sell.
3. Know your blueprint.
Your prospecting blueprint is what will enable you to warm up those dials so that prospects know who you are when you call them. This is the essential key to modern-day cold calling.
The prospecting blueprint is simply a completely mapped-out approach to prospecting activities, taking advantage of a number of mediums to contact each prospect. As I said earlier, this can be through a combination of email, LinkedIn, Facebook, snail mail, sending packages, and any number of other mediums.
Your blueprint is the way you organize this process and execute it every single time with every prospect, without having to guess when to do what.
Let’s say you’re sending six emails over the course of a month, and you’re making dials in between each of those emails. Map all of that out in your blueprint so you can keep track of when to send emails and when to make calls. By combining those two approaches in a strategic way, you’re that much more likely to actually get someone on the phone and have them know who you are.
What you’re looking to get is a response like, “Yeah, I saw that email and I got some value out of it. So thanks. What’s up?”
4. Have a kick-ass CTA.
When most salespeople make cold calls, they think the only logical call to action is trying to schedule a meeting or make a sale. But the reality is that there are a lot of other next steps after a successful cold call that will bring the prospect in.
Because let’s face it, especially if your prospect is a high-level buyer, the last thing they want to do is schedule a meeting with some random salesperson they’ve never talked to before.
To pull them in, use a kick-ass call to action—something like a complimentary piece of content, an audit, or some valuable insight that’s more interesting than just “hopping on a call with you.”
High-level prospects will be so much more likely to want to have that meeting with you if your call to action is intriguing to them and offers them something tangible of value.
Create a call to action that makes your ideal prospects want to schedule a next step with you. That’s the power of a kick-ass CTA.
5. Script out your call.
This is so basic, but we cannot be cold calling prospects in any manner without a script. It’s genuinely insane to me that hoards of salespeople today are out there right now making cold calls to prospects without a script; they’re just saying whatever comes to their mind.
That’s like watching a really, really, really terrible movie. A great movie has a great script. That’s the basis of a great movie. A great prospecting call is going to have a great script, too.
This doesn’t mean that you have to sound scripted. Whenever I use a script (and we still use scripts in my organization for every call we make), I practice it endlessly until it’s second-nature, so we don’t sound scripted at all.
Having a script keeps the call on track and ensures that what we say is actually what we want to say. Let’s face it, if you make 50 dials, and on dial 51 you finally get someone on the phone, you suddenly wake up from your stupor and might not know what to say. If you have a script, you’ll never be caught off guard.
Have a script to make sure that you follow a good process and stay on track in every cold call.
6. Know your contingencies.
This is a big one. Prospecting calls have a number of areas in the call where the prospect is likely to push back or try to get off the call. Because of this, it’s essential for successful cold calling that you have contingencies in place in order to meet and overcome those moments of pushback.
These predictable moments of pushback are almost like mini-objections. Prospects aren’t really raising an objection to buying your service in these moments, they’re just objecting to continuing the call in the first place by saying something like, “I’ve really got to run. Call me back later?” or “I can’t talk now. Can we connect another time?”
Most salespeople will respond with, “Oh, okay, sure. What would be a good time to call you back?” This is a weak reply because that prospect doesn’t really want you to call back. They just want to get off the damn phone.
That’s why it’s crucial to have contingencies in place that allow you to push back and stay on the phone…rather than having the prospect get you off the phone and then block your number and never hear from you again. Know your contingencies.
7. Live by next steps.
In today’s world of selling there are no cold dials or prospecting calls that typically end in a sale, the only thing that matters in prospecting is next steps. I don’t see a lot of that anymore. If you were selling something that is big or to businesses, your goal is not to make a sale in that call. It is simply to schedule a meeting.
So live by next steps. You want to make sure that you’re never in the world of following up with a prospect. You want to have a scheduled next step. That means a calendar invite goes out from your calendar into their calendar and you have a scheduled next step. That is the only good outcome that comes out of a prospecting call.
8. Be very firm.
This may go against what a lot of modern-day sales techniques suggest, which is to avoid all that high-pressure stuff. But the reality is that when you’re making a prospecting call, you’re dealing with a very cagey animal.
The way you tame a wild animal is not to be really nice and just do whatever the animal wants, but instead to provide guidelines, to be very firm, very strong, and assertive—and that’s exactly what we need to be doing on our prospecting calls.
When your prospects are trying to get off the phone, saying, “Hey, you know what, why don’t you just try me back next week?” you need to be very firm and assertive. Be willing to frustrate the prospect. There are only two potential outcomes: either you schedule a next step or they hang up on you.
Of course, if you determine that it’s just not a fit, which is fine, then you can let the prospect go. But don’t settle for any kind of wishy-washy stuff if you think the prospect is a good fit.
9. Nobody can hurt you.
This is one of the most critical keys to prospecting calls. So many salespeople are simply terrified of making cold calls. It’s as scary to them as doing stand-up comedy or giving a speech.
But the reality is that no one can hurt you. They can’t physically harm you. They can’t bring violence to you. There’s simply a person on the other end of the phone. And so the only harm they can do is whatever you’re willing to allow.
Nothing that bad can happen. The worst thing that happens is they get a little cranky and they hang up on you, or they tell you to go away, or they say that they can’t talk right now. (Most prospects are actually pretty nice about it, too.)
Just remember that we can’t be living in fear every time we make a dial. They cannot hurt you.
So, there you have it. Now you know 9 keys to cold calling success. Which of these strategies will you add to your phone selling approach right now? Be sure to share below in the comment section to get involved in the conversation.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.