We all want to drive more sales.
A better product, better pricing, and better salespeople can help you get those sales. But none of those improvements or tools are going to matter unless you can generate a steady stream of qualified leads worth pursuing.
In the earliest stages of your sales funnel, your salespeople and SDRs are responsible for reaching out to people in your target audience who might be interested in what you’re selling. One of the best strategies to accomplish this might surprise you, since it’s a relatively old one: cold calling.
In this blog, we’ll highlight the following topics:
Cold calling is the practice of calling prospects with the intention of setting a sales appointment or otherwise pushing the prospect to the next stage of the buying process. It’s called “cold” because the person you’re reaching has never been contacted by your business before. You didn’t meet this person at a networking event, you haven’t had any sales meetings with them, and they probably don’t know who you are.
Here, it’s important to clear up a couple of misconceptions about cold calling. We’ve all had negative experiences with robots and spam callers blowing up our phones with strange messages that are almost certainly scams. But this is not cold calling; cold calling has a sincere purpose, and it can lead to mutually beneficial conversations.
Cold calling is an opportunity to learn. You’re not just here to persuade the call recipient, nor are you only here to make a sales pitch. You’re here to learn about your prospect and gather information.
There’s a chance you’ll be able to close a sale with the first cold call, but this is pretty rare. It’s more likely that you’ll use cold calls to secure a sales meeting over the phone. You’ll explain who you are, what your business is, why your product is valuable, and why your prospect should take the opportunity to learn more about it in a more formal meeting.
Does cold calling really work?
The short answer is yes.
Many people mistakenly believe that cold calling is dead because it’s an older lead generation strategy and many people don’t pick up the phone for unrecognized numbers. But cold calling still sees positive results. Instead of dying, cold calling is evolving.
Some of the best advantages of cold calling for lead generation include:
- Opportunities for new reach: If you’re only working with prospects who are familiar with your brand, or warm leads, you’ll be artificially capping your growth potential. Once you open the door to cold calling, you’ll have countless new opportunities for sales development.
- Direct contact and conversations: Unlike social media outreach, email-based lead generation, and other strategies, cold calling gives you the opportunity to make direct contact with your prospects and engage them in conversation. This is a meaningful dialogue that can unfold in many directions.
- An introduction to further outreach: After making the initial cold call, you can follow up in many ways. You can continue making calls, reach out via email, or message the prospect on social media, depending on the information available to you.
- Learning potential: Cold calling isn’t just about selling; it’s about learning more about your target demographics. In the course of your cold calling conversations, you’ll learn how your target demographics think, what their biggest challenges are, and what their biggest objections to your product are. The more you learn, the more refined your sales strategy can become.
At Abstrakt, our SDR teams practice cold calling and email marketing, setting clients up with qualified, high-converting sales meetings. Explore how our B2B Appointment Setting service impacts growing businesses across the country.
Feeling unsure about the true value of cold calling? Is cold calling as effective as we claim?
Objective statistics don’t lie. Let’s take a look at some of the most powerful stats about the potential of cold calling in sales:
68% of buyers have accepted phone calls from new providers in the last 12 months.
You might send unfamiliar callers to voicemail, but most people accept calls from new providers on a regular basis.
71% of buyers want to hear from sellers when they’re looking for new ideas to drive stronger results.
The vast majority of your prospects genuinely want to hear from you if you have a product that can help them.
62% of buyers want to hear from sellers when they are actively looking for a solution to solve a problem.
Think of it this way: if your prospect has a problem, and you have a potential solution, you’re actively saving them time in research by reaching out to them.
82% of buyers accept meetings with sellers who reach out to them.
Some people like to imagine that cold calling is ineffective because prospects don’t have the time or willingness to set meetings. But this statistic proves otherwise. People are very likely to schedule meetings as long as you’re willing to reach out to them.
57% of C-level and VP buyers say they prefer to be contacted over the phone.
At the highest levels of organizations, calling is the preferred communication medium. You won’t get the same results from cold emailing or other outreach strategies.
Sales and SDR teams can use a variety of cold call techniques to get better results on the phone. These are some of the best cold calling tips and tricks:
Do Your Research in Advance
Before you pick up the phone, you should be very familiar with the environment you’re entering. You should know the name and job of the person you’re calling, details about the business they work for, and other information that might be relevant to you. You’ll be much more effective if you come across as informed and genuinely invested.
Start With a Warm, Friendly Greeting
We call it a “cold” call because we don’t yet know each other—not because we act cold on the phone. It’s your job to make this person want to be on the phone with you, so it’s important to lead with a warm and friendly greeting.
Start With a Script (But Don’t Rely on It Too Much)
Having a written script to follow makes it easier for your SDRs and sales reps to place cold calls effectively and consistently. With time, you can figure out which elements of the script work and which ones don’t, so you can gradually refine it. There’s only one caveat here: the script should be a guideline, not a rigid requirement. If you follow the script verbatim, you could come off as cold, robotic, or impersonal.
Focus on Learning, Not Making a Sale
Don’t start with a sales pitch. Though your ultimate goal is to sell a product, you’ll have much more success in cold calling if you focus on learning. Try to figure out how this person thinks. Understand what their biggest problems are. Ask them about their business. All of this information will be helpful for you as you develop your sales strategy, and it’s also indispensable in building trust with your audience.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Ask several open-ended questions. These are questions that can’t be answered with simple responses, prompting the prospect to give you more details. “Are you currently facing major challenges in your business?” is a closed-ended question, because a respondent can simply answer “yes” or “no.” A better, more open-ended question to ask is: “What are the biggest challenges you’re currently facing in your business?” The more your prospect talks, the better.
Share Relevant Case Studies
Case studies can be a powerful asset in convincing your prospect to schedule a sales meeting. Is there a business similar to theirs that has seen dramatic, measurable results from working with you? If you don’t have any case studies to share, do you have any statistics that demonstrate how valuable your products and services are?
Be Ready to Overcome Objections
Even in this early stage of the sales process, you’re likely to encounter objections from prospects. It’s your job to anticipate and address those objections. When people decline sales meetings or refuse to buy your product, what are the biggest reasons, and how can you disprove or overcome that reasoning? This is going to look different for every business.
Take Detailed Notes of Every Point of Contact
Always encourage your reps to take detailed notes during these cold calls. The more information you gather, the better; sometimes, you can use this information when following up with this prospect in the future, or you can use it to build a better understanding of your target buyers. Either way, you stand to benefit. Just make sure to record these notes in an accessible way.
Automate What You Can
Thanks to machine learning, AI, and other technologies, it’s possible to automate many aspects of the cold calling process. You can automate your lead generation, reporting, and even call dialing. Automation has the potential to save you time and money, so it’s always worth considering.
Consider Outsourcing Your Cold Calling Efforts
Developing a cold calling strategy entirely in-house is possible, but it’s not as effective as developing a strategy with an external specialist. Consider working with a partner for better cold calling results.
Example of a Standard Cold Calling Script
Now let’s talk about how to make cold calls.
As we’ve noted, a script can be extremely helpful in guiding the initial stages of the conversation, as long as it’s used properly. You’ll be responsible for creating your own cold calling script, but this is a decent template to help you get started:
Notice that the introduction is warm and friendly. There’s no sales pitch, nor is there any pressure. You make your purpose clear from the beginning, providing a rational explanation for why this person should listen to you, and you lead into verifying that you’re reaching the right person. If you’re talking to the right person, you can go on to schedule a sales meeting. If not, you can try to get their contact information.
Want to be prepared for every sales phone call? Download our free Cold Call Talk Track to access the scripts our cold callers use for engaging potential buyers and directing them towards the end of the sales funnel.
Example of a Voicemail Cold Calling Script
So what happens if you try a cold call and get sent to voicemail?
This will probably happen a lot. But it’s no excuse to give up. Here’s a simple script we like to follow when we get sent to voicemail:
Keep it short and simple, and make it extremely clear to the recipient how they should follow up with you.
For all of the ways cold callers can approach sales voicemails, check out our blog here.
Cold calling isn’t spam, nor is it a tool exclusively used by scammers. Instead, it’s a powerful way to reach new leads, learn about your target demographics, and eventually close sales. With the right script, properly trained sales reps and SDRs, and consistent execution, cold calling can be the perfect way to start conversations with your prospects.
Need help with your cold calling? Whether you’re interested in outsourcing to a team of highly qualified SDRs to do your cold calling for you or you just need some help developing the right strategy, we’re here for you. Connect with Abstrakt today to get the most out of your cold calling strategy!