Cold Calling

For many telemarketers, there’s nothing cold about cold calling. In fact, it’s a task that makes them sweat. If there is something cold about cold calling, it could be the response of the prospect. You have 10 seconds to get the prospect interested. If you don’t, all you’ll get is a cold response or the icy, crisp sound of a call that has just been terminated.

According to a study made by Bridge Group Incorporated, agents make 45 cold calls every day. Meanwhile; Mahan Kalsa, author of the book “Let’s Get Real of Let’s Not Play” said that cold calling only has a 1% to 3% success rate in booking appointments.

With these figures as a basis, an agent could be dealing with 43 to 44 rejections every day. In one month, an agent would have been rejected more than 1,000 times.

That is a lot of rejections! In view of these numbers, why do companies still incorporate cold calling in their marketing strategies?

For the simple reason that cold calling works; despite the unfavourable odds, cold calling continues to contribute to the success of a company’s marketing strategy.

A study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) showed that cold calling has a response rate of 6.16% which is higher than email, direct mail, and paid search.

Cold calling does not have to make you sweat. Follow the strategies for cold calling that we have outlined below and you will always keep your cool whenever you get on the phone.

 

6 Proven Strategies For Effective Cold Calling

  1. Learn More About Your Cold Calling Prospects

    One reason why so many agents fail in cold calling is that they approach it as if it were a random act. It is called “cold calling” because you are calling people you do not know. However, by doing some quick research you make the prospects warm up to you.

    Cold calling is effective if you are targeting a specific market; potential end-users of your products and services. With a focused approach, you are more assured that the prospects will have a need for your products and services and therefore, would be more receptive to what you have to offer.

    Since most cold calls are done in the early morning or late afternoon, do some research in the early afternoon; around 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Find out more about the company that you plan to call on; their directors, management team, and current projects.

    Once you have the necessary information, frame your opening statements and ensuing questions on the company’s needs, goals, and business objectives.

    Cold calling will not be a random activity if you get to familiarize yourself with the prospect.

  2. Prepare a Solid Opening Statement

    In cold calling, you only have 10 seconds to get the interest of your prospect. You need an opening statement that should be attractive or compelling enough to get the prospect hooked.

    How do you make a solid opening statement? Here are a few guidelines you can use:

    • Don’t Assume a Weak Position – The start of a cold call may be a battle of wills. You are asking for the prospect’s time when he/she could be doing something else. Therefore, what you are offering must be worth his/her time.If you open with a question like, “Is this a good time to call?” then you’ve already given away your position of strength. Your question implies that your call may not even be worth the prospect’s time.
    • Follow a 3-Point Structure – The formula for a solid opening statement is simple. It should have an introduction, a reference point, and the benefits of your service before transitioning to a question.Here’s an example:

      “Good Morning Mr. Lewis, this is Nicole Watkins from Trident Business Solutions (introduction).

      I read in the newspaper that your company is planning to open its largest factory in Nebraska (reference point).

      Our company specializes in inventory control systems that would improve productivity significantly (benefits).

      I’d like to ask a few questions that would help us identify which solutions package would best fit your needs.”

  3. Create a Calling Guide; Not a Script

    Brian Tracy, who is one of the most respected motivational speakers and a bestselling author of several self-development books, abhors the use of scripts when cold calling.

    According to Tracy, scripts make the cold call feel less personal and will, therefore, prevent you from establishing a trusting relationship with the prospect. Tracy prefers that you carry on a conversation with the prospect instead of staging a question and answer portion.

    Instead of a script, create a calling guide. This functions like a note card which summarizes the following key points that may be taken up during the cold call:

    • Strong/ key features of your product.
    • Benefits of using your product.
    • Advantages over the competition.
    • Possible objections about your company or products and services.
    • Answers/ rebuttals to possible objections about your company or products and services.
    • Answers to possible questions about your company or products and services.

    Anyone can tell if a cold caller is using a script. He/she sounds mechanical, even poorly-rehearsed. That’s the worst thing because it will appear the agent didn’t even bother to prepare for the call and will just waste the prospect’s time.

    A calling guide will give you the freedom to navigate through the cold call and have a conversation with the prospect. It will be there to make sure you don’t forget any of your key selling points.

  4. Propose an Appointment; Don’t Ask for One

    A cold call may only take 1 to 1.5 minutes. In that span of time, your primary goal should be to book an appointment. Considering the effort it took to get the prospect on the line, don’t let the opportunity pass by giving him/her a chance to say “No”.

    When getting an appointment, don’t ask for one. If you do, you will be framing your question that will be answerable by “Yes” or “No”. A better approach would be to propose an appointment by suggesting a time and date.

    Here is a good example:

    “I will be in your area this Friday at 2:00pm, if your schedule should permit, I would like to drop by your office to give you a more detailed presentation of what we have discussed so far.”

    Would the prospect still say “No”? Possibly, but you’ve also put him/her in a situation where the schedule could be set on another date. The prospect might respond with:

    “Friday, 2:00 pm is not good as I have a prior meeting booked. However, I can pencil you in for Monday, 10:00 am, if you are available.”

    Again, a successful cold call is all about getting the conversation going.

  5. Win the Trust of the Gatekeeper

    GateKeeper

    The “Gatekeeper” is usually the secretary or the receptionist. She is not a troll or an ogre who eats agents that try to trespass. If they seem uncooperative, that is only because the gatekeeper wants to make sure the boss is productive.

    Instead of being fearful of the gatekeeper, win her trust. If she won’t give the phone to her boss, be respectful of her decision.

    Another good approach to the gatekeeper is to try and build a rapport. Find out her first name and address her as such. Also, come up with a good opening line by using the tips we outlined in #2:

    “Good morning, Jen! This is Nicole Watkins from Trident Business Solutions (introduction).

    I read in the newspaper that your company is planning to open its largest factory in Nebraska (reference point).

    Our company specializes in inventory control systems that would improve productivity significantly (benefits).

    I would like to ask Mr. Lewis a few questions that would help us identify which solutions package would best fit his company’s needs.

    Can you help me out, Jen? I believe Mr. Lewis would find our proposal beneficial and timely to the company’s newest project.”

  6. Stick to a Cold Calling Schedule

    Is there a best time to schedule a cold call? Some marketing experts recommend cold calling to be done late in the afternoon; around 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, when prospects are on their break. According to surveys, they are more receptive to cold calling when the business day is winding down.

    You can also try calling first thing in the morning at 8:00am before the boss comes in. The secretary might still be in the process of finalizing the schedule of her boss and there is a chance that she can fit you in for a quick call.

Conclusion

The most important strategy you should have is to keep cold calling. The more often you cold call, the better you will get. Also, if you are not cold calling, others certainly are. In sales, opportunities happen all the time. The time you decide to forego the call may open the door of opportunity for others.