Cold calling is a sales technique that has many misconceptions. Over the years, the number of myths on the effectiveness of cold calling has grown even though several companies have experienced great success with it.
If you ask 10 marketers their opinion on cold calling, expect six of them to discourage you from including it in your selling toolbox. The reason for this is that most marketers have not taken the time to dispel the myths about cold calling.
Here are 9 popular myths about cold calling that have been debunked:
Cold Calling Is Dead
Let’s debunk the most popular one. No, cold calling is not dead. In fact, it is alive and well.
Despite the popularity of social media marketing and email marketing, cold calling remains a key component of a business’ sales strategy. Why? Unlike the social media and email marketing, cold calling is a high-touch sales approach.
Cold calling is human- to- human contact. A response is made after the initial engagement. Regardless of the type of response, a feedback mechanism is created.
The agent is in a position to articulate the company’s position because he/she can try to resolve or rebut the response of the prospect. A result can be produced during the cold call itself. In comparison, your efforts in social media and email marketing will take time before it can produce results.
Successful Cold Calling Is A Numbers Game
The leads list that you call on isn’t just a bunch of numbers that are haphazardly put together. These numbers are the result of time spent generating leads. Anyone who has done lead generation work knows creating a list is not easy.
Therefore, these numbers have been qualified. They are people who can be potential paying customers for your business. Properly handled, the number you call can be converted from lead to sales revenue.
If you manage these leads like a numbers game, whereby the more you call, the higher the probability of getting a sale, you will end up “burning the list”. In effect, you will be “burning” potential revenues.
For the reason that these leads are assets, you have to take good care of them. Focus on getting the most out of every connection you make.
The More “No’s” You Get Brings You Closer To A “Yes”
If you keep getting “No’s” from the people you are cold calling, it could mean either the quality of the leads is bad or second, your approach to cold calling needs work.
Similar to the previous myth, the result of your cold calls isn’t a numbers game. You shouldn’t think that the more “no’s” you get, the closer you are to getting a “yes”. When it comes to cold calling, do not play a game of probabilities.
Instead, find out the root cause of all the rejections. If the quality of the leads is bad, review your lead generation processes. Likewise, you should evaluate your own approach to cold calling.
Are you using a script? Ask your supervisor or a more experienced cold caller to take a look at it. If you often get stumped trying to answer questions from prospects, you should spend more time studying the product.
You Need To Get Past The Gatekeeper
Contrary to popular myth, the gatekeeper’s job is not to protect his/her boss from salespeople. If the proposal has value and relevance to the needs of the company, the gatekeeper will gladly connect you with his/her boss.
The primary job of the gatekeeper is to make sure the boss is productive. That means the boss should stay on schedule. The gatekeeper is usually the secretary or the receptionist.
Thus, the gatekeeper is the one who manages the boss’ daily calendar of activities. It is well within reason to expect the gatekeeper to maintain the schedule as originally intended.
Rather than fear the gatekeeper, you should try to find ways to win his/her trust. How? Just be nice and respectful. Do not insist on what you want.
Approach the gatekeeper from the point- of- view of a protagonist; not as an antagonist. This way, the gatekeeper may offer to help you meet with the boss.
The First Step Is To Build A Relationship
It is perfectly fine to exchange pleasantries in order to “break the ice”. However, always keep in mind that the cold call is first and foremost, a business call. You have other prospects to call. Your prospect has other business matters to attend to.
It is not impossible to build a relationship from a cold call because relationships need time to grow. Specific attributes need to be in place for a relationship to exist. Among these attributes are trust, respect, competence, and honesty. It takes time for these attributes to form and develop within the relationship.
Keep the pleasantries or informal talk to a minimum. Once you feel that the prospect has warmed up to the idea of receiving the cold call, proceed to the business at hand.
You Have To Be Aggressive To Be Successful
Being aggressive is a good quality to have in sales. This means having the mindset to pursue opportunities despite experiencing setbacks. A salesperson who is aggressive does not get complacent. He/she will ensure that every second spent on the job will be productive.
Unfortunately, some salespeople misconstrue the meaning of “aggression” in sales. They think you have to be “pushy” or overly-insistent. When a client says, “No, I’m not interested”, they take it as an affront and switch to a more aggressive position.
They don’t hear the side of the prospect. All they know is that they have a sales quota to hit. So they push and nag the prospect hoping that eventually, they will give in.
Perhaps the prospect will agree to what you want. However, don’t take it as a victory. Once the call runs through third-party verification or TPV, the prospect can easily decline.
People Hate To Receive Cold Calls
Yes, the Do- Not- Call or DNC Registry is quite extensive. However, it does not mean people in general hate to receive cold calls. There are people who welcome cold calls because it keeps them updated on new products and services in the industry.
The key lies in how you carry out the cold call. If it sounds mechanical or automated, the prospect may decline you right away. Even if you are using a script, try to sound normal and naturally engaged.
The biggest advantage of cold calling over other sales techniques is that it humanizes the entire process. In short, sound like a human being when you call. The prospect is more likely to respond favourably to someone who sounds like he/she genuinely cares about the prospect’s needs.
Cold Calling Is An Easy Skill To Learn
Businesses spend money to hire the best cold callers in the industry. The question is, “How do you know which cold callers are the best?”
Even if the resume of the candidate is packed with achievements, it is not a guarantee that he/she will deliver consistent results. Why? Because products and services take time to learn and get familiar with; there is a learning curve to be considered and respected.
You can hire a cold calling agent who regularly hit his/her targets for insurance and credit card packages. It does not mean that he/she will deliver the same results in a totally different industry such as real estate.
The cold calling agent will have to go through the entire process of un-learning and re-learning. This means the agent has to unlearn everything he/she picked up from the previous campaign so he/she can absorb all the information about the new product or service.
To Get Results Only Call “Warm Leads”
Marketing people often say they have worked to create a list of “warm leads”. These are leads that have been pre-qualified and are categorized as people who have the highest probability of becoming a paying customer.
In contrast, a cold lead is one that has not been qualified. The level of interest or intent to purchase has not been measured by any lead generation process.
The truth is leads are just leads. What makes them warm or cold is how they are used by the cold caller.
As we discussed in Myth #2, these leads are assets. Each number that you call can result in a potential sale. It would depend on the agent’s approach and technique in executing the cold call.
There is no such thing as a perfect marketing strategy. The most popular digital tools and processes such as email marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing will be rendered ineffective in the wrong hands.
The same reasoning applies to cold calling. As maligned as it has been, many businesses still employ it as a sales strategy for the simple reason that it yields quantifiable and significant results.
As the saying goes, “Knowledge is power”. Do not disregard cold calling just because some of these myths persist. Learn more about cold calling and find out how it can help your business achieve its goals. With patience, purpose, and the correct mindset, cold calling will deliver your expected results.