10 Cold Calling Lessons Learned the Hard Way

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Cold calling is a challenge for most people; it raises a specter of dread and fear. If you follow these ten tips of cold calling, you will find the entire process much effective and easier to break the ice. These tips will help to improve your b2b sales lead generation as well as the sales rate over the phone.

1. OVERCOME YOUR FEAR

If you are feeling fear about calling customers, you might have different uncertainties in your head. Think that it’s not personal, the receiver on another end he or she is not going to hurt you. Imagine what can be the worst thing that would happen to you? They will hang up your call or mistreat you. Take it all as your learning medicines.

Take heart from the experiences of others and put some time in shadowing your colleague to see how he or she makes phone calls, it will help you to overcome your fear. As you start calling, your fear will start to disappear eventually.

2. PLAN YOUR SCRIPT

Write out a few lines that can support you to give a good start and a good end. You cannot write the script for the entire conversation. For example,

“Hi, I am Paul Mike, Marketing executive of ABC Company. We supply lubricants that are efficient for machine lines; I saw your buying requirement on Exporthub regarding automotive lubricants, are you interested in buying these lubricants? If the buyer says yes then you can ask him questions like how much quantity you need and so on. You can carry on with your natural conversation when the customer answers your first question. But be prepared for every query that a customer might ask you.

Remember, if you write a complete script it will not pay off you; just write a few points and you’re your script accordingly to gain credibility and confidence in the eyes of your customer.   

3. CHOOSE THE BEST TIME OF CALLING

The best time to cold call is 4:00-5:00pm, the second-best time is 8:00-10:00am and the worst times are 11:00am to 2pm (Insidesales.com & Kellogg school of business).

Thursday is the best day to prospect. Wednesday is the second-best day. Tuesday is the worst day. (InsideSales).

It varies from industry to industry and working hours of your target audience. In light of these two factors, you can decide the best calling time for yourself. Choose the calling time when you feel very energetic, and you don’t have a load of other operational tasks. Typically, morning hours are better than in the afternoon.

4. PLAN EVERY PHONE CALL

Before you start making phone calls to your customer. Take a look at every lead on your list on the sheet. Plan every lead efficiently that how can you bring it toward engagement and conversion. There are three steps to plan well.  Ask yourself

  • What is the right objective?
  • What is the right approach?
  • Who is the right person?

Your objective can be asking for a sales appointment or convince the client on a given quotation etc. The right approach is developing strategies that help you to achieve your objective. Strategies may include offering a discount, free delivery, or anything by which you can be successful to persuade your client toward conversion. The right person is an individual you try to approach who can help you to achieve the desired results. In sales usually, the right person is the CEO, VP, Purchase manager, operational manager, or owner of the company.

You have to combine all these three while approaching your lead on call. They can play a crucial role to break the ice. 

5. YOUR VOICE

Your voice should be firm and confident in a courteous tone. Stay polite but don’t speak like overly “sweet.” Say your words slowly so the listener can quickly collect your thoughts. Don’t take long pauses during conversations.

Make sure don’t sound to be nervous otherwise, the buyer will think you shaky or unprofessional and might hang up your call. If you find yourself nervous, then ask yourself the reason either it’s because of a lack of product knowledge or natural fear. You easily overcome with some amount of concentration and willpower. Practicing a pitch twice or thrice before dialing a phone number will be helpful to you.

6. HOOK YOUR CUSTOMER

Plan some points to attract your customer for instance, “we are ISO certified”. Tell the customer your USP (Unique selling point) of your product or services, and identify the pain area or core need of the client then align your product as a solution to this problem.

When negotiating on pricing, if the prospect says too high price focus on highlighting benefits, features, and competitive advantage you are offering and if they argue about low quality or quantity. You can tell him we are also charging you a low price.

It is not a hard and fast rule, but it can work well when you tailor this technique according to your situation.

7. HANDLE OBJECTIONS

Do you know 58% of buyers report that salesmen are unable to answer their queries effectively? (Forbes Insight)

You will often receive queries and objections if you belong to sales and business development. Learn to handle objections and queries. Write answers on your sheet of top ten queries and objections. Practice them well to respond to your customers effectively. 

8. DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW UP

44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up. (Marketingdonut).

Follow up is part and parcel of cold calling. If you don’t follow up regularly, then you won’t be able to close orders and make sales. Do quick follow-ups until you get any final status of yes or no? In this way, you will gain excellent speed in chasing good leads toward conversion.

9. DON’T GET DISTRESSED BY REJECTIONS

Only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment (Leapjob.com)

Rejections are the routine norm of sales life. So you don’t need to get upset by lots of rejections. Out of 100 calls, ten might take an interest in your offer, and out of 10; one prospect would like to buy your product or give you an appointment. Consumers have many options to buy because they receive offers and quotations from several suppliers.

Try to ask out a customer, if he is not willing to buy from you what the reason behind it is? If he tells you the reason, you will learn more about consumer preferences and your product strengths and weaknesses.  Or you can also ask him to give you any referral. Referral plays a crucial role in closing sales.

  • Do you know 80% of sales calls with a referral lead to a meeting? (IKO-system.com).
  • 91% of customers say they’d give a referral? (Dale Carnegie)

10. EVALUATE YOUR PERFORMANCE

Keep track of your sales performance efforts, measure how many minimum calls can bring you to one conversion. Take inventory of all the elements which play a crucial role in your failure and success of cold calling.

Whereas, you also need to consider other elements that can affect your sales performance such as product USP, the number of available buyers data in the marketplace, size of your company, timing to approach customers, competitor’s offer, etc.

You can consider all these aspects while doing a self-evaluation of your sales performance to improve your sales skills efficiently.

The bottom line is

Above all, the more you practice, the better you will be able to master the skills of cold calling. As you progress in practice, you will see how your hidden talent of sales will come out and lead you toward success.

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