No one likes making cold calls. No one ever wakes up in the morning thinking, “Wow – what a great day to call up random strangers and ask them to buy something from me!”
But unfortunately, cold calls are often a necessary part of business. So why not take steps to make them as effective as possible? The following are some of my favorite tips for improving the quality of your cold calls:
Tip #1 – Refine your goals
Effective cold calling requires that you have a specific goal action in mind that you’d like the person on the other end of the line to take. If you aren’t operating with a stated goal, there’s simply no way to tell if you’re converting an appropriate number of contacts into customers or if all your efforts are going to waste.
However, when it comes to setting your goal action, it’s best to avoid asking for the sale while on the line. Instead, come up with a less intimidating action – like setting up an appointment, agreeing to receive marketing materials or signing up for a newsletter list – that’s more likely to result in successful calls.
Tip #2 – Better target your prospects
Do you remember the scene in “The Pursuit of Happyness” where Will Smith’s character is asked to go down a list of names and call each and every person on the page?
Don’t be that guy!
One of the biggest factors in the success of your cold calls is how well you’re targeting the people you’re contacting. If you’re seeing a low success rate with your communications, it could be that you’re delivering your pitch to the wrong people. Spend some time analyzing your existing business model in order to identify key characteristics that your current customers have in common that can be used to target future prospects.
Tip #3 – Ask for help
Once you get on the phone with a targeted contact, one of the best ways to secure buy-in from your prospect is to ask for help in some way. To see this in action, consider the two following statements:
“Hi Mr. So-and-so. My name is Mike Smith and I’d like to tell you more about how my new line of products can dramatically improve your bottom line.”
“Hi Mr. So-and-so. My name is Mike Smith and I’m hoping you can help me. I’m looking for business owners who want to improve their bottom lines – does that sound like you’d be interested in?”
By asking prospects to help with something, you’re taking advantage of a part of basic human psychology that compels us to assist others who are in need. Even if no formal offer of help has been given, the simple act of implying that help is needed is often enough to trigger this connection. When used properly in the context of sales communications, this technique can be incredibly effective!
Tip #4 – Time your calls correctly
Take a second to picture yourself at work at 4:00pm on a Friday afternoon. How productive are you being? And based on that image, how receptive do you think you’d be to receiving cold calls with the promise of the upcoming weekend looming over your shoulders?
In general, the best times to schedule your cold calls are between 8:30-10:00am (use the local time of the business you’re targeting), Tuesday through Thursday. Avoid both Mondays and Fridays, as both of these days tend to have their own productivity hang-ups – for obvious reasons!
In addition, making your calls early in the morning (but not so early that you catch people while they’re still getting their coffee and getting settled in) has two benefits. First, you’ll be more likely to capture a prospects’ attention before he’s tied up in daily meetings and projects. At the same time, calling early will give you the best odds at beating the corporate gatekeepers who could otherwise limit access to the people you need to reach.
Tip #5 – Develop rapport with your prospects
Part of the problem that business prospects have with receiving cold calls is the misconception that all salespeople operate like the snake-oil selling, used car dealers stereotypes that pervade pop culture. For this reason, developing a disarming appeal that instantly builds rapport with your potential customers can go a long way towards improving your cold calling results.
So how do you do this?
First, come up with a cold call pitch that focuses on how your prospect will benefit from taking action with your company. Removing yourself from the process entirely in order to speak to your future customer’s unique wants and needs makes you instantly more relatable.
At the same time, work on your vocal inflections. Don’t speak to quickly and aim for modest, humble tones that don’t give the impression you’ve given your pitch 1,000 times already. Practice giving your sales pitch with a smile on your face and your warmth will shine through to your prospect, increasing your chances of closing the deal.
Do you have to make cold calls as a part of your job? If so, share any other tips you’ve developed for making this communications as effective as possible in the comments section below!