If you want your people to be top sales performers, they’ve got to make calls.
Mike Weinberg, author of New Sales Simplified, put it best when he said: “sales is a verb.”
But there’s no shortage of excuses as to why a rep doesn’t get on the phone:
- “No one returns my calls”
- “I’m not a great cold caller”
- “Cold calling is dead”
The thing is: all of those excuses are dead wrong.
If you want your team to become cold call pros, here are seven killer cold calling strategies you can put into practice right away.
1. Help sales reps mentally prepare to make calls.
When it comes to cold calling, half the battle is drumming up the courage to pick up the phone.
Usually if a rep is hesitant to get on the line, it’s because they lack the confidence to do so. As their coach, you can actively work to fix that:
- Provide encouragement and confidence in their abilities
- Give them recordings of effective calls so they aren’t starting from Square One
- Don’t sit over their shoulder whispering in their ear; instead, record their calls and coach asynchronously
- Make sure they know why they believe in your product or service; very few reps can sell a product they don’t believe in
When you give your reps the support they need to mentally prepare for their calls, they’re more likely to get up onto that horse, even after they’ve been knocked down a time or two.
2. Help reps deliver an internal locus of control.
When a call goes badly, note how the rep discusses that failure.
Do they put all the blame on the prospect? (e.g. They just weren’t a good fit.)
Or do they act as though they’re responsible for it? (e.g. I could have made the value prop clearer.)
Would you believe us if we said the latter is more effective?
It’s because when reps have an internal locus of control, they act as though they have the power to influence the events around them, regardless of whether it’s objectively true.
This increases the likelihood of a positive outcome.
3. Help your reps build physical mindfulness.
Mindfulness is one of those terms that is overused. You may even think it’s a little too “woo-woo.”
But at its core, mindfulness is simply an awareness of the body and your physical surroundings.
And if you don’t think that’s not relevant to cold calling, you’re wrong.
According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy of Harvard University, factors like posture and body language actually help shape your emotions. These, in turn, shape how you act.
So help your reps develop that sense of mindfulness. Tell them to sit up straight, or even stand, during cold calls. Remind them to smile before they get on the phone.
These little things will make all the difference.
4. Give your reps a call script.
A well-written call script functions as a constant reminder of the structure and flow of the call. It also includes things they will need to recite verbatim, like technical terms, product differentiators, or more complex talking points.
However, it’s important to help your reps remember what a script is and what it isn’t.
Most importantly, a script isn’t a replacement for human conversation. They shouldn’t read the script word-for-word. Instead, they should use it as a guide for the conversation and overall flow.
Each of your reps needs a voice of their own. The script should complement that, rather than replace it.
5. Block off dedicated call time.
Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law?
It’s the principle that states a task will take as much time to complete as you give it.
So if a rep gives themselves a whole day to make 50 calls, chances are they’ll make those last few calls as people are leaving the office.
But if they give themselves two hours to make 50 calls, they’re likely to get them done in that time, leaving plenty of time throughout the day for other tasks.
For newer reps, they’ll need your support to block off that dedicated call time. They’ll also have more difficulty saying “no” to other people who want to pull them in different directions, and they’ll need you to help guard that time.
More experienced reps, on the other hand, should be able to manage this themselves.
6. Teach them how to research.
Another common reason that reps struggle with cold calls is that they go into them blind, and hope to half-ass their way through the conversation.
This is a bad idea.
Prospects are incredibly knowledgeable, protective of their time, and not afraid to say so. If a rep pushes through without taking the time to learn about the prospect and their business, they’ll come across as both ignorant and arrogant.
However, there’s a legitimate concern that the rep will spend too much time researching and not enough time calling. That’s why you should help them streamline their process.
Here at ExecVision, we love a process called 3×3: gather three pieces of information about the prospect in just three minutes.
This process helps reps be both quick and thorough at the same time.
7. Remember that “warm calling” is an option.
An alternative to cold calling is “warm calling,” which means that you find a way to connect to the prospect before reaching out.
This could be a LinkedIn connection, a mutual acquaintance, or even a shared Facebook Group.
Having these prior connections can be helpful; at the very least, they may alleviate the annoyance that many people have when someone calls them out of the blue.
Quick List: 15 Cold Calling Tips for Sales Success
- Use a simple sales script, tweaking it over time as you make more calls
- Speak with confidence; your tone of voice will impact the prospect’s response
- Don’t pitch prematurely; take the time to get to know the prospect and build value, then earn the right to ask them for their business
- If you’re having trouble, it’s more likely that you’re insecure or reluctant than you’re unskilled
- NEVER multitask during calls
- Remember that failure is a guaranteed part of the process; if a call goes wrong, just buck up and dial the next one
- Remember the 30/50 rule: your ideal response rate should be above 50%, but if it’s below 30% then something’s wrong & you need to fix something
- If you’re leaving a voicemail, keep it clear and succinct; no one wants to listen to someone ramble
- If you’re having trouble getting a response, considering sending them a text message
- Make your life more efficient by using a sales dialer program
- Track your cold emails, and when a prospect opens it, immediately get on the phone and call them
- Don’t talk price before value
- If a prospect says “I don’t have time,” it’s probably not true (they wouldn’t have picked up if they didn’t have time); use this as an opportunity to quickly deliver your value prop
- If someone is tight-lipped, lead with your value; if that doesn’t get them to talk, then they’re not a good fit
- You win or lose the deal before you even pick up the phone; it’s your mindset that makes all the difference
Final Thoughts: Focus Your Cold Calling Efforts
Before you pick up the phone, make sure that you have a clear objective for that call. Most of the time, that objective is merely to get them onto a second call, usually a discovery call.
In essence, the reason you’re calling is to sell them on…another call.
Doing this will allow you to have more touches with your prospects, building familiarity and potentially rapport among you.
Plus, no one buys when they’re being sold something out of the blue. You need to give yourself the opportunity to build up trust and confidence and earn the right to ask them for their business.
Focus on delivering value and actively listening to them. If you do that, you’ll be able to put them at the center of your sales story, setting you up for success.
For more information on how to effectively cold call in the “work from home era,” click here to watch one of our Call Camp recordings.