The Newbie Rep's Quick (and Quirky) Guide to the Dreaded Cold Call

Business man pointing to black board with text Do you Know your Customers?

 

Let’s talk about Sales calls.

More specifically, cold calls.

Not only the what, but also the how and when.

Cold calls may sound old-fashioned and out-of-date, yet it is one of the tried and tested ways to introduce products and services to customers. Businesses across every industry vertical have tried it and are still using cold calls as a great way to generate new leads.

Cold calling can be quite challenging. You have a very short time to connect with your prospect - what you need is for them to realize how you can help them.

Here are some methods and strategies that you might wish to try to make the most out of every single cold call you make.

First, before you even start with your cold calls, maximize your efforts with these 3 key steps. The second part of the article will reveal the professional cold calling script structure as well as the dos and don’ts that will add sparkle to your script.

Before you make that call - 3 key steps

1. Identify 2 - 4 verticals that suit your buyer profile

2. Identify 30 good fit prospects

3. Research each prospect

Do diligent preparation first with these 3 time-tested steps and you will get the critical “elbow in the door.”

1. Identify 2 - 4 verticals that suit your buyer profile

First, start with working on your outreach. Select the companies that you think will most likely purchase your product. Of course, you can simply collect this data using your existing client portfolio. But it’s even better when you can spend some time researching. This will give you a better understanding of the current market trends. Then you will see how your product can add value to your customer’s business, in the context of the industry trends.

It is a basic courtesy, before you call, to find out if your product or service is currently relevant to the client. If not, just keep him in mind for future products that may fit. Remember the classic story of trying to sell a refrigerator to the Eskimos!

By the way, for B2B companies, it is a lot more complicated than selling a product.

94% of customers have discontinued communications with a company simply because of irrelevant promotions or messages (Source: Oracle, Friction-less B2c).

Do understand that your prospects are getting somewhere between 2 to 5 cold calls every day, so you must stand out with your approach. Everyone has an opinion, but what’s scarce are sales reps with substance and evidence from up-to-date research!

A well informed cold caller is always a pleasure to speak with – even for the busiest executive.

2. Identify 30 good fit prospects

With easy access to social media and networking platforms, it is fairly easy to search for specific people based on their job titles. Before you start with your cold calls, it is vital to search for the prospects on platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook. So, short-list them based on your prospector fit matrix.

Download Free Prospector Fit Matrix Template

Do make sure that you are only targeting prospects who are a great fit for your product or service. If you are selling a ‘marketing tool’ then you should search for people like ‘Head of Marketing’ or ‘Marketing manager.’ Time is a precious commodity and a professional must respect his prospect’s time and scope-of-work. By using a filter for ‘location’, you need only shortlist the location where your presence is more visible to the prospects.

3. Research each prospect

Records Concept. Word on Folder Register of Card Index. Selective Focus.

If you don’t know the prospect, then what are the chances that you will be able to connect with them on a deeper level? Use online tools. Search what they like, what posts they shared recently or what groups they are associated with. This really helps to strategize your talking points when you are actually on a call with them.

Make it the day’s highlight for the Head of Marketing to speak to a well-informed cold caller, updating him regarding the latest market trends!

It is even better if you are authorized to mention some products or services that are about to be released soon. The very one which may solve the problem that you have identified that his business needs. How? By your diligent, in-depth research of his company. Impressed with your knowledge, he will definitely appreciate the input and seek to engage further.

Only share information that is verified and well-researched. The truth.

One wrong input or statistic may cost you dearly! Remember, 51% of customers will never do business with a company again after just one negative experience (Source: Newvoicemedia).

Do remember, your credibility is your call-card.

Smiling salesman ready to shake hand at new car showroom

Now you are prepared, so you can chill?

Not quite. Here’s the bad news - Buyers do not trust salespeople.

This is clearly stated even in HubSpot’s marketing blogs. If you need any further convincing, just click here. https://news.gallup.com/poll/1654/honesty-ethics-professions.aspx.

Hitting the top scores in the “High” portion of the trust column were nurses (31%), medical practitioners (17%), engineers (17 %,) pharmacists (15%) and teachers (12%). Unfortunately, coming in the low scores were car salespeople (1%), insurance salespeople (2%) and advertising practitioners (2%).                         

Don’t feel too dejected – you’re in the same cluster with eminent professionals like Senators (2%), and Members of Congress (3%)!

Although the study sampled American citizens, the data from Gallup polls most likely reflects the mindset of the wider global population.

If you diligently complete these 3 steps, you are not making a cold call anymore!

It is a call that a professional in the same industry will be most fortunate to receive.

1. Introduce yourself.

Start off on a cheerful tone - state clearly your name and that of your company, with full clarity and excitement. The number of cold calls reported by prospects about sales reps who are simply ho-hum is legion! Do not become another unfortunate statistic.

If you don’t introduce yourself properly, your prospect will hang up in the next 15 seconds. The end.

After a pleasant introduction, pause for at least for 5 to 8 seconds. The majority of the agents jump right into the pitch. It is as if they have the fear that the prospect will hang up. Test waters - don’t jump right in until you get a positive response after your introduction. Be considerate and call another day if the prospect is busy or otherwise distracted. Being able to retain a good prospect for future calls is better than losing him entirely because you are inconsiderate now.

Be polite - Ask them straight up if it is a good time to speak with them. Then you are seen to articulate confidence in the content of your call. It’s always good to keep your prospects a bit curious about what to expect next – it builds suspense.

Behave like a human being, not a sales drone

2- Establish Professional Rapport

Try to sound confident and knowledgeable, but also warm and friendly. Don’t use more words than you need to. Avoid lengthy sentences and empty phrases. Never talk about how great your offering is.

Remember, you are not selling a car.

You are not selling anything.

You are presenting the researched facts and letting the prospect decide if it’s something they would like to learn more about. The in-depth homework you have done on each prospect will allow you to build instant rapport with them over the phone.

Your prospects, being senior and experienced professionals, will know that you are not just calling and ticking them off your list with the company pencil, while both your feet are plonked on the table!

And yes, they will know that you have both feet plonked on the table.

How? Are they Magical Masters of Management!

It is all in the tone of your voice.

Have you ever seen singers sitting down to belt out their hit songs?
Slouch in your chair like a question mark (?) and it is almost a guarantee that your content will sound questionable!

Sit or stand tall when you call – that is the cold call mantra!

Now, your tone will come over the other end of the wire with enthusiasm, range and power.

Magic?

No, Biology – your diaphragm is no longer squashed and can resonate pleasantly.

Posture and smiling on a cold call certainly comes through even on the phone

3- The Scriptdouble exposure of businessman or salesman handing over a contract on wooden desk

Case studies are just that – study the cases well.

This is the main piece of marketing collateral salespeople should use. This goldmine is now sitting on your company dashboard. Yes, you know the very one being referred to. The case study that only the team-mate actually assigned to write it up had ever read. Using customer results and contextualizing your message is by far the easiest and most effective way to cut through the noise!

One script that will result from your intense study may sound like this:

“In December 2019, we showed Optimus Phantom Drones Inc., a company in your industry, how to manage their inbound support and outbound sales campaigns using our solution, the Hubspot CRM. You fit a similar profile. That is why I wanted to talk to you,”

Perhaps you can share with the Marketing Manager that he was one of the chosen 30 from the entire industry of 1,327 people that you selected to spend your precious time and company resources on.

He had struck the lottery - to be selected from thousands to receive your call!

He will be intrigued by the how.

Share the Data Analytics that your company had conducted; the vast data collection and procedures that lead you to his company and specifically, him being selected. You must cite the precise qualitative analysis tools/procedures your company used to short-list and indicate that his business was already at a pivotal point. Just spot-on for automation.

The systemic Big Data which you crunched had also red-flagged the sudden spurt of progress in his industry.

Your claims must be absolutely 100% true and accurate.

Be ready to show him the spreadsheets and statistics when you meet up in person. This is a certainty now, as at this point he would be intrigued and amazed by the amount of investigation done.

Let him think through the scenario and tell him you will be ready to help; even if he wishes to invest in similar software from your competitors.

Make this first customer experience the priority – reliable, warm, educated, and frictionless.

No force at all. Frictionless.

Then, should he wish, you can align his business needs with your own software solutions (or even link him up to the competitor of his choice, if it is a better fit)?

Of course, if he chooses yours, ensure him that you and your team will be able to guide him through the entire transformation process!

Real, quantifiable positive results that your previous customers achieved by leveraging on your solutions can slice through the ever-persistent office distractions. If it is targeted at the right contact in a similar situation.

You have a great opportunity to prepare a customized cold calling script.

Use it well.

4. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

Benson Smith and Tony Rutiglianoin in their article, How the Best Reps Build Special and Unique Relationships (Business Journal March 13, 2003) clearly state that “our research has shown that trust has to be there all the time or there is no trust.”

We believe that our business can grow (and sustain) when built on a foundation of integrity – is there any other way?

So now go forth and attract, engage, delight.

 

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