Avoiding common cold calling mistakes is easier when you know how. Much of it comes down to planning your cold calling scripts before you even begin making phone calls. As the saying goes, fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
In today’s competitive markets, you can’t afford to waste time toying around with strategies. But by breaking it down into steps, we can get you on the right path to cold calling success.
1. Research your prospects
Step one is to build a list of ideal prospects.
You don’t want to waste time here, and prospects don’t want their time wasted either.
Only target businesses and individuals who should have a genuine use for your products or services. This way you avoid instant rejection. It also reduces the feeling of typical sales calls from sales reps. (Remember, it's about the customer, not you!)
LinkedIn is a great tool for targeted lead generation. Specifically, you can explore:
- What exactly does the business do?
- What’s [Person X’s] role and length of employment?
- Have they recently posted any content or opinion polls?
- Are they active in industry events?
- Do you have any mutual connections?
- Do they have a nickname or preferred name?
- Where did they graduate?
Researching these questions offers insights that allow you to personalize your cold call and build rapport with the prospect. This is perfect for appearing less salesy and more relaxed.
(Remember: it’s about catering for the prospect’s needs rather than appearing too eager to make a sale!)
2. Set out an objective for your cold call
For most cold calls, the objective is to make an instant sale or arrange a callback. Perhaps you have a more specific objective in mind but whatever it is, remember it both before and during the call. This will keep you focused and ensure you’re getting the most value out of your own time and that of your prospect’s.
3. Create your cold calling script
Making your first call can be daunting, but having a solid sales script is vital for avoiding common cold calling mistakes.
Your script should keep things simple and focused. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown.
The most important aspect. From the off, you need to convince your prospect not to hang up.
Start with a friendly greeting, explaining who you are and who you work for. Using your full name is a subtle way to gain respect.
After this, there are three options:
- Pause for a second or two. Allow the prospect to act on their curiosity and ask more.
- Continue with a trigger event. In other words, mention something from your research that shows you aren’t just calling at random. For example, “I’m calling because I noticed your business has a new product ready for launch. We’d love to help you drive traffic to your website and increase sales.”
- Use politeness strategies to ease into a conversation and show you respect their time. For example, “I appreciate you weren’t expecting this call. But perhaps you have a quick moment for us to chat. I think you’ll really like what we offer.”
Now it’s time to build rapport with the prospect and show you understand their needs.
Try to get the prospect talking about their business. This gives you time to observe and think about how you can help them before you respond. You’ll also get to further gauge their personality.
A great trick to get your prospect talking is to ask open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no response. For example, “Hey, I noticed from LinkedIn you’ve just made it to five years employment. How are things going?”
Deliver your positioning statement
Your positioning statement is a short description of your service or product, who it’s aimed at, and what it’s for. Deliver this once you’ve built rapport and it should get your prospect to deliver their pain points.
For example, “We specialize in [X] and noticed that most businesses like yours need help with their [X]. Does this sound like you?”
Schedule a callback
After hearing your prospect’s needs, summarize the main points out loud to reinforce that you've listened. For example, “Okay, [name], brilliant. So your main troubles are [summarize what they’ve just said].”
Now all that’s left is to schedule a call back for a deeper discussion. This also allows the prospect some initial breathing room and to consider some of the finer points of your pitch.
4. Use the right tools
Selecting the right tools makes life for sales teams much easier.
From a sales engagement platform, customer relationship management systems (CRM), or cold calling software like Dialpad with built-in features like automatic dialing, there are many sales tools to help. Most of them are cloud-based and paid via subscription too.
Using the right tools takes away the stress of the sales process, allowing you to focus more on improving your script game.
Now we’ve looked at an overview for creating cold call scripts, here are some bonus tips for using them.
Related Post: Discovery Call Checklist: 12 Steps for a Strong Sales Discovery