People keep saying cold calling is dead, but many successful businesses rely on cold calling to drive revenue everyday. Whether they’re Fortune 500 companies or high-growth startups, they all have sales teams that keep on dialing numbers day in and day out.
2020 has been a kind of roller coaster year for many, and with the rise of work from home, sales teams that were able to adapt to the new circumstances are seeing enormous success calling up prospects.
So, does cold calling still work in 2021? Many people like to say no and point out examples of cold calls they’ve received that were a pure waste of everyone’s time.
And the truth is, if you’re still doing cold calling like it’s a Wolf Of Wallstreet movie, you might as well not do it at all. Too much has changed in the past 20+ years, which is why I’ve put together 10 of my Top cold calling tips for startup founders and B2B sales pros who want to make more sales and close more deals using methods and cold calling strategies that work now, in 2021.
Now, let’s dive into our compilation of everything you’ll need to know in order to nail your cold calling game this year.
1. When Cold Calling Never talk price before value
When you’re cold calling a prospect and they want to know the price of your offering in the ealry stage, so how do you respond? Most sales reps know that they shouldn’t just give out a straight price, but just telling the prospect “no” can be too rough (and doesn’t really add value to the conversation).
Instead, you need to steer the conversation toward better understanding the prospect’s unique needs, and positioning the value you’ll add to their business. Got it? let’s move on!
2. Research, Research, Research
Researching your prospect should be a pre-call ritual.
By tracking down key information about them, you can deliver calls with value and keep their attention. Without research, you appear selfish by showing zero investment in the person on the other end of the phone. Your prospects will appreciate the extra effort made with personalization and will open up to better conversation.
Pre-call research also helps you enter the conversation with a better vision and have a tailored message from the get-go.
3. Calculate How Many Cold Calls You Need to Make to Hit Your Goals
Do you know how many cold calls you need to hit your monthly quota?
Use the Cold Calling Calculator worksheet I have prepared to work backward from your goals and pinpoint roughly how many cold calls you need to make each day and in total for the month.
To adapt the spreadsheet for your own use just download your own copy and make perfect use.
4. Find a Cold Calling Schedule that Works
If you call prospects with no particular schedule from 9am-5pm each day, you’re missing an opportunity.
By keeping track of when prospects are more likely to answer the phone, and when they’re more likely to speak with you, you can better focus your efforts during times it will make a bigger impact.
Here are few ideas how to approach it
4.5: Look at activity records of those prospects who have purchased. What days are they most likely to answer the phone? Spend your time on those days focusing on high-quality prospects.
You can also look at time of day prospects are most likely to answer.
Hint: SalesVane found that Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to have a conversation on the first dial. Just remember that other people have heard that too, so you’ll need to find what works best for you.
5: Structure your time into “outreach” and “admin” chunks.
Most prospects are in the office from about 9am-5pm, with a break for lunch somewhere from 11:45 – 1:15. People are more likely to answer the phone when they’re not already engaged in their work. Calling around lunch, or towards the end of the day can improve connect rates. With the work from home in place you can also try reaching them out in between the meetings. So 10 to round hour or 10 to half past.
Find the times of day when you’re most likely to get a conversation and focus your efforts on connecting with the highest quality prospects during that time. Use other times to plan, prep, write new sequences, and tweak your script.
6. Cold Calling is NOT a Waste of Time! Stop Listening to the So-Called “Experts”
It’s time we stop listening to the so-called “experts” who say it’s a waste of time. These are probably the same people who go about cold calling the wrong way by failing to follow the tips listed here.
There are 6 cold calling myths that we need to debunk right here, right now!
- Cold calling is dead.
- Cold calling is an outdated practice.
- Cold calling is a forced activity.
- Cold calling is too interruptive.
- Cold calling causes reps to become too “robotic.”
- Cold calling is a “numbers game” and quality is not important.
- Cold calling: How to respond to “I don’t have time”?
Unless you happen to cold call someone whose pregnant wife is about to deliver, it’s pretty likely that the excuse, “I don’t have time” is just a polite way of saying “Go away,” or “What you’re offering is not a priority for me.” After all, if they really didn’t have time, they would have just hung up on you—and they probably wouldn’t have picked up your cold call in the first place.
And yet, your average salesperson still hears “I don’t have time,” stutters, gets nervous, and hangs up. It’s a difficult objection to deal with—we’re not used to responding proactively to “I don’t have time.” You can’t really argue with it, because who are you to question whether someone really has the time for your cold call right now?
A great salesperson, however, finesses this objection around into further conversation. A great salesperson hears “I don’t have time” and recognizes that it’s time to drive home the core value proposition that will get that customer to stay on the line.
7. Prepare for 2 most common B2B SaaS sales objections
One of the myths of SaaS is that the products are so good, so easy to use, so quick to deploy… that the product sells itself. However, that myth won’t protect you from the following 2 objections, especially during cold calling:
“Your product is too expensive.”
“Your product doesn’t have the right features.”
Pricing and features are obviously important, but unlike a commodity product, SaaS salespeople can’t just recite that information and see who bites—their job is to show buyers what value their product can bring to a company.
8. How to respond to “Send me more information”
This is a seemingly most innocuous tactic that prospects often use to interrupt a sales conversation. Pretty early on in the cold call, many people will ask you, “Can you send me some more information? I’ll review it and get back to you.”
New and insecure sales reps eagerly oblige: “Of course! I’ll send it your way.” They send out the email, and that’s it. Maybe one or two timid follow-ups, and they file the lead away as a lost cause.
Why don’t you try to use the power of yes instead and browse for additional information starting from their email address.
First of all, tell them: “Yes I would be delighted! Can I have your email?”
This is the give and take moment. You use the momentum of their request to your advantage, and then redirect it the way you want to.
Then get them to invest in your relationship. Leverage the genuine interest in their needs and ask them a couple of more follow up questions. Start easy and then explore a bit more. This way from a simple brush off just to get a brochure that they will likely never go through and off the call you went to a full blown exploratory call.
After they give you their email address, tell them:
“I want to make sure that I send you the most relevant piece of information. Can you tell me, _______ [easy to answer qualifying question, e.g. are you guys more interested in X or Y]?”
This is a tiny, little follow-up question that most prospects will answer. However, it’s powerful because it will cause them to lower their guard, thereby shifting the conversation’s momentum.
They have given you a bit more information, invested a bit more time and energy into the conversation—and thus are more likely to stick around. So you can ask a couple of additional discovery questions. Your welcome!
9. Sales mindset: How to recover from a bad sales call
When cold calling goes wrong, a particularly painful rejection can totally deflate your sales attitude. But don’t forget, failure is a part of your sales process—not every prospect in every unique situation will be a good fit for your solution.
What’s a better way to recover from shitty sales calls and bounce back?
First of all, step away from the desk. Get up from your chair, and get out of the room.
Take a five minute break.
Get a coffee or tea.
Go for a walk around the block. Go outside, take some fresh air.
Get some distance from what just happened, so you can have perspective.
When you return to your desk, do something that’s fun. Just take a minute or two and listen to your favorite song, or read some motivational quotes, do something that lifts up your spirits and puts you into a positive emotional state.
And then get back into the ring. Pick up the phone and dial another number. Close the next deal. Focus on the work in front of you.
10. Make sure you are reaching out to the right people at the right company
The most important tip for 2021 for all cold callers out there. Make sure you and your team are reaching out to the right people at the right companies. Check if the company you are reaching out will make use of your product or service. It is really hard to believe that reaching out to the car manufacturer in order to sell your B2B Sales platform, right?
You need to go through your target list and exclude the ones that do not make sense.
If you have this covered already, think about the best matching division within the company you want to address and look for people inside the organisation that work there.
If you do your research part well you will have all the necessary details about the company profile, specific needs and also departments and their heads that might be interested in your problem solving solution.
Cold calling times when you just picked up your phone and called a random number at the company are long gone. First and foremost there are better ways to spend your time than calling up one account without a solid plan. Avoid that – invest your time into research and reaching out for relevant people even if you will go through the number from the company’s website.
One huge challenge that we will have during the Covid19 Lockdown and beyond is that people are no longer residing in the office space. If you do not have their direct phone or cell number you need to try to find more creative ways to interact with your potential customers.
The main way I have been reaching out to people throughout last year was with Linkedin. Applying the same technique outlined above you can effectively reach out to relevant stakeholders and make cold introductions and move swiftly from the first call into meetings and discussions around solving their problems.
Those were the top 10 cold calling tips for 2021 from Modern Business and SalesVane.com
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