How can I become an expert at cold calling?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.
1. Discover Something in Common
With social networks and Internet search, it’s easier than ever to research to find something in common with the person you’re about to cold call. Check Facebook to see if you have a mutual friend. Check LinkedIn to see if you might have worked in a similar industry with the sales prospect. Finding common ground can help you build rapport at the start of the cold call, so it can be more… warm!
—Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.
2. Stand Up Tall
Standing up, or even walking around, while you pitch will make you come across as more confident and with more presence and projection over the phone. Some people also think quicker when they are standing up rather than sitting down.
—Richard Lorenzen, Fifth Avenue Brands
3. Create Objection Handlers
Having a list of objection handlers that you memorize will give you the confidence to push yourself. There are only 7-10 common objections, so know how to handle them. You’ll find yourself more comfortable to keep calling — it’s a numbers game. Then it’s just about optimizing those numbers.
—AJ Kumar, Single Grain
4. Paradigm Shift
Our best sales prospectors have a different perspective on cold calling that distinguishes them from others — they don’t take rejection personally and see prospecting as a treasure hunt, not a chore. They meticulously map and track their progress and count every “no” as a step toward inevitable success. Then, as with any professional they practice and endlessly refine their expertise.
—Christopher Kelly, NYC Conference Centers
5. Create a Freebie
Cold calling is hard. It’s a lot easier to call someone up and tell them you want to send them a free eBook, no strings attached. Then you’ll be able to make a warm followup call to check if they’ve found your freebie useful and if you can help them act on it.
—Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting
6. Employ a New Strategy
Think about Jonah Hill in ‘Moneyball.’ Our inside sales team makes about 500 cold calls a day. The top representatives are not the ones who hit home runs every time, but the ones who get on base. Getting on base in cold calling just means engaging a prospect in a conversation. Rather than focusing on home runs, focus on getting on base. Then cold calling becomes just a game of statistics.
—Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent.com
7. Use an Educational Process
Offering to come in and teach their team something is often more effective than simply trying to show your solution. It gives people an incentive to sit in a meeting, establishes you as credible, addresses objections without them realizing it, and helps you frame the problem and solution in terms that give you an edge.
—Sean Johnson, Digital Intent
8. Practice in Your Sleep!
Sometimes in your business, you will need to cold call clients who have not returned in a while or to invite them to some event you are launching. Have a short script that you practice to make it sound natural and personable. Prior to going to sleep, practice how you are going to deliver the call. Visualize it, practice it, execute it.
—Nancy T. Nguyen, Sweet T
9. Network for a Referral
With the proliferation of social media today, odds are you’re connected to someone you’ll be cold calling by only a few degrees. Do some research before to see if there’s anyway to get an introduction!
—Jesse Pujji, Ampush|social
10. A/B Test Your Story
Chart your funnel from “Hello,” to “I’m excited to work with you!” Test different messages for each conversation point until you are satisfied with their conversion rates. As an 18-year-old, this approach helped me set new advertising records for a popular TV show.
—Kevon Saber, Stealth
11. Be Sticky!
Chances are, the contacts you’re calling are getting blasted every day by 20 others who try to sell them something, and they’re sick of the typical message/pitch. Think of what would make you call someone back, and be like that. What approach would ‘stick’ to you as you scroll through your own voicemails? Be memorable. Now go dial!
—Joe Cassara, You Need My Guy
12. Don’t Do It!
Cold calling is stressful, painful, and emotionally draining. Instead, become a thought leader in the industry and get clients to come to you. The goal is to educate potential clients about the benefits of your product or service so that they’ll come to you when they’re ready to use it. In addition, attend conferences and build relationships with potential clients.
—Jun Loayza, Tour Woo