Many salespeople shy away from B2B cold calls because they “don’t work.” Most of them don’t enjoy picking up the phone and talking with a stranger who is not expecting their call. So it’s not surprising that so many reps prefer to believe cold calls are ineffective. The truth, however, is that cold calls fail to achieve results because they’re poorly executed.
B2B cold calling can be highly effective. If you rule it out, you’re missing an opportunity.
So how do you increase your success rates, making cold calling a worthwhile activity that’s fun to do because you get results? Here are six tactics that can help you.
- Think Positively
If you conjure up images of prospects responding to your call with annoyance or anger, you’ll get off on the wrong foot. The person you call will hear the lack of confidence in your voice, so don’t dwell on negative scenarios.
Instead, think about the value you can bring to your contact and how you can help them. Imagine how your prospects will feel when they discover there is a solution to the problem they are facing or a new way to exploit an opportunity.
The more positive you are, the more likely you are to be successful. As Henry Ford once said wisely, “If you say you can or you can’t, you’re right either way.”
- Prepare Before You Call
A lot of people don’t want to “waste time” doing the foundational work of preparing to make calls. Instead, they fritter away time making the calls for which they have not prepared.
You can separate yourself from the pack by doing your homework. And, by the way, this preparation can boost your confidence.
Before you pick up the phone make sure you not only have an understanding of the products, services or solutions that you’re offering, but also how they benefit the audience you’re targeting. To understand this, you’ll need to do a full assessment of your prospects’ needs. Bear in mind that requirements may vary depending on an individual’s position, industry and the market in which they compete.
Also, as is fundamental to all sales activities, you need to have some goals. While you cannot expect to achieve the same result on every call, you should at least have a minimum and maximum objective. For example, a small goal might be to learn more about your contact’s role, contact information and the problems that they are facing. On the high-end, you might want to set a sales appointment.
- Be Ready to Listen
Many salespeople have the gift of gab. After all, extroverts are attracted to a position that enables them to interact with others. The problem, however, is that to move a relationship with a prospect forward, you need to listen more than talk.
That’s because one of your primary objectives should be to understand your prospect’s problem, where they are in the decision-making cycle and who else might be involved. If you fall too naturally into sales mode, spouting features and benefits before understanding needs, you’re less likely to be successful.
Be curious, ask open-ended questions and listen actively.
- Don’t Sell a Product
If your goal is to sell a particular product, you are approaching cold calling the wrong way. You could be trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
You need to flip your methodology and consider your contact first. Once you uncover their problem, you can think through possible products, solutions or services that might help them.
- Slow Down
You have a long-term goal in mind and would probably like to achieve it as soon as possible. Your prospect, however, probably has a different timeline. If you get out too far over your skis, you just may fall flat on your face. If, on the other hand, you pace yourself at your prospects’ speed, according to where they are in the buying cycle, you’ll be far more likely to reach the finish line together.
- Be Natural
You’ve probably been victim to robocalls and calls from telemarketers who read mechanically from a script. Have you been engaged in the conversation? Does the caller hold your attention? Probably not.
If you’re reading from a script, it’s undoubtedly not because it works well; it’s just easier. It’s a crutch. Again, it’s better to prepare ahead of time. Gain a full understanding of the products and solutions you’re selling and how they can make your prospects’ lives easier. This way, you won’t have to read from a script. Such preparation enables you to engage in a natural two-way conversation, getting to know the individual you called and building a human relationship.
B2B cold calls work well when you follow this guidance, preparing and putting your prospect first.