Before you start making sales calls, it’s a good idea to prepare for them.
A lack of preparation means a much higher chance of things not going according to plan when you make the call. Of course, preparing for a sales call can’t promise a favorable outcome, but it’ll increase the chances of getting what you want from the call.
“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”
– Franklin Roosevelt, President of the United States from 1933 to 1945
Before you pick up the phone or charge into someone’s office to try and sell something, do a little preparation. The idea is to develop a comfortable framework where you have enough knowledge to get started and to ensure that you’re prepared for certain eventualities on the call itself.
The more planning you put into your cold calls, the easier and more successful they will be. Prior planning will take up some of your time, but once you’ve laid out your calling plan, you will be amortizing that time with each call. It won’t be long before your time investment pays off!
Cold calling is traditionally an early stage in the selling process. Cold calling typically refers to the first telephone call made to a prospective customer. More unusually these days, cold calling can also refer to calling face-to-face for the first time without an appointment at commercial premises or households.
Cold calling is an important stage and technique in the selling process. Cold calling abilities are also useful in many aspects of business and work communications outside of sales activities and the selling function.
The aspect of selling that strikes the greatest fear in people’s hearts is usually cold calls. A good way to make cold calls more appealing is to stop thinking of them as “cold” calls. Try thinking of them as “introductory” calls instead. All you’re trying to do is introduce yourself and your business to the prospect. Despite this, it’s still important to know how to prepare for a sales call.
It’s important to understand the purpose of introductory calls so you have a realistic attitude about this type of business development activity. Phone prospecting takes longer to pay off than other types of marketing efforts, so go into it knowing you’re exploring a new frontier and it’s going to take some time to get results. Here are some cold calling tips you’ll need to know.
1. Know your Prospects
Before you pick up the phone, do a general Google search on each prospect, their company and what they do. Find out as much as possible on each prospective client. In this way, you can strictly tailor your sales approach to the person you’re going to talk to. When you use a script for every call it can seem impersonal and people are more likely to hang up the phone.
To maneuver around this, create a general sales pitch template that you can easily personalize with specific details. If it seems that you’re just reading from a script, your chances of getting the sale are much lower. You should put in the front-end effort to research and better understand your prospects. Therefore, you’ll be able to form a more genuine connection.
- Research what business or industry the company is in.
- Find out why and how your product/service can help them.
- Communicate the added value that you will add to their business lives.
Aside from the generic Google search, utilize the many different technology-based platforms available to even better understand this new lead. Build a complete profile of your prospects by checking their social media presence, LinkedIn account, and online reviews, giving you great insight into what they share, in what they’re interested in and what service you could provide them with.
2. Collect the Information in the Right Way
After you’ve collected all the information on your prospect, it’s important to organize it in a useful and efficient manner.
Your success in sales depends a lot on how organized you keep client data. This often means having a contact management tool to compile all the information in one place. In such a way you have a good picture of your potential future clients.
Let’s say that while you’re on a call, the information you need just doesn’t come to your mind. You frantically start looking around to find that tiny piece of paper on which you wrote it. After huffing through your things, you can’t seem to find it anywhere and you’ve lost the sale in the process.
Organizing all your client and prospect information in one database helps you avoid these stressful situations. You can stay organized and be prepared for your cold calling endeavors.
3. Think about your Positioning
While you prepare your cold calling sales pitch, remember to put yourself in your prospects’ shoes. Doing this allows you to take some time to self-reflect and think about the reactions to your sales approach. We’ve all experienced being cold-called, and too often it comes off as overly assertive and the salesperson sounds like a faceless robot.
Take the time to “cold call” yourself, paying attention to how you come off. It is useful practicing how you would approach both bigger and smaller companies/clients. Taking this extra time to practice will help you form real relationships with the people on the other end of the line.
4. Prepare a Good Script
Having a script or template to base your calls on will help you stay on track and clearly convey your message. When you begin to write your script, start out with a strong presentation sentence clearly identifying yourself. Introducing yourself from the get go will keep people from immediately hanging up on you. Furthermore, your potential clients will enjoy having a name associated with your company or product
Second, ask if they’re available and if they have time to speak. Make it clear that you’re not going to waste their time and you call will only be a few minutes at most. Demonstrate respect for their time. Specifically, make it clear you appreciate them taking some time to help you get to know them better.
Once you’ve introduced yourself and expressed your appreciation, you can go ahead and communicate why you are calling and the services and value you’re going to bring them. But be careful not to sound like you think they’re doing something wrong, just mention how and why you think you could help them and make their lives better.
Provide a concrete example of what you have done for other companies and clients. This will help engage the prospect and allow them to have a better idea of how your product/service could be used.
Finally, just remember not to read the script verbatim. Engage in a real conversation and get to know who you’re talking to!
Practice is crucial to developing your skills in any field, and cold calling is no exception. Make trial calls with your colleagues, ask them to be the mean, difficult to deal with client and prepare yourself for the worst! Try to explore every possible answer to the weirdest questions from prospects. You have to be ready for anything once you pick up the phones and begin making calls.
Getting an overview of what could possibly happen in your cold calls will help you to figure out how to make them more successful.
6. Keep It Short
- Don’t overtalk. If you jump right into your sales pitch, your potential client’s first impression will be that you’re wasting their time.
- Draft your script to be short and sweet.
- Try to be as brief as possible in your first few sentences
Once the person expresses an interest in your product/service you can go deeper into your product details.
Remember that if you keep talking and talking, your prospect will stop paying attention. You should use your sentences wisely, keeping your information relevant!
With all the preparation you’ve done, you should be able to deliver your message accurately and efficiently, while keeping it tailored. Preparation is the key to making a successful cold call.
Read More: How to Master Cold Calling