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Mastering the art of cold calling to close more sales

If you are in sales, it is likely that you have heard of cold calling and its potential negative connotations. Regardless of its reputation, this sales technique has a long history and proven success. In this article, we bring some clarity on what cold calling is and provide you with the pros and cons of this sales technique. We then move on to some essential tips to ensure that you maximise the output of your cold calling and close the deal.

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An introduction to cold calling

Cold calling can lead to successful sales; however, most sales teams find this technique difficult. The section below sheds some light on what cold calling is and what the advantages and pitfalls are of this somewhat traditional sales technique.

What is cold calling?

Cold calling is a sales technique that consists in making contact with prospects who you have no existing relationship with. The term cold calling was initially used for phone calls, but it can also apply to in-person contact.

This sales technique is challenging but it can open avenues of communication with prospects who cannot be reached using with other techniques. An initial contact with a prospect may lead to further discussion or at least creates the beginning of a relationship.

The pros and cons of cold calling

As with other sales techniques, there are pros and cons to cold calling, which are covered in the section below.

The pros of cold calling

Cold calling has many advantages, particularly in a B2B environment. It may not sound appealing but it is a sales technique that allows sales representatives to reach new potential customers. Here are the advantages of this method:

Creating awareness and building relationships

By reaching out to new people, you create new relationships. In some cases, the prospect might not even be fully aware of their needs. Through a cold call, they can realise the value of the product or solution offered and see benefits in it.

Receiving qualitative feedback

The technique is also an opportunity to receive feedback on the products and services sold. It might lead to tweaking the solution sold so that it is more adapted to a specific audience. Through the cold call conversation, sales representative can get qualitative data from their prospect.

A cost-effective way to sell

Although the conversion rate of cold calling might not be high, it still remains a cost-effective way to sell. It can be done anywhere, at various times and only costs the time of the resource making the call.

The cons of cold calling

Cold calling is not always well perceived. The sales technique presents some pitfalls. It may be intrusive or not bring the expected results.

A somewhat intrusive approach

Receiving an unexpected call from a persistent salesperson during a busy day can feel quite intrusive. Prospects may not be interested or you might have caught them at a bad time.

Sporadic results

The results of cold calling are not consistent. There is no guarantee that a full day of calls will result in at least one sale. This might present a risk to the business conducting the cold calls as they might be better off using their resources for other tasks.

A sluggish approach to reach a large pool of prospects

The sales strategy addresses prospects one by one, so it is a sluggish approach. In contrast, the pool of prospects to reach out to is large. In other words, this sales technique takes time to address a wide audience making the work tiresome.

Nine tips for effective cold calling

There are some dos and don’ts when it comes to cold calling. The section below provides you with some essential tips and guidance to increase your sales rate.

Make sure that you call at a suitable time

This point is important. To ensure that you call your prospect at the most appropriate time, think about their priorities. What does their day look like? If this is not considered, it is likely that the sales representative will not manage to reach their interlocutor or that they will catch them at a time when they are not attentive. For example, don’t ring a prospect on a Friday afternoon. It is likely that they have a lot to wrap up before starting their weekend.

Do your preliminary research

Understanding your audience will ensure that you use the right tone, words and arguments during your pitch. Doing preliminary work might sound time consuming but will increase the results. By knowing essential information about your prospect, you can tailor your speech and focus on their needs. This will make the conversation more impactful.

Don’t improvise; have a script but do not read

Preparing a script is part of the preparation work necessary for effective cold calling. Your script should have all the necessary information about the solution that you want to sell. It should also include details in case the prospect wants to know more. Try to prepare for any situation by highlighting the steps of your call and how to react when facing rejection.

Don’t be put off by rejection

Rejection during cold calling is frequent. Don’t be put off by it. Take the prospect’s objections in a positive way. By doing so, you might be able to turn the conversation around. Be prepared to answer comments on the price, the fact that there is no need or that the prospect is using another supplier.

Don’t try too hard to sell

Chances are that if you are too ‘salesy’, it will be reflected in how you speak. Don’t try too hard to sell, be confident on the solution that you are putting forward and focus on the prospect’s needs rather than the product. Use the conversation to ask questions and tailor your responses instead of starting a sales pitch.

Create an engaging conversation

If you are passionate about your product, it is likely that you can talk about it for hours. Don’t get caught in a monologue during cold calling. Instead, engage with the prospect by creating a conversation. Asking questions is a good way to engage with the prospect.

Focus on the prospect’s needs

Focusing on the needs of the prospect that you are calling is much more effective than pitching your solution. Dig deep and try to understand how your solutions can benefit the audience. What problem will it solve for them? How will it make their life easier? The benefits might change from one prospect to the other, hence the importance of doing your research first.

Practice patience and perseverance

For this sales technique, patience and perseverance are key. Without them, it is likely that the sales representative will become discouraged. Prospects tend to say no before they say yes. Be perseverant. It takes time to build trust and this is your first contact with your prospective customer.

Stay relaxed throughout

If you are nervous, it is likely that your interlocutor will feel it. Stay relaxed throughout the conversation while remaining formal. By doing so, you create a serene environment where your prospect is more likely to open up. Keep the conversation simple and short and if there is an interest, schedule some time for a longer conversation.

Cold calling doesn’t have to be feared by sales representatives; instead, use it as an opportunity to learn about your audience. Tweak your strategy as you evolve and learn what works and what doesn’t. For more tips on how to grow your business, take a look at the following content:

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