Cold calling can be tough to do but also represents a great opportunity to generate new business and reach out to potential customers. For those who struggle with this critical skill, there are some simple steps to improve the way you approach cold calling to ensure that you have greater success.
1. Remember that it’s not about you
Once you’ve opened up the conversation, stop talking about you, your business or why you’re calling. Instead, switch to asking questions of the person you’re speaking to. Client-centred selling requires a focus on the customer, their wants and needs, with a view to identifying how your product or service could address them.
2. Prepare your questions in advance…
When you’re cold calling it’s easy to waste time on unhelpful questions and you may lose your prospect by doing so. Take the time to work out thoughtful questions that each have a purpose in advance of making the call. Your questions should engage the person you’re speaking to and make them feel that taking the time to answer those questions is in their interest. Ask the questions in a logical order so that the conversation flows and try opening each question with a benefit, such as “if you could create the ideal circumstances for your business to thrive, what would you change?”
3. …But avoid a script
There is little more off-putting for a prospect receiving a cold call than to hear someone reading from a script. The most successful cold callers know that you have to engage your prospect quickly, establish a rapport and find a way to elicit information that feels personal to the individual. So, have questions ready but try to integrate them into the conversation, rather than using them to provide an inflexible structure.
4. Stay relaxed
Your prospect is much more likely to be open to your suggestions, and to volunteer essential information, if they are relaxed. So, it’s key to ensure that you keep the tone of the conversation friendly and open and don’t make the person on the other end of the phone feel anxious or tense. In particular, avoid aggressive selling, overwhelming them with information and not leaving any space for them to speak.
5. Focus on information gathering first and foremost
When you’re cold calling, your goal should be to find out about the prospect and establish a basic link. What are their pain points, what do they need and what kind of goals do they have? Take notes, listen and start building a genuine relationship that can progress to selling later.
6. Establish what the customer’s trigger is
If you obtain one piece of information from a cold call it should be to find out what will be the customer’s buying trigger. What would cause this customer to move to make a purchase and what might stop them? This is key information that will be instrumental in whether you’re eventually able to make a sale.
7. Don’t overwhelm your prospect
Keep the conversation simple, low key and lean. Avoid delivering so much pressure and information that your prospect feels totally overwhelmed and hangs up.
If cold calling is not one of your strengths there is an easy way to change that – our How to Be Great at Telephone Cold Calling half day course can help you to turn your skills around.