Cold calls are a mainstay of a typical sales day. When done well, they can win new clients and bring in big commissions. Done poorly, they are uncomfortable for everyone involved. By developing your technique, you learn to respond and adapt quickly to the circumstances of each call.
Create a Script
One of the easiest ways to take the pain out of cold calling is to write a script. When you get nervous during a call, it is easy to stumble over your words and forget what you intend to say. A script can help get you through the rough patches – and it helps you start the call in a professional manner. Write a different script for each of the most frequent types of cold calls you make, tailoring each document to the type of client or the industry. Read it out loud to verify that it flows smoothly, and tack it up next to your phone for easy access. If necessary, add in smaller filler words to make the script sound natural.
Limit Your Leads
Most sales professionals have a limited amount of time to dedicate to making cold calls. Ensure that you are using your time efficiently by paring down your leads to include only important decision makers. By reaching out to people who can make major purchasing decisions, you increase your chances for success. In doing so, you avoid wasting time on people with limited power. Maximize your time by expending extra efforts to qualify your leads in advance.
Many purchasing managers are bombarded by sales calls. During cold calls, cut through the crowd by emphasizing your existing connection to the company. Referrals are particularly powerful; by saying something like, "Mr. X referred me to you because he thought that you might benefit from our products," you create an instant sense of recognition. Use names that are likely to be familiar to the person on the other end of the call, and avoid overstating your relationship.
Be Polite and Friendly
You are likely to run into more than one gatekeeper when making cold calls. Increase your chances of success by staying polite, being genuinely friendly and demonstrating respect. Many executives depend heavily on their assistants, so they are unlikely to work with sales professionals who are dismissive or rude. A positive recommendation from a support staff member can go a long way. When you respect the gatekeeper's power, you are more likely to get through to the person who can make purchasing decisions.
Cold calls are an unavoidable part of a salesperson's day. When you start the process feeling prepared and confident, you are more likely to conduct professional and persuasive calls that get results.
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