8 MIN READ
9 Cold Calling Best Practices to Enhance Sales Success
Written by Chris Crosby
Published on January 5, 2021
Cold calling takes courage. Contacting people who haven’t shown any interest in your company’s products and services is never easy. You have no idea whether they are interested in what you have to offer or not. And neither can you be sure of the reception.
Cold calling is an essential aspect of selling, although it’s not the most desirable way of contacting leads and prospects. It is still useful, especially when you consider that 75% of buyers don’t want face-to-face conversations.
To improve your chances of generating sales opportunities through cold calling, you need to know what you are doing. Here are some tips on how to increase your success rate when communicating with buyers this way:
1. Call at the Right Time
When you make a cold call, you interrupt your leads’ lives just by contacting them. If you catch them at the wrong time, you are less likely to get the response that you want. So, when do you have the best chance of getting a positive reaction when cold calling?
Research shows that the best time to call your leads is between 8 and 9 am and between 4 and 5 pm their local time. The worst time to cold call is during the lunch hour of 1 to 2 pm.
And you would be in an even better position to get positive responses if you call on a Wednesday or Thursday. Calling on a Friday would be a bad idea.
2. You Need To Make Plenty of Calls to Create Sales Opportunities
You need to be prepared to make many calls to reach your prospect. On average, you will need to make eight calls just to establish that first contact.
So, be prepared to persist. If you give up quickly, you may end up losing out on a sales opportunity that could have been yours with a little bit of patience and effort on your part.
3. Be Prepared For Rejection
Rejection is part and parcel of cold calling. Only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment. That implies that 98% of cold calling attempts are not successful.
This should not discourage you, though. You should, instead, use this information to track your progress. If you are getting appointments at a higher rate, you are doing far better than the average salesperson. And if you are not, you know that you need to work harder to attain average rates.
But most importantly, knowing that only two percent of cold calls result in an appointment can help you deal with rejection. You should be aware that you are not alone and thus should not be discouraged. It puts everything in perspective and enables you to have a realistic view of how cold calls tend to be.
4. Don’t Be Pushy
What kind of tone and language do you use when making your cold calls to your leads? You need to bear in mind that cold calls are unsolicited calls. Nobody asked you to make them. So, you should be careful about how you express yourself to the people that you are calling.
If there is one thing you shouldn’t be, it’s pushy. Studies show that pushy sales tactics will deter 84% of potential buyers. Instead, learn to pay attention to your prospects’ needs and try to be helpful.
Offer them value for their time. You can do this by trying to show your buyers how your product or service can help them solve their problems. Always remember that it’s not about you, but the buyers.
5. Get Straight To the Point and Keep Talking
Even though you should not be pushy when cold calling, you should not beat around the bush either. You have only so much time to grab your prospect’s attention and keep them interested.
The average duration of a successful cold call is about 5 minutes and 50 seconds. If you can keep a buyer engaged for that long, you will be able to make progress. During that time, you should talk about 55% of the time and as if your life depends on it. As a sales rep, you should own that conversation. You need to convince your potential customers to give you an appointment.
6. Press All Your Buyers’ Hot Buttons
How well do you know your buyers? Around 40% of sales reps don’t feel they have the right information about buyers before making a sales call. It may explain why only 13% of customers believe that salespeople understand their needs.
Don’t be that sales rep that has no idea what buyers want. Ignorance is not bliss in this case. If you have no idea of what your leads need and want, your lack of knowledge will show. And you won’t get that appointment you need to try to present your product or service. Then your cold calling attempts will be in vain.
You need to approach your cold calls as you would a battle. You should arm yourself with enough information to be able to press all your buyers’ hot buttons. This may involve researching as many as 15 different sources to find the information you need concerning your prospects.
It will be worth it, though. When you ask questions about your buyers’ pain points and goals, you are more likely to experience sales success.
So, use the information that you have gotten by dealing with existing customers and through active listening when cold calling to press all your buyers’ hot buttons. It makes them feel as if someone understands their problems. And it also positions you as a trustworthy expert worth listening to.
7. Call the Right Person
If you are not reaching buyers, then it’s likely you are calling the wrong people. For example, did you know that 90% of C-level executives never respond to cold calls or emails?
It could be that you have the right B2B client, but the person that you are calling is the wrong one. Or you may be cold calling the right person at the wrong stage of their buying process. After all, the average firm has anywhere from 6 to 10 people who make buying decisions.
Therefore, you should try to cold call the right person. If you feel you have the right target business client but the wrong contact, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Try to ask for the details of the relevant decision-makers. The worst they can do is to say no. But they may surprise you by giving you the information you need to make a successful cold call.
8. Use a Sales Script but Adapt It to Suit Your Needs
You don’t have to remember all the relevant information that you should pass to buyers when cold calling them. Always have a sales script with you to guide your sales activities.
Sales scripts are meant to help sales reps know what to say. But a well-trained salesperson will learn how to say things in a way that ensures they don’t sound robotic.
It’s all about adapting the script to suit each prospect’s unique needs without forgetting the company protocols. The script will ensure that all relevant questions are asked within the first cold call. And they also help you know how to handle objections when they arise.
9. Automate and Track Your Cold Calls
What if you cold call the people on your list and nobody picks up? This happens a lot more than you think. The reality is that the average sales rep leaves 70 voicemails each day. And there is no guarantee that the people at the other end of the line will call you back.
For this reason, it pays to automate and track your cold calls where you can. Then you can know who needs an additional nudge and who is ready to be moved to the next step. This will enable you to see who you need to call again.
Thanks to technology, cold calling can now be automated. There are plenty of cold calling automation software tools you can use to make your work easier. So, it pays to embrace technology.
Cold calling is a numbers game. But it is also an art form. The more people you call and make an excellent first impression on, the more likely you will generate sales opportunities and close deals. If you implement the above best practices, your success rate is expected to increase. But software tools like the HubSpot CRM can also help you improve the quality of your leads. That, in turn, also enhances further your chances of making your cold calls a success.