In spite of the fact that in the past pushy salespeople and poorly trained marketers have tarnished the image of the phone, I still believe that smart cold calling is still a very useful lead generation tool.
Studies by leading marketing research firms like MarketingSherpa show that 92% of B2B buyers are open to cold calls if the salesperson is relevant.
However, to ensure success, cold-calling needs to be part of a holistic lead generation strategy.
How to Get Started Cold Calling the right way
To use phone calls as an effective lead generation strategy, I recommend you create a specialized sales development rep position within the sales or marketing group.
Make sure that your cold-calling connects to your other ongoing marketing and brand-building activities.
Prospecting must be smart, articulate, engaging and organized.
The phone is the human touch of your lead nurturing program, and thus every opportunity including cold calling to a potential customer should be treated with great respect.
Each time you pick up the phone, whether it be the first call or subsequent calls, it’s important to create value by giving your prospects useful information in digestible, bite-size chunks.
7 steps to improve your cold calling results.
Step 1: Sustain the calling.
Be in it for the long haul. Calling works best if it’s long-term and consistent.
And don’t pressure your prospects to make a decision on the first call because most calls will require lead nurturing.
Take your time and follow-up with more information. Listen to what they’re asking and if you don’t know the answer, let them know that and follow up again with them to provide them the answer
Step 2: Make every call count
You should never terminate a call upon hearing the targeted individual is not available. Each touch builds an impression.
Imagine taking the time to be helpful to the assistant or updating and verifying your database by working to share information for this source.
Always ask if there is an alternative decision-maker available as well.
Step 3: Throw away the scripts use call guides instead
Telemarketers use scripts. You should use sales development to use a call guide.
Why? Because scripts leave little room for conversation.
Call guides give you a clear outline to have a conversation and areas to be discussed and questions to be asked.
They must be built with flexibility and assume variable outcomes while still staying on message and promoting key relevancies to the customer.
Step 4: Respect Executive Assistants
Don’t view the EA as a barrier to initiating dialogue. Administrative assistants can occupy a significant place in the sphere of influence, not to mention the boss’s ear.
Don’t treat them as lesser and don’t be afraid to develop a relationship with people titled “assistant.”
Step 5: Always be relevant and über-informed
When you’re making a call, the worst thing you can do is to call someone and know nothing about them.
You must have a sound working knowledge of each potential customer and the company and most importantly, the issues they face and how your product can help solve them.
This personal interest goes a long way in establishing a meaningful dialogue.
You may also like Growing B2B Sales with Trust and Empathy
Step 6: Gain opt-in from each contact
When you are speaking with a prospect, it is proactive to request permission to e-mail following helpful information.
More often than not, the answer will be in the affirmative, which provides another building block for staying in touch.
Step 7: Always follow-up to nurture
It is crucial that you follow up in a way that is precise concerning promptness and relevancy toward your prospect’s needs.
Keep in mind when you follow up that you also need to ensure you do so in the manner requested. If they decline a follow-up phone call but ask you to email them then make certain you do so.
Teleprospecting is a much more rewarding way to reach out and initiate contact with prospective clients. By providing engaging and meaningful conversation, you are also building the bridge to a much longer relationship.
In sales, always think about building a bridge and taking another step toward a client/customer relationship.
Check out 7 prospecting rules that produce leads
You may also like this post by Mark Hunter on 10 Keys to Prospecting Success.