Your company may be one where routine cold calls contribute to your business and keep new customers coming in. But when it comes to cold calls, your staff probably hears more “no” responses than “yes” when you’d like it to be the reverse. Whether you have an outbound call center or a single employee who focuses on cold calls, these tips can help improve your results.
Before You Start
If your company is one that turns to cold calls, chances are you have at least one person focused on doing just that. The process can easily become tedious for the employee calling out and this can hinder their interactions with other potential customers. Before you even make a call, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Throw out your script, or at least create one that is easily customizable. Every new person you call is different than the last, so why should the script stay the same? You want to create a relationship and a script can make doing so more difficult.
- If you can, do a little digging into the business and person you plan to speak with. Saying something different from what you’re pitching is a great way to establish rapport before you transition to the reason for your call. It also provides insight into how you should pitch.
- Be prepared to leave a voicemail. Be brief, pitch-free, and leave a contact number to be reached at (and repeat it back a second time) and your chances of a return call increase.
During the Call
Your personable approach needs to start right from the time someone picks up the phone. This is a conversation, not just a sales pitch. It’s been said before and it will be said again, “Don’t take no for answer.” This doesn’t mean you need to be pushy or too persistent, but it does mean you should try and work around what they’re objecting to you.
- From the time the person on the other end picks up the phone, you want to identify who you are. Let them know you’ll be quick on the line. Start the conversation off by relating to them or their business personally to peak their interest and move the conversation forward. If it doesn’t move forward, try to schedule in another time to call by saying something like, “I’d love to continue this conversation on when it works for you! When are you free to chat next?”
- Listen to the customer from start to finish. If they say “no” to what you propose, find out why that is and try to address any early questions or concerns.
- Stay focused on your customer’s success. This is about them, not about you. How can your program, service or product realistically benefit them? If your first few sentences got them to stay on the phone, you know that the topic is something they are interested in. Use it. Inform them, don’t sell them.
Ending the Call
As your call comes to a close, you may have gotten the sale, scheduled another time to talk or received a definitive “no.” What are the next steps? It depends on each call.
- If you got the sale, great! Follow up with the client in a few weeks. They bought because of you. Staying in touch can increase customer satisfaction and future word-of-mouth referrals.
- If you scheduled another time to talk, take notes about your initial conversation. Keep in mind the person’s interests, concerns and business for the next time you speak. It will show you were listening and are prepared.
- If you were given a definite “no,” keep in mind why that person said no. Their reason might change later on and they could be a potential client in the future with the addition of a new product, discounted rates, etc.
Being prepared and personable is a great way to start your calls. By remembering that your cold call is a conversation first and sales pitch second, you can create a connection with whomever you’re calling. Truly listening to potential customers can end the call on a positive note and result in a sale, scheduled appointment or at the very least, a potential customer for the future.