As Mark McCormack so clearly stated, “All things being equal, people will do business with a friend; all things being unequal, people will still do business with a friend.”
The key to successful cold calling is to expedite the journey from stranger, to acquaintance, to friend. Once the person on the other end of the line feels comfortable with you and confident in your interest in them, they will be far more likely to listen to your sales pitch.
Yes, speed is important when making cold calls – it doesn’t make sense to spend all of your time with an uninterested contact. However, spending a few extra moments to connect can substantially increase your conversion rate – resulting in far more closed deals.
To assist both you and your team in signing more clients, encourage your team to collaborate on how they can efficiently implement the following three activities into their prospecting routines:
1. Research prospects ahead of time
A few minutes of research before a cold call can make a world of difference. And, thanks to the vast amounts of information available on our laptops and smartphones, it’s never been easier.
Before making that next call, spend a few minutes to ensure that you understand the industry, company, and person that you will be engaging with. This is a surefire way to improve your closure rate.
Understand the industry
Hopefully you’re already familiar with the industries that your clients work in. If not, invest some time in learning the basics before reach out. Who are the primary players? What are the biggest hurdles? What events, activities, and seasons are most important?
Ideally you will work with multiple clients from the same industry, so this research should lessen over time as you become familiar with the market.
Either way, doing this research will certainly give you a way to connect with leads.
Review the company
Who’s the CEO? What’s the company’s back story? How well are they doing in their niche? Know the answers to these questions and you will warm up your cold call fast.
Being able to congratulate the individual on a product launch, success, or acquisition will immediately place you leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
To research a company quickly, do the following:
Review the company’s “About” page.
Visit the brand’s social media profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to see what they’re sharing.
Use Google News to find any recent company developments.
Research the person you’re contacting
As the quote at the beginning of the article stated, people buy from friends – so find a way to make the prospect your friend, and you’re golden. How do you do this? Visit their LinkedIn and try to find common connections, schools, past employers, etc..
Did the person just write an article or speak at a conference? Mention that and ask a follow up question! It’s amazing how easy it is to connect once you find the right angle.
2. Use the conversation to discuss the prospect and their needs
Cold calling isn’t just about closing deals. In fact, if you bring on the wrong client it can negatively impact your brand. So ultimately, cold calling is about determining and finding the right fit.
Like a first date, your goal isn’t to plan a wedding, it’s to explore whether or not the two of you are compatible.
How do you do this? By getting to know the needs, interests, and struggles of your prospect. Make the conversation about them, and two things will happen. First, you’ll discover if this person is right for your product. Second, you’ll learn how to present your service to the prospect in the most effective way possible.
Once you have a full understanding of what they need and why, you can help them develop a game plan to achieve their goals. But don’t make it all about your product! Suggest tips, complimentary services, and other valuable advice that can help them succeed – even if they don’t work with you right away.
You can keep track of these conversations with things like this email tracking tool to ensure that each interaction is focused on the other person and their needs – without repeating yourself.
By focusing on the other person, you will find it far easier to connect and, ultimately, make the sale. This is the best way to cold call.
3. End the conversation with a reason to follow up
When things don’t look promising with a prospect, you often have to resort to a last ditch effort to get them to reach out. Ideally, however, you can end your phone call with a reason for them to want to keep in touch.
How do you do this? Offer to send them a link to an article you just read, put them in touch with a conference planner looking for speakers, or find another valuable way to follow up by providing additional value.
Suddenly, the conversation isn’t just about your product, it’s about holistically improving their business – and your product is simply one valuable piece in the entire process.
Cold calling will never be easy, but there are certainly things that you can do to make it warmer – improving the odds of closing more deals.
So try the steps mentioned above, tweak them to your industry, and start making deeper connections, faster. Not only will it improve your bottom line, it can make your relationships richer as well.