My manager, Blake Harber, recently wrote an article about the fallacy that many sales organizations now believe that cold calling is dead. In his article, he talks about how cold calling is still an important and effective way to get new prospects. Cold calling has gotten a bad reputation, but if you know what you’re doing, it doesn’t have to be so painful. Below are seven cold calling tips to warm up your cold calls. Try them out next time you’re calling outbound and see how much better your cold calls get.
1. Don’t go in cold
There is nothing worse than getting on the phone when you don’t have material to start a conversation. Just like you would in any other social meeting, you should seek to learn about the person with whom you are going to be talking. Look them up on LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social media platforms. Trust me, they won’t think it’s creepy that you know some of their hobbies — after all, they posted them online! Show genuine interest in what they love, and start to build a meaningful relationship.
2. Practice, practice, practice
Practice makes perfect. You can’t expect to get on a call never having practiced and nail it. Take every opportunity available to role play with co-workers, friends, and family. Ask for honest feedback from those you trust. Record yourself and see where you can improve. The more you practice, the easier it will be when it’s the real thing.
3. Be ready to take notes
Have a notepad, Google Doc, or CRM note space open and ready to jot down notes. Be prepared and not scrambling for somewhere to write. Remember, you are building a relationship with this person, and you want to remember what they said.
As Thomas Edison wisely noted, “We have but two ears and one mouth so that we may listen twice as much as we speak.” The call is not a chance for you to list all the things that are amazing about your product nor is it a chance to promote your agenda. You are calling because you want to help your customer. In order to do so,, you need to understand their needs, and the only way to gain that understanding is by listening. Ask one question and allow the other person to process and answer fully. Hit the mute button to keep yourself from talking if you must. You will be surprised at how much a person has to tell when you are more focused on what they are saying than on what you will say next.
5. Be interested
We can all tell when someone is truly interested in us versus when someone is only looking to gain something for themselves from a conversation. Show genuine interest in what the other person is saying. Ask meaningful follow-up questions that go beyond probing for qualifications. Be authentic as you connect with people, and they will begin to see you as a partner instead of a self-interested outsider.
6. Believe in your product
If you don’t believe in what you are presenting to a potential customer, chances are they aren’t going to believe in it either. Take time to understand the product you are selling and learn to love it. If you have a passion and enthusiasm for your product, it won’t feel like sales at all. Instead, you will be providing someone with a better product than they currently have and helping fulfill their needs. Value is built when you understand and believe in your product and can intelligently communicate that value to someone else.
7. Understand next steps
On our team, we have a clear cadence for next steps depending on what happens during a call. We build a Lucidchart diagram that shows exactly what the next steps should be during a call as well as proper steps to follow up after.
Even the best connections can go dark without proper follow up, so make it a priority to schedule times for follow up and do it! Be clear about what the next steps are so that you and your new connection feel comfortable moving forward. There you have it, seven ways to warm up your cold calls. Remember to go in prepared, listen with intent, and believe in what you are pitching. Cold calling is not dead, especially when you realize that no call is truly cold if you have the skills to turn up the heat.
About the author
Samantha Nielsen is in Account Development at Lucidchart. She focuses on providing Enterprise level solutions to industry leaders around the world. Samantha is a graduate of BYU’s Information Systems program and is passionate about technology and how it can be used to solve business needs. She enjoys meeting new people, delivering quality solutions, and cultivating business relationships.