7 Tips to Great Cold Calls – Sales Calls

No phone call is more intimidating for inexperienced sales people than the cold sales calls to a prospect unfamiliar with them or their company. A salesperson always hopes for the best reception when punching in phone numbers for sales calls. Sometimes, however, salespeople must motivate themselves into a spirit of unflinching bravado so they can break through the impatient, curt or dismissive tones that can come from any lead being contacted out of the blue.

To make that opening sales call go as smoothly as possible, here are seven tips.

1.       Research Sales Calls Thoroughly

Find out everything about the prospect: his position, its demands, his company environment and his business needs. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to anticipate the prospect’s concerns, limits and goals. Research Design solutions for the prospect’s most pressing issues and needs ahead of time, so there are no awkward pauses while you think or have to look something up.

2.       Sell to an Easy Target First

Practice may not always make perfect, but it can boost your chances of success significantly and remind you of what an effective salesperson you are. Test your pitch by contacting a current client and selling him something new, or simply practice your sales pitch with a relative, friend or peer sales associate.  If none of the above is possible, sell to the mirror with a recorder running so you can review and make adjustments. Would you buy from yourself? If not, adjust your energy, your tone, and your words.

 3.       Make Initial Contact Informally

Take the edge off that first phone call by establishing initial contact with a prospect in an indirect way before making the call. These days there are so many digital tools to find and reach leads. Use email, social media private messages or invitations, texts, or even an old-fashioned post card to introduce yourself and let the prospect know you’ll be calling him very soon to discuss how your products and services can improve his business.

Be sure to address the prospect by name and even include a link to your business website. Feel free to preview any discount or bonus you might later offer.

When you make your sales calls, reference your earlier messages as an entry into the conversations with your prospects.

4.       Use a Script

Great conversations often happen spontaneously. However, on cold calls, the impromptu pitch can be a disaster unless it is well rehearsed. Plus, you can forget your best selling points if you are nervous or the conversation meanders too much. That’s why it pays to create and follow a script. It helps you to stay in control and navigate a certain conversational path that will hopefully lead to a close.

One of the most important parts of a script is the opening statement. It can win or lose a prospect in seconds. Click the link immediately above to find out more, I cannot do the subject justice with just a few lines, and Entrepreneur does a good job with it.

5.       Personalize the Pitch

Even though you’ll be well rehearsed with an excellent pitch, you don’t want to sound like it. Scripts are guides – not crutches, and competent sales people deviate to respond to comments and questions from prospects, creating a fluid conversation.

The best way to personalize the pitch is to incorporate data gleaned from tip #1: research. Comment on recent mentions in the media. Talk about a just-released annual report. Let them know you have taken a keen interest in them and their business.

6.       Schmooze the Secretary

Most business executives have a first line of defense against cold callers: the secretary, the assistant, or the switchboard operator.  Be warm, friendly and never demanding with this person or any person you’re switched to as you are vetted. Practice your skills of persuasion by trying to win these people over so that they will feel delighted and on a personal mission to help you speak with their boss. Make them internal “coaches” that facilitate an appointment or meeting, not actively try to block you because you are pushy or obnoxious.

7.       Earn Another Conversation

In practice, few B2B transactions are closed during a cold call, except perhaps for simple products or commodities such as office supplies.

As such, the end goal should be to establish enough rapport to get a commitment for a face-to-face meeting, or at least a conference call or videoconference where a presentation can really take place. And there is where the close happens for most B2B transactions, not on the cold call.

 Use these seven sales call strategies the next time you have to work a cold lead list, and watch your results improve. Back this knowledge up with some formal sales training, and you can’t help but become a sales success!





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