You purchased a list, and John Smith is now in your database. He has not, however, expressed to your company any interest in your products or services. As such, he falls into the category of “suspect.”
A call to John is cold.
And, understandably, whether they are the initiator or recipient of such a call, most people prefer not to engage in this activity. Luckily, today you can use LinkedIn to warm up the call and make the experience more pleasant and fruitful to both parties. Here are some tips to get started.
“Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder,” Mason Cooley, an American writer.
It’s September. We’re almost into the fourth quarter (Q4) and John, the Vice President of Sales, is in a mild panic. It’s not surprising. After all, time’s running out to meet his quota and sales are soft.
How did he get into this position?
When he arrived at work at the beginning of January, he was full of optimism for the New Year and ready to tackle the sales challenges. Ahead of him stretched twelve long months to make it all happen. Plenty of time to fill the pipeline, nurture leads and convert them into sales. Or so he thought.
It seems like this missing link is made of gold. What are these sales lead management teams doing that is multiplying the number of ready-to-buy prospects while cutting marketing costs?
But things didn’t work out that way.
Each month sales fell just a little short. And John thought he could tweak a few things to catch up. It didn’t work. Now, he’s about 5% down year to date. Making up those lost sales in the last quarter will require some heroics.
Does this sound familiar?
Too often glass-half-full leaders fail to take strong actions to get sales back on track until they’re up against the wall. Time, their friend at the beginning of the year, zips along and turns into their enemy. And, as Cooley noted so wisely, procrastination makes hard things become harder.
“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet,” said Bobby Unser, who is one of the ten drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 three or more times. His words not only apply to finishing first on a racetrack, but also to sales people who strive for first-place results in cold calling.
So, how do you prepare for success? Start with these cold calling tips.
You need to ensure you understand clearly your targeted customers’ profile—who they are, the markets they participate in and the issues they are likely to be facing. Why?
With company websites and social media, it’s easy to research and discover vital information about a company. For instance:
If you know that individual’s role and responsibilities, you can tailor your conversation to points (or specifics) that are relevant to them. For instance, operations managers are concerned about cost reduction while chief security officers tune into messages about risk reduction.
Don’t get on the phone until you know exactly what you want to accomplish. For instance, what information do you want to gather? What is the ideal outcome of the call?
For example, if you’re trying to set appointments for your salespeople, you need to gather enough information to ensure the customer meets your minimum requirements as a buyer for your product.
Also, consider a minimum objective. In the appointment setting scenario above, you know that you won’t achieve appointments with everyone to whom you speak. However, you can at least test a new value proposition.
Product success stories that relate to the prospect’s situation need to roll off the tip of your tongue. A memory bank of stories enables you to paint a picture of how your prospect can be successful using your product or service by comparing it to a real-life situation. While it’s fairly simple to put together product stories, doing so will set you apart from the majority of cold callers.
You have to believe in the value of your offering if you want your prospect to believe as well. So, make sure you have full confidence you’re offering something that can help the person you’re calling.
Use these cold calling tips to boost your success. Or, find out how 3D2B can help you with business to business cold calling, call +1 718-709-0900 or +39 06 978 446 60 (EMEA).
If you’re not getting results from your business-to-business telemarketing calls, it’s time to throw out the script. It might sound scary because your script is your crutch. It makes you feel completely comfortable that you’ll know exactly what to say when you get on the phone.
But while your crutch helps you walk more smoothly through the call, if you’re not succeeding, you’re walking in the wrong direction.
How can a perfectly crafted script lead to poor results?
Have you ever noticed that some tasks can be intimidating, but if you have a step-by-step, proven process, and you practice the task, the fear goes away and the tasks become easy? Well, cold calling is one of those tasks that many people fear. However, it’s still a powerful way of building business. So, rather than make excuses not to do it, find out how to do it well and practice your cold call techniques until you’re confident. Below are some tips to help build your confidence and your success rates.
“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”—Confucius
To conduct a successful cold call, you must first break the ice, and this takes preparation. It starts with researching the customer or prospect you’re calling, including their industry and market. This investigation helps you to assess their potential problems and determine how you might be able to help them with your product or service.
After the initial research, you should prepare a brief introduction of your company, in terms of how it can help person you’re calling. Also, create some questions that enable you to assess the prospect’s situation, problems and the implications of the issues they’re facing.
You’re a real person calling another real person. So, you don’t want your opening to sound like a robocall. Starting with a simple “Good morning Mr. Brown. How are you?” makes for a relaxed opening.
Let’s face it, there are often remarkable similarities between your company’s and your competitors’ offerings. So how do you differentiate your company and get attention? Statistics and storytelling are key to engagement and credibility. Provide the facts about problems your company has solved. It can surprise your audience, incite curiosity and spur conversation, especially if you use a story closely related to the problem your prospect faces.
So, know your company’s case studies inside out so you can naturally weave them into the conversation. However, while you do this, make sure you tailor the stories you tell to your prospect’s needs.
Goals are your landmarks on the roadmap to success. If you know the landmarks along the way, you’re much more likely to reach your destination. So, set a realistic goal for your call and make sure the focus is on helping the prospect. For example, make it a goal to learn about your prospect’s problems and develop a plan for the next step in helping them to solve the issues they’re facing. This step might be sending them a white paper and following up with a scheduled phone call. If you approach your goals in this prospect-friendly way, you’re more likely to be successful in the long term than if you focus on sales alone.
To solve a problem, you have to ask questions that enable you to define the issue and determine the best approach. For example, as a company that offers lead generation services, we want to understand the difficulties our prospects have with generating leads. We might ask:
If you aim your questions at helping the prospect and developing a solution, you will find it easier to develop a relationship with them that could eventually lead to a sale.
For most of the sales people, moving the sales process to the next phase of the sale is difficult. Again, since it’s all about the prospect, you can’t be pushy about the next steps. But since you’ve already outlined the problem and have the prospect’s attention, you can now move seamlessly into the solution. Clearly state the benefits of solving the problem, and how your product or solution can help. In other words, you’re demonstrating how the solution is crucial to your prospect’s job.
Once he understands that you’re helping to make him and his business more successful, ask which day and time are best for your next teleconference or for a salesperson to meet with him.
For a free consultation on how to use business-to-business telemarketing to boost your sales, call us now at +1 718-709-0900 (Americas) / +39 06-978446-60 (EMEA).