Cold calling. For some salespeople, it’s their greatest ally: getting on the phone with a potential client is their passion, with the exciting possibility of a new deal on the horizon. Maybe they’ve got a sales call plan to hand, and a seasoned past of using their skills to engage with leads that are totally new to their business.
Ask other sales professionals, though, and they’ll tell a different story. Cold calling can feel grueling, unrewarding, frustrating, even exhausting. Some might call it archaic, lost in the rapid progress of the 21st Century. Others might say that with the rest of the tools in our arsenal, it’s being replaced by other methodologies out there today.
We shared 37 sales pro stats to up your skills recently, and while writing we pocketed some cold calling figures that might make for some sobering reading. According to Baylor University, “the average salesperson generates roughly one appointment or referral from every 209 cold calls”.
They also found that “about 72% of all cold calls don’t get through to a human being”, and InsideReview reports that “90% of CEOs say they never return cold calls or cold emails.”
So, maybe not the most empowering starting point, but don’t throw your phone in the trash too soon. Today we’re asking whether cold calling really is dead, or if it’s our approach that’s what needs to go. The TLDR: if you’re doing cold calling wrong, then sure, it might be time to prep the eulogy… but if you’re willing to switch it up, it might just be the equivalent of a paramedic visit instead.
Don’t Hang Up So Fast
It’s true, getting knocked back – or directed to voicemail – can be disheartening, but you might not be starting off on the right foot. Here are our top cold calling tips to get you off the ground, so that you’re doing it like you should be.
This means, on a call, making a point nice and succinctly. As cold calling has become increasingly viewed as a professional nuisance, the expectations of recipients have changed. Now those picking up feel they have less time than ever, often with more frustration built in. To cite the FTC, the Do Not Call Registry is now home to some 230 million+ registered phone numbers, in a trend that’s likely to continue. That means you’ll need to be more prepared than ever: find yourself a great, to-the-point opener, and bear in mind you might face some annoyed leads too.
Align With Your Marketing Team
The research out there shows that more and more of those leads you’ll be pitching to actually prefer to engage with businesses they’ve come across and ideally researched already. Hubspot shared that 60% of B2B buyers are only ready to talk to a salesperson once they’ve done their own research. That means cold calls are having to become as warm as possible, and communicating with your marketing team is the way to do it. Make sure that both sides are aware of the same goals, and the same strategy, and using a consistent tone of voice throughout.
Get Social, Fast
Social media is playing a bigger role in sales than ever before. Establishing your presence online, especially on rapidly-growing LinkedIn, will get you as visible as possible. A strong profile will increase the odds of leads stumbling across you prior to a call, or add needed validation to your credibility during or after the conversation. Investing in a Premium membership is well worth the commitment too.
Call at the Right Time
CallHippo has found that the best days to make a cold call are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The time of day matters too: old school sales lore said that it was best to call first thing in the day, when a lead hasn’t had the chance to become too distracted by the day’s commitments. Now, though, the evidence says otherwise: on those days of the week, the best times to call prospects are 4 to 5 pm, then 11 am to 12 pm. Think about it; when you start off first thing in the day, you’re most likely settling in, checking your emails, maybe trying to tackle a task from last night that overran… recognizing your own flow can help you appreciate the schedule of your leads.
If you’re after more tips for what to say in the call, we highly recommend this Gong article of 17 techniques to raise your cold calling game.
Don’t Forget Your Alternatives
It’s now accepted that cold calling really shouldn’t be your sole means of connecting with leads. Email, though, can be a helpful alternative that offers a lot less time, and tangible rejection, than getting on the phone. TextExpander’s ability to quickly populate your communications adds yet more speed to the process, letting you set templates your whole team can access then customize for initial conversations via email.
Hopefully, these tips have taken some of the headache out of cold calling for you. The long and the short? Be efficient, and don’t make cold calling the only way you are trying to reach out to potential clients. If you’re looking for more ways to boost your sales, check out our 43 motivational quotes for sales success.