It’s natural to have a certain amount of dread or even fear when making sales calls for new customer acquisition, especially when those are cold calls which the prospect has not solicited, and which might potentially be unwelcome. However, there are a few things to keep in mind which can help you be much more successful making sales calls.
After enjoying at least a moderate level of success with some of your cold calls, you may even begin to have increased confidence and become much more comfortable with making these kinds of calls.
Before Every Cold Call
One reason why you might be quickly rejected on a cold call is that you’re simply not prepared for it, and in fact, you might even be expecting rejection. It’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions before each cold call that you make, so you have a clear idea of your expectations from the call:
- What is the objective of this call? – You may be calling a prospect for the first time, and your goal may be no more than to establish some kind of rapport with them, and to learn about their needs and desires for future reference. On the other end of the spectrum, you may be hoping to actually encourage the purchase of some particular products which you have in mind, and which you feel might be a good fit for them. Then again, you might have neither of these two scenarios in mind but are instead hoping to obtain more prospects from the call so that you can follow up on them.
- What are the needs and desires of the prospect? – This is a critical question which will drive the tone and the nature of the entire call. Hopefully, you have already conducted adequate research, and have a good idea about these needs and desires, and you have something in mind which is a good fit for them. You need to align your prospect’s needs with your potential solutions.
- What is the next step? – All successful customer acquisition calls come about as a result of good research and preparation. Before you even make the call, give plenty of thought to what direction you should take with this particular prospect after having made the call. In other words, have a future direction in mind right now, and that will help guide your conversation with the prospect.
Tips for Cold Calling
While you’re actually making the call, keep these ideas in mind, so it will be a more fruitful experience for both you and the prospect:
- Tailor your script to the prospect – it’s a much better approach to focus your script on the prospect, rather than on any agenda you hope to achieve. Make sure the language you use is a reflection of that strategy because the cumulative effect of targeted words can create a very positive image, which stays in your prospect’s head long after the call.
- Offer your prospect value – even if the prospect has no need of a product that you are interested in selling, you should make a point of providing some other kind of value in its stead. This could be useful knowledge or insights that the prospect was unaware of, or it might be something educational. The point is to generate positive feelings toward you, which will increase the likelihood of a sale, now or in the future.
- Try to be convincing – the research which you’ve done on this particular prospect should help you in relating how your product or service is a good fit for their needs and desires. You have a head start by knowing at least part of the client’s background, so use that to your advantage.
- Make sure to listen – you do need to get across your sale points of course, but spend as much time as possible listening to what your client is saying. Not only will your prospect appreciate the fact that you’re trying to understand them, but listening carefully may also provide you with insights into their perspective which you can use.
- Be brief – don’t fall into the trap of long, meandering conversations, because you’ll lose your prospect long before you finish. Get your sales message across in as brief a period as you can, and then just start listening.
- Make use of emotion – if you can trigger elicit emotions from your prospect, especially very positive ones, it will probably lead to much greater engagement. You can do this through relevant storytelling, and sometimes through appropriate anecdotes.
- Believe in yourself – the next time you get cold feet before making a sales call, think about the real value provided by your product or service, and about the value, you are providing as an intermediary, by connecting up prospects’ needs with solutions to them.
Customer Acquisition Follow-up
Don’t be satisfied with the relief that comes when the call has ended, and the sales pitch pressure is off. If you learned anything valuable during the call which might be useful during future contacts, make sure to jot this down so that you can have some sense of accomplishment, even if no new customer acquisition was made. When the time comes around for that next follow-up contact with a prospect, you can demonstrate that you’ve taken a personal interest in them, by recalling the notes and impressions you formed during the last call.