What do you do when you don’t have leads or prospects but you need to sell? You cold call, of course. Also known as prospecting or canvassing, cold calling involves contacting people who have not been pre-qualified as leads (warm calling).
Is cold calling effective? It’s hard to say. The very nature of cold calling means you won’t have as much success with selling, but if you don’t have any leads, sometimes it’s the next best option.
“Cold calling is a technique whereby a salesperson contacts individuals who have not previously expressed an interest in the products or services that are being offered, as opposed to warm calling. Cold calling typically refers to phone calls but can also involve drop-in visits, such as with door-to-door salespeople.” – Wikipedia
Cold calling is a lot like fishing in a large, open body of water – you know there are tons of fish in there to catch, but you also know that only a few (if any) will bite. Because of this knowledge, when you head to the water, you don’t go unprepared. You bring an assortment of plastic lures and jigs, a few varieties of live bait, maybe more than one pole for different types of fish you may catch. Serious fishermen might bring a net for large catches, tools like hook removers, pocket knives, and gloves.
Are you catching our drift? Because of the uncertainty of fishing, serious fisherman take time to prepare and increase their odds of success as much as possible. You can do the same when cold calling. Take time to prepare, know the right techniques to use, and you’ll begin selling more when cold calling. It really is that simple. Check out our tips for cold calling success below.
Is Cold Calling Effective or a Waste of Time?
Cold calling is only a waste of time if you’re doing it wrong. You can make cold calling effective by implementing some tried-and-true strategies and techniques that appeal to your prospects and get you past the 10-second mark (most prospects hang up around this time). Check them out!
Make cold calling effective when you mirror your prospect
Mirroring is a classic method of gaining someone’s approval and earning their trust. But how can you mirror someone that you’ve never met and have only spent a few seconds on the phone with? By listening carefully. How does your prospect answer the phone? In a rushed, hurried manner? Do they speak slowly and quietly? Do they sound happy? Mirror your prospect’s perceived attitude to make cold calling effective.
A woman answers the phone and sounds like she’s in a rush. She may sound a little out of breath when she says “Hello?” This indicates that you shouldn’t waste her time and that it’s appropriate to work quickly and put time limits on your conversation. “Hi! I’m calling from ___. I know you’re busy but if you have one minute to talk about updating your phone service by choosing one of our $19.99 plans, I’d love to share some info with you!”
Get past the 10 second mark by letting the prospect speak
If you’re doing all the talking, your odds of getting hung up on or rejected by the prospect increase. Instead, offer your initial “pitch,” making sure you end it with a positive question they can answer, and then let them speak. Getting your foot in the door is one of the most important parts of cold calling and it’s also the most difficult. If you can push past the 10 second mark, you can increase your odds of making a sale or landing a new lead.
“Hi! I’m calling from ___. I know you’re busy but if you have one minute to talk about updating your phone service, I’d love to share some info with you! If you don’t mind my asking, how much are you paying for phone service at the moment?”
“My phone bill is around $150.00/month right now but we’re happy with our plan. We’ve been with this company for 5 years.”
Now you’ve learned some new information about your prospect that you can use to your advantage. If you can beat the price she’s paying, you’ve found your way to get your foot in the door.