You've probably heard Winston Churchill's timeless advice "He who fails to plan is planning to fail." - Same principle applies to cold calling. I'm not talking about just reading through your generic cold call script and having a prospect list in front of you, I'm talking about preparing. your mindset, your plan, your knowledge, and your research.
If you expect your prospect to give you five minutes of their time out of the blue, don't you owe it to them to know something about them? The five hacks in this post are:
- Know your persona
- Have a strong opener
- Asking great questions
- Creating call blocks
- Planning for success
These are 5 of the most important steps you can take to prepare for cold calling whether you're a new inside sales rep or a veteran who can benefit from reviewing some best practices. Please read on, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Knowing Your Persona
If you don’t know what your prospect's persona cares about, blueprint (research) them to learn enough about them that your message will resonate. Some of this knowledge comes with experience and training materials like approaching the C-suite, benefits of your solution, and market knowledge. The more personal side of knowledge going into a call comes from research about the individual.
Hopefully you have a sales playbook with defined personas to provide a baseline knowledge of how to appeal to a fictional prospect with a certain title. For every title you encounter you should know how to approach them, what they care most about, what they value, if they are a decision maker, and more. If you don't have this defined today and are not collaborating across your team about best practices, you are likely leaving sales on the table. If you can possibly help it, don’t call blind or you are likely to waste a good lead.
For a more personal touch, find something relevant to them or their company specifically. This shows that you've done your homework, and invested enough time in them to hopefully convince them to invest a minute or two hearing you out. Examples of good "nuggets" to mention to a prospect may include:
- I saw an article about your company's big news...
- While scrolling through a LinkedIn group, I really liked your comment on...
- Congratulations on your (company's) recent award...
Having a Strong Opener
Would you talk to yourself if you heard your opening line?
Choose an opener that introduces who you are, then quickly piques your prospect’s interest. This can be accomplished with a bold statistic, provocative question, or piece of information about their business they may not know.
When cold calling, you often have less than 20 seconds to hook the prospect, and get them to ask for more information, or at least let you keep talking. If you're not a little impressed with your opener, keep looking for a stronger one.
Asking Great Questions
There is an art to asking questions that involves timing, understanding what information your prospect knows, the line of questioning you use, and the specific question questions you ask. Establishing BANT with questions like "what's your budget" may serve their purpose, but that's not a great question.
Great questions get the prospect to think differently or more deeply about a particular topic. This can come in the form of an attention grabbing claim such as "50% of your current customers...", or something that helps you learn more about them by getting them to talk about something they're passionate about. Finally, every call you make should have an expected call outcome, and a closing question you use to solidify next steps or ask for the sale.
Creating Call Blocks
If you want to sabotage an inside sales person, tell them to cold call when it's convenient or all-day-long, and prioritize responding to emails and administrative work over calling. The trick is to create call blocks that are 90 minutes to 2 hours depending on the rep to truly focus on cold calls.
Call blocks give reps the power to carve out time they dedicate to outbound calling. Stopping and starting cold calls is very disruptive to both the efficiency and effectiveness of the caller. Most cold callers will admit that their first few calls of the day are a little rusty, and they hit their stride after a few calls and get in the groove. If every call you make is a one-off, then every call you make is rusty.
On the other side of the magic 2-hour mark, you start to get burnout. A 4-hour call marathon is sure to fry anybody's brain, especially if you do it every day. It's important to take a break, catch up on the email and administrative tasks that got neglected during the call block, blueprint other leads, etc.
Planning for Success
One of the most overlooked success indicators for inside sales reps and cold callers is the use of dedicated time to plan. One of the fastest ways to become a more effective sales person is to spend 10-30 minutes at the end of every day planning your next day/week, and getting organized.
That makes sense, but everything's so hectic right now
Trust me, if everything is hectic right now, it's likely because you haven't dedicated enough time to planning, prioritizing, and organizing. Start now, thank me later when you're crushing your numbers and your weeks become less hectic.
Want to learn more about planning better for cold calls, allowing you to be more productive and efficient? Contact us today to learn how Sales Result can help you maximize your results and get the most out of your cold calling efforts.