Cold calling potential prospects can be frustrating and hard. Whether you are doing it in person or on the phone, it is your job to warm up a potential customer. 

This process can be exceedingly difficult, especially if you’re not used to it.

I’ve called many prospects, and I’ve learned how to make this process much easier.

Here are 7 cold calling tips to help improve your closing rate.

1. Focus all your questions on your client, not yourself

In your initial contact with the prospect, focus all your attention and your questions on the prospect. Don’t talk about who you are and what you do, or about your company.

Remember, it is about them, not about you. Client-centered selling is professional selling. You are only selling professionally when you are talking to your client about his or her wants and needs.

2. Plan your questions in advance

More information = more sales. In cold calling, the more information you can elicit, the easier it will be for you to qualify the prospect and then go on to make a sale.

This is where questioning is so important. Your questions should be thought out carefully in advance, and organized in a logical sequence from the most general to the most specific.

3. Don’t follow any cold calling scripts

Once you have a positive response from a prospect to your opening question, you then ask him questions about his business, his market, his budget and so on. Very often, people will give you all of this information in exchange for the benefit that you promised in your opening question.

To get the answers to these problems from your prospect, ask questions such as the ones in these scripts below:

  • “If you could magically eliminate three of your biggest problems in your business or market, what would they be?”
  • “If you could create the ideal situation for your business, what would you change?”
  • “I’d like to schedule a meeting with you in person to discuss your business needs and how my product will benefit you. How does Wednesday at 2 p.m. sound?”

Always remember, that cold calling and sales in general, should be very personal. You should focus on your customer’s needs as an individual on a case-by-case basis.

This is how you build relationships with you customers and have long sales relationships to come. Using cold-calling scripts can make the call feel less personal and this is something you want to avoid.

4. Don’t overwhelm the prospect during your first meeting

When you are “cold meeting” a prospect for the first time, a strategy is for you to “go in naked.” This means that, at the most, you should carry a simple folder rather than a briefcase full of brochures or samples.

If the prospect is interested and wants a presentation and more information, you can always go back to your car to get what you need and bring it in. But, when you go in without a briefcase, you lower the stress of initial sales resistance and cause the prospect to relax and open up to you sooner.

5. Don’t attempt to sell on your first cold call

On your first call, you should never attempt to sell. Focus on information gathering. Unless you are selling something inexpensive that requires little thought, you want to interview the prospect by asking questions. Take notes and tell them you will come back to them.

Focus on building the relationship and coming across as friendly, genial and nonthreatening.

6. Keep your prospect relaxed

The longer your prospect remains relaxed and the more he opens up to you, the more likely it is you will make the sale in the long run.

If you are cold calling on the phone, try my 100 Calls Technique. It will help you to relax and be much more personable on every one of your sales calls.

7. Find out exactly what benefit will cause your customer to buy from you

With each customer there is a key benefit that will trigger buying desire and cause the customer to purchase your product or service.

At the same time, there is a key fear or doubt that will hold the customer back from buying. Your initial job in your first cold call with your prospect, and the key to qualifying them, is to find out exactly what benefit will cause this customer to buy from you, and exactly what fear or doubt might hold this customer back from buying from you.

Bonus tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for more

Don’t be afraid to ask. “Ask” is the magic word for sales success.

You can even say, “Mr. Prospect, what we have found is that there is always a key benefit or major reason that a person would purchase our product or service. What might it be for you?”

If you are open, honest and genuine, and ask out of curiosity, you will be amazed at the answers you’ll hear. Prospects will ofter give you all the information that you need to make a sale.

The key for you is to ask.

Follow these 7 cold calling tips to help maximize your sales, generate better leads and create long-lasting relationships with your customers.

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