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.