The Definitive Guide to Cold Calling

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When it comes to cold calling, you’ll find plenty of books that seem to think it takes 200 pages to properly capture the art. But just like an actual cold call, brevity is the soul of success. That isn’t to say longer calls don’t provide ample opportunity for closing, but it does mean you need a plan in place to encourage a targeted dialogue before the close. And the best part? You don’t need 200 pages to learn how to do so.

Whether an account or marketing executive, cold calling in software sales is a necessary tool to truly stand out and be a top performer

To assist with that, we’ve compiled all of the best cold calling tips into one Definitive Guide to Cold Calling. So let’s kick it off by starting with:

Understanding the Cold Call Data

Across the years, sales books have gathered numerous statistics on the efficacy of cold calling. They have addressed its decline in popularity from the dot-com era but also acknowledged its necessary place in today’s world of selling.

As it stands, sale conversions from solid leads round out to about 18%, with leads from referrals around 50%.[1] Cold calling is left with a seemingly paltry 2%.[2] Does that mean it’s a strategy that should be left in the past? Definitely not. But it does mean that the methods for successful cold calls are far more refined than simply dialing numbers all day long – even if persistence is still key here.

Let’s take a deeper look at some stats. 

  • More calls always increase conversion and contact rates. 
  • The 6th cold call attempt often reaches 93% of converted leads, and 50% of buyers could use a follow-up call.[3] 
  • 80% of sales generally require five follow-up calls.[4] 
  • When it comes to B2B sales, specifically, 57% of C-level executives prefer a phone call, as well as 51% of directors and 47% of managers.[5]
  • Right about half of all salespeople consider their phone to be their most effective tool, and cold calling continues to show its value as the most effective prospecting strategy – so much so that organizations who believed that cold calling is no longer effective experienced 42% less growth than those who did.[6]  It’s also important to note that 69% of modern shoppers accepted cold calls this past year, which, perhaps more than any other statistic mentioned, means it’s time to utilize[7]:

The Cold Call Cheat Sheet

With all the sales jargon out there, we can forget the fact that we’re simply looking for a human connection in every cold call. Having a cheat sheet to remind you of the basic courtesies of conversation ensures the most bookings over the long term. This all starts with four basic rules:

1) Prepare & Prospect Before the Call

To convert a cold lead into a warm lead, you need to know everything you can about who you’re calling in the first place. Do I know their interests? What is my objective? What are ten questions or pieces of information I can readily offer on my product? Am I calling at the best time?

To answer the last, based on 25,000 sales calls, weekday afternoons were found to be the best time.[8] It’s also important to keep a few other averages in mind, such as:

  • 22.5 dials bring about 1 meaningful conversation
  • 30 dials bring about 1 meaningful conversation for the IT, marketing, and senior executive
  • 3 meaningful conversations are needed for 1 appointment[9]

2) “How Have You Been?” & Voice Training

It’s easy to think because of that short window for a hook, you need to jump right into the pitch – but never underestimate the value of a friendly greeting. This particular question boasts a 10% success rate compared to a 1.5% baseline.[10] In that greeting, also avoid asking who you’re speaking to, whether it’s a good time to talk, and otherwise excusing yourself for the intrusion. Another thing to keep in mind here and throughout is voice training, or the three techniques to most be mindful of in conversation: pace, tone of voice, and volume.[11]

 

3) Start Proactively: Sell the Reason & Not the Exploration

After the pleasantries are exchanged, don’t be afraid to take charge. Know your pitch and why your product has an advantage, but also prepare for how to navigate the most common objections like:

  •   “Send me an email”
  •   “Can you call back later?”
  •   “I am going to have a meeting with our management on this; let’s talk next…”

Most prospects have a reason for taking a demo call. Often it’s to learn something new, see how they compare to other executives in their industry or evaluate if your product can solve a problem they have now.

If you learn these fundamental reasons, you’ll be able to sell the benefits of this instead of the exploration. 

 

4) Educate the Buyer & Lead the Conversation – Don’t Control It

84% of buyers complain about sellers who launch into a pitch too early without understanding what the prospect is actually looking for.[13] Also, if you jump the gun on the pitch without first understanding who you’re speaking to, you might get caught up with the gatekeeper rather than the decision-maker.

When pitching, every sentence needs to lead the listener to the next. You are a problem-solver and a consultant at the same time. The prospect should be educated on a product sequentially based on their own understanding, not yours. Ask open-ended sales motivation questions as you would in everyday dialogue, not yes or no questions to stagnate the flow of conversation.

Your goal is to guide them through the conversation, not controlling it to make it to the close faster.  

Dealing with Phone Anxieties & Managing Time Effectively

Those tips can help during a cold call, but only continued practice can help us overcome the fear of rejection. Success in cold-calling is found at the intersection of quality in quantity.

In that way, it’s a numbers game that takes time to master. “Some will, some won’t, so what.” We don’t take rejection personally – we set our insight towards learning something new on every call. With this 

It can be daunting to pick up the phone from time to time, however, the best way to get over anxiety in cold calling is through conversion. It reaffirms to you that this method can work, and you can do this. To that end, leverage technological tools to remove tedious tasks so that you aren’t wasting time between calls. Prepare and research to create a prospect list with more opportunities, and don’t let yourself get bogged down in a routine of reading a script like a robot. Keep a schedule that emphasizes impact and practice voicemails that entice a prospect’s attention.

 

Pulling it all Together

As with any skill, cold calling necessitates knowledge and experience, by combining these tips and tools, you will see your cold calls begin to build conversions. Combining an in-depth understanding of your product, including any caveats and nuances, as well as the experience of how best to navigate objections and manage your time efficiently. With this guide, we’re confident you can do both.

We hope you found this article helpful, and we can’t wait to hear how you implement it on future calls. For all things Tenbound, keep an eye out for our newsletter and check out our channel for more tips!

 

[1] Jay, A. (2022, January 14). 64 cold calling statistics you must learn: 2021/2022 Challenges & Data Analysis. Financesonline.com. Retrieved May 3, 2022, from https://financesonline.com/cold-calling-statistics/
[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid
[4] 05, J., 24, S., 11, M., & 22, F. (2022, March 4). 7 detailed cold calling tips, statistics, and ways to improve conversions. SalesIntel. Retrieved May 3, 2022, from https://salesintel.io/blog/7-detailed-cold-calling-tips-statistics-and-ways-to-improve-conversions/
[5] Ibid
[6] 64 Cold Calling Statistics – https://financesonline.com/cold-calling-statistics/
[7] Ibid
[8] 5 no-nonsense cold calling tips. Sales Assembly. (2022, February 11). Retrieved May 3, 2022, from https://www.salesassembly.com/cold-calling-tips/
[9] ZoomInfo. (n.d.). The B2B cold calling guide: The pipeline: ZoomInfo. Pipeline Blog. Retrieved May 3, 2022, from https://pipeline.zoominfo.com/sales/being-cool-to-cold-calling
[10] Gong.io/blog. (n.d.). Cold Call Guide. https://pages.gong.io/wp-content/uploads/Cold-Call-Guide.pdf?mkt_tok=MTg1LVZDUi02ODIAAAGD3fHm6fnDhjR98g3ZDNZvOkhlsEw5CF1VcCgObfxQuuVM6OJ2FiVBOQVk1nkQgF614wC_tEAgf2Fxnw4Rr76ImswKxvtBVjK-vkmgIEofOA
[11] Patel, S., Sujan Patel (2020, June 23). How to train a new salesperson on Cold calling. CloserIQ. Retrieved May 3, 2022, from https://www.closeriq.com/blog/2020/02/train-sales-reps-on-cold-calling/
[12] Holovnenko, A., Anastasiia Holovnenko – The Coolest Cold Calling Guide – Tips & Tricks That Work. Retrieved May 3, 2022, from https://www.cience.com/blog/cold-calling-guide
[13] 05, J., 24, S., 11, M., & 22, F. (2022, March 4). 7 detailed cold calling tips, statistics, and ways to improve conversions. SalesIntel. Retrieved May 3, 2022, from https://salesintel.io/blog/7-detailed-cold-calling-tips-statistics-and-ways-to-improve-conversions/

 

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