Yes, cold calling still works and its future is promising despite its dismal success rate of 1-3%. It may be natural to perceive cold calling irrelevant in the era of digitalization. However, according to ValueSelling Associates, for B2B sales executives, phone calls are the second most effective way to reach prospects after referrals. While these statistics prove the importance of cold calling in the lead generation process, it is true that at times, it becomes dreadful and overwhelming for both customers and sales executives.
As per the research by ValueSelling Associates and Selling Power, 48% of sales executives fear making cold calls. But, you can make cold calling work miraculously if you apply a few tweaks to its wear-out approach. 41% of respondents to Marc’s Wayshak study found phone calls to be their best sales tool!
Let’s explore how this is possible and how you can adapt the cold calling method to meet present-day customer expectations so that it becomes more productive for you and less intrusive for your prospects.
How to Make Cold Calling Relevant to Modern Times?
● Spend Time on Research
It would be a pleasant surprise to note that 71% of buyers want sales executives to contact them when they’re looking for solutions to their pain points. Now, you would say that it is in sharp contrast to what we just said about cold calls being intrusive to customers. Cold calls become intrusive only when you are calling the wrong prospects. If you spend time researching your customers, their unique pain points, and how your product can solve for them, the same intrusive cold call becomes the most welcoming call to a prospect who may eventually become your loyal customer!
● Aim to Have a Meaningful Conversation
Every cold caller has a script to follow. While this script is helpful, strict adherence to it prevents the possibility of having a meaningful conversation which is essential to building a certain rapport and trust. You can have an engaging conversation with your prospect by being a bit personal, friendly, and genuinely interested in their needs and problems.
Once your prospects feel comfortable, they open up about their business challenges and you have the opportunity to engage them in a meaningful conversation that focuses more on solving their pain points than selling your product!
● Hold that Meaningful Conversation Longer
Keep in mind that cold calling is not about selling the product right away. But, it is about making a prospect genuinely interested in your product. You need to hold that meaningful conversation a bit longer to gauge the prospect’s level of interest in the conversation. One way of holding it longer is making some confident small talk. As per LinkedIn, the longer the cold calls, the more the possibility of an actual meeting.
Once there is a certain level of trust, you should immediately offer something that proves your genuine interest in solving their problems. This can be any free resource or free information that may attract them to your product.
● Develop a Suitable Call Schedule
Timing is a very crucial factor in making cold calls. One of the reasons why they have earned a bad reputation is because of their timing. There cannot be any one-size-fits-all kind of solution to this challenge, for example, Wednesday and Thursdays may work for one prospect, but may not work for others. That is where a bit of research and trial and error method comes into the picture. You need to find out the most suitable time when your prospects are relatively free and receptive to hearing about a new product.
● Leave Effective Voicemails
Your prospects may be busy when you call them or they were not attentive enough to notice the call. Also, as per a recent survey, 87% of prospects said that they don’t pick up calls from unknown numbers. In this situation, letting go of the prospect would mean the loss of an opportunity. And, calling relentlessly may get you blocked! Voicemail is the perfect solution to this problem. You can keep the voicemail message between 20 to 30 seconds with your name, company name, the reason for calling, and your phone number. Chances of getting a call back are higher in this kind of communication.
● Make Rejection an Ally and Learn From It
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned sales executive, rejection always hurts even if it is an integral part of a sales job. However, you may make it your biggest ally and learn from it. For example, when your prospects reject your offer, politely asking them their reason for the rejection may give you insights into your selling method or value proposition.
Also, you require a certain script to make a cold call. Many times, your offer gets rejected at a certain point in the script you are using. When this happens repetitively, you can analyze this pattern and change it to improve your success rate.
A B2B sale is essentially a long and tedious process. And, if you manually manage your database and processes, it would be too time-consuming, erroneous, and costlier. You can leverage advanced technology to automate processes such as scheduling follow-ups, dialing numbers, updating the database, and sending messages to make cold calling more effective.
It is convenient to see cold calling as an outdated marketing strategy. But, it can never be outdated as it involves human connection that is the heart of a sales job. With a few tweaks that we discussed here, you can make it more relevant to modern sensibilities, sensitivities, and expectations.