In the age of emails, personalized video messages, and AI-generated sequences, the art of cold calling is an often neglected sales tactic. Digital communication is faster, easier, and besides, who answers the phone anymore anyway? But cold calling, despite being dreaded by most, is still an effective way to reach a prospect, set meetings, and, more importantly, establish connections with future customers.
Recently at SalesScreen, we held a head-to-head cold-calling competition between Harry and Vidar, two of our EMEA sellers. Because forcing them to cold call over 100 prospects each wasn't enough torture, we interviewed them to give us their tips and tricks for cold-calling success.
Cold Call Tip # 1: Just do it.
Cold calling can be daunting, which means for most sellers, it can fall to the bottom of the priority list of things to do, but Harry says, "It's the quickest way to speak to someone, and it's a great way to combine all the other tactics you're using while prospecting." If you have reached out to a prospect via LinkedIn and email with no response - cold calling is a great way to not only connect the dots for that prospect, but you’re more likely to get your answer immediately, meaning less time spent chasing after a prospect that isn't interested. Incorporate cold calling into your weekly tasks by blocking out an hour on your calendar a few times a week and getting down to business.
Cold Call Tip #2: If you fail to prepare, be prepared to fail
Calling anyone can be a flustering experience (calling my dentist gives me the same anxiety as diffusing a bomb), so it's crucial to be prepared with the main points you want to hit. Since cold calls usually only last a few minutes, you must make your limited time count. Start with a permission-based opener to give the person you're calling the opportunity to back out of the call before you go into your script. Then, once they agree to hear what you say, you can explain why you're calling and start digging into their challenges based on your research. Finally, remember to prepare for potential objections. Harry says, "I go into a call expecting to have at least two or three objections," make sure to incorporate the responses to the objections you might get into your script so you can reference them.
Cold Call Tip #3: Don't go in cold
The key to successful cold-calling is to stay focused on your objective (get a meeting, make a sale, etc.) and do your research. For a prospect, a cold call can be a nuisance in their day, so it's important to have a reason for calling. It can be easy for prospects that get cold outreach every day to feel like another name on a list - so be sure to have researched their company or industry - maybe they've recently put out a report you can reference, or they just recently got funding. Letting them know you understand their business goes a long way in establishing a meaningful connection. Additionally, Vidar suggests keeping the focus on the prospect, "Naturally, you need to tell a bit about what you're doing, but I try to be less focused on what we do and try to ask them questions to better understand their problems and get them more engaged."
Cold Call Tip #4: Don't be scared
Even though cold calling can be scary, Harry says, "At the end of the day, you're speaking with another human on the phone. 99% of people will be nice, so in reality, you're gonna have some nice conversations." Vidar agrees, "I was surprised at the outcome when I called people because they were actually quite polite. And I was a bit scared of going in there calling 100 people, but as Harry said, they're humans."
Cold Call Tip #5: Keep it competitive
Harry and Vidar agreed that making their cold calling tasks a competition helped push them to make more calls and book more meetings than if it was just another task on their to-do list. Vidar says, "Personally, I felt like I needed the push. It can be hard to do it on your own, but when you have someone in the same boat as you, that made it a lot easier." And, because we use our own product at SalesScreen, we have TV screens that keep the entire office up to date as the competition was happening. Harry said, "I didn't necessarily care about who won, although I didn't want to be too far behind Vidar. But it also got a bit of a buzz in the office because everyone knew we were having a competition, and people were wagering on who would win, which made it fun, too."