Cold calling can be called one of the most difficult ways to sell. The main task of the manager is to arouse the interest of the interlocutor, keep his attention, overcome the objection and lead to the main idea, directly related to the need to purchase a specific service or product. To succeed in this area, you should carefully study the main mistakes of sellers, as well as the rules for conducting a dialogue with a potential client.
1. What is cold calling in simple terms
Cold calls (English «cold calls») — this is one of the tools of direct sales, allowing in the process of dialogue with the client to arouse his interest in a service or product. The main goal of a cold call is to close a deal, even if the client was not going to buy or sell anything at the moment. But, without experience, it is extremely difficult to achieve such a result.
A cold call is complicated by the fact that the interlocutor does not expect him and is not fully ready for the conversation. He can go about his business, relax, is in the hospital or driving. Therefore, the manager must first of all determine the most convenient time for a conversation with a potential client. Having created such conditions, it is much easier for the seller to arouse interest in a product or service.
These calls are called “cold” because the seller needs to “warm up” the client, interest him, arouse a desire to continue the conversation and, as a result, purchase the goods. Many people are frankly annoyed by such calls. But, they are quite effective if the manager has the necessary set of sales techniques.
2. Main goals
During a conversation with a potential client, the manager should set himself the following goals:
- Determine needs. Not every dialogue ends with a sale, but some potential customers will still be interested in the company’s services or products. In the future, it will be much easier to negotiate with such interlocutors;
- Collection of data to form a commercial offer. This means that the manager can get information from the interlocutor about which particular characteristics of the product, terms and price are acceptable for him in order to choose the most profitable option;
- Identify the weaknesses of competitors. At this stage of the conversation, the manager should figure out what exactly the client is not satisfied with in the work of the competitor’s company, and should also determine ways to resolve the dissatisfaction that has arisen;
- Get the attention of the decision maker (DM). Secretaries of most companies do not prefer or are forbidden to transfer calls to decision makers. But, the manager must make every effort to generate interest and get the necessary contacts;
- Carrying out marketing research. First of all, this is the definition of the expectations of the target audience, as well as its needs.
3. Stages of cold calling
To call the database as efficiently as possible, you should adhere to the following dialogue scheme:
- Collection of information. Before calling, you need to have a formed customer base on hand. The manager must know the basic needs of the potential buyer. For example, if a company sells spare parts for cars, this product will be in demand among organizations involved in car repairs.
- Prepare scripts. This is a dialogue script with possible customer responses. This also includes an objection, as well as options for responding to them. The thoroughness of preparation directly depends on how complex the product is;
- Negotiating with the company secretary. The first thing to do at this stage is to ask the secretary to give contacts or connect with the decision maker, since the manager has an important conversation with him. If a refusal is received, one of the options to call the decision maker is to call after hours, as the manager is often late in the office and can independently answer the call;
- Greetings. It is important to identify points of contact here. If done successfully, starting a dialogue will help determine the success of the dialogue. Having quickly felt the mood of a potential client, the manager has a chance to quickly establish contact with him;
- Determine needs. To do this, the client needs to ask leading questions during the conversation, it should also be supported in a favorable tone, and products or services are offered unobtrusively;
- Presentation. Here it is important to know the main advantages of the offered services or goods. The manager must give convincing arguments, taking into account the results of the research and reliable characteristics of the product;
- Fight objections. Almost every client doubts whether he needs the offered services or goods, since at the moment he was not going to purchase anything. In order for a manager to successfully overcome such an objection, it is necessary to carefully write out possible failure scenarios and develop effective counterarguments;
- Commercial offer and coordination of a personal meeting. This step should only be included in the conversation outline if the product itself requires it. Some products can only be sold more effectively if their performance and key benefits can be demonstrated in action;
- Target action or closing a deal. At this stage, the manager needs to obtain the necessary contacts from the client, as well as agree with him on sending a commercial offer and further continuation of the dialogue to agree on all the subtleties of the transaction;
- Completion of the dialogue. Regardless of what the outcome will be, the interlocutor should be thanked for taking the time to mention that in the future, the manager would like to cooperate with the client.
4. Effective cold calling techniques
Throughout the existence of cold calling as a method of direct sales, many techniques have been identified, but almost all of them are based on 7 principles. The basis is the interest of the interlocutor. If the attention of a potential client can be captured in less than one minute of communication, there is a high probability that the call will be successful. If this does not happen, even the most profitable offer for the client will not bring any results.
The 7 basic principles of effective calling are:
- The first and one of the main principles of cold calling is not to impersonate. To arouse trust and interest on the part of the interlocutor, the dialogue must be introduced in such a way that it seems as simple and natural as possible. One of the “traitorous” identifiers that potential customers immediately identify is getting too detailed information from the manager from the first seconds about themselves and the company. The effect will be exacerbated if the conversation is carried out in a monotonous manner. To succeed and use this principle effectively, the manager should imagine that he is talking with his friend and simply recommending to him a product that he would buy himself.
- Each of the calls must be entered into the contact database. In addition, they should be distributed, taking into account the results of the conversation, indicating progress and the result obtained.
- main goals. In the process of communicating with a potential client, it is necessary to keep in mind the ultimate goal, this is an agreement on a meeting or obtaining the contact of a decision maker. If the client and the manager have an empty dialogue, as a result, he will bring nothing but wasted time.
- Since we are talking about cold calls, the interlocutor is not interested in the dialogue initially. The main mistake most managers make is to believe that the service or product they are selling is the best on the market, so they will be able to sell themselves or there will be a queue for them. But this is far from true. Without trust and effectively conducted sales dialogue, there will be no sales. To make sure of this, the manager can call the customers on the database and offer his product or service, but at a price below the market, this can be done in order to conduct research that will show the lack of customer growth, which sometimes comes as a shock to the managers themselves.
- Do not try to sell a product or service right away. In almost 99% of cases, it is impossible to achieve sales at the first call due to the lack of interest on the part of the interlocutor. In order to achieve results, there must be some information occasion for a constructive dialogue. For this, a potential client can be invited to an exhibition or conference where a specific product will be present.
- Reveal a portrait of the target audience. The manager is unlikely to achieve any success in the call if he does not know who the main client is. To solve this issue, you should first collect the base, and then check whether the selected people are really interested in such goods and services.
- Don’t be afraid of mistakes. If a manager is afraid of making mistakes, he is doomed to fail. He will be able to gain the necessary experience only after a huge amount of trial and error. As a result, the specialist will be able to determine an effective sales scheme and apply it based on the specifics of the product or service.
5. Pros and cons
The main benefits of cold calling include:
- the ability to quickly achieve a positive result (Approximately after 2-3 calls to the customer base);
- compared to banner and contextual advertising, the cost of leads is low;
- after the first calls are made, the manager will be able to understand what needs to be improved in the service or goods in order to increase the number of potential customers and, accordingly, sales;
- to start, it is enough to prepare professional scripts and recruit specialists;
- the ability to quickly adapt to changes in the niche, taking into account its features. You can work through all the scripts within one day.
Cold calling can be considered a fairly effective direct sales technology, but far from being the easiest. It is mainly used in the B2B scheme.
The main disadvantages of cold calling are:
- to achieve results, you should constantly adapt to the market by working through scripts;
- the need to build an up-to-date customer base. If you need it urgently, you can buy it for money or use special software tools to collect it. But, in any case, in the future it will have to be segmented, driven and filtered by customer lists;
- the method of cold cold calling will be effective until the moment when managers call potential customers. If you stop doing this, there will be no meetings, sales and customers;
- it is difficult to find enough good specialists. If this is an experienced employee, his services will be quite expensive. At the same time, it is worth considering that for an effective startup, 1-2 runs through the client base are enough. But, the results on an ongoing basis will carry over runs at least 4-5 times.
6. Tips for making calls more efficient
There are several useful techniques that will help to significantly increase the number of sales, namely:
- Do not strictly adhere to the prepared scenario. During the conversation, the principles and approaches should be adjusted depending on the mood and personality type of the potential client. If you follow a well-prepared text, the interlocutor will notice this almost immediately, which will cause interest in such a dialogue to disappear.
- It is necessary to communicate with the client in a living language. Only in this way the manager will be able to achieve attention, and then without any problems get to the stage of product or service presentation.
- During the conversation, the client should feel that he is in charge. One of the most common mistakes novice managers make is taking too much time to present themselves, the product, and the company. To avoid problems, you should concentrate on the client, you should get to know him better, and also identify the main pains.
- It is important to call the interlocutor by name. Thus, the manager more effectively establishes contact with a potential client and creates a favorable environment for a conversation based on trust.
- Running the dialogue in your head will help you deal with objections more effectively. To do this, the manager needs to try to break the conversation into several stages in order to remember each of them. You should say a few sentences to yourself, since this is where the dialogue will begin. Also, do not forget about the logic in the text, you should make sure that each phrase is in its place.
Cold calling is one of the most difficult sales techniques, but effective to this day, if the manager knows the basic rules for conducting a dialogue with a potential client and knows how to apply the necessary techniques in practice. One of the main keys to success is well-designed scripts, taking into account market and industry trends. It is also especially important to understand the main pains of customers and conduct research to determine the target audience. Gaining experience, the manager adapts to each client, taking into account his pains, interests and character.