People love to ask, “Is Cold Calling Dead?” It’s probably for the controversy effect more than anything, right? My answer (like all great consultants) is, “It depends.” Marketing has come a long way indeed to ensure our brand is recognized before the call. Maybe content has been consumed, landing pages visited, social posts engaged. But if they’ve never talked to us before, is it still cold? Nah, let’s call that warm.
Not all companies are as fortunate. Start-up sellers may not have marketing support and the customer’s first impression is the first call. Even if they may recognize a little something from LinkedIn, it’s not enough to call it warm. Marketing tells us it takes at least 4 touches to actually leave an impression, and 6-8 to get to the point of purchasing.
But can we be honest for a second? Sellers don’t give a damn. An outbound call to someone who isn’t expecting the call feels cold. Frigid below-zero kind of cold to today’s sellers. Why? Most of them haven’t grown up using the phone. My kid was shocked to learn his phone dialed out. “What!? It’s not just for texting!?”
Your millennial sales force wants to email and send LinkedIn messages. I know this because I get 30 a day. Want to differentiate? Immediately…
Ban the spam and get on the phone!
New to “cold” calling? Here are some tips to help the water feel a bit warmer:
- You’re immediately differentiating yourself by calling vs. emailing. This is a very good thing. I get 30 messages a day and about one voicemail per week.
- It will take about six calls for you to get a hold of most of your prospects and most sellers give up after two. This is the game, my friends, do NOT give up. Do NOT take it personally. Cheerfully make your tally mark and know you are one call closer to a sale. Remember from above that it takes 6-8 touches to buy? Each time you leave a message it’s a touch. Sales is math.
- Yes, leave a voicemail! About every two days is great. No voicemail = no touch. You’ve made the dial but forgotten the return. Read more about voicemails that actually get returned here.
- Intersperse written messages. Use your outreach tool to help you send a series of voicemails, emails, and social messages over a period of 2-6 weeks. Close enough to be recognized from the last touch but not so close to being considered a stalker. You and your sales leaders can determine this.
- Design your outreach cadence based on client potential. If you’re doing account-based marketing and this is a top prospect, you’re going to touch more often and for longer. We recommend A, B, C, D lead qualifications. Read more on that here.
OK, now let’s move from strategy to psychology.
How do I beat cold call rejection? Rejection sucks. Be very clear that cold call dodging is not rejection! Imagine a stranger calling you just to tell you that they don’t want to talk with you anymore. Um, OK. I’m cool with that. Feels different if it’s your best friend or your brother, right? Now THAT is rejection. They know you. They don’t like you. Ouch.
A stranger saying they have no time, they’re not interested, or simply launching a call is not rejection. It’s a busy life. They don’t know your name, your company, your face, or your annoying habits yet. 🙂 It’s called call dodging, not YOU dodging.
Let’s also focus on sales as a helping profession. I recommend you spend a good four hours immersed in customer testimonials and case studies before picking up the phone for the first time. Learn why people love your product and your company. Learn about the problems you’ve solved and the situations you’ve bailed them out of at work! Your job is to find people struggling with these situations and save them. Your job is to educate them on a solution. What would they do without you? What if they don’t even know a solution exists!? What if they’re searching for a solution right now and are about to make a big mistake!? I want you to really dig in and picture this scenario and then picture this stranger thanking you for helping them. See it clearly and then see it every time before you pick up the phone.
In a cold call rut? Try picturing your best friend next time you hit “send.” Get a smile on your face and really imagine it. Your entire energy will change and you’ll be shocked how you’ll come off better.
Need more cold call inspiration? I want you to imagine that this outbound calling job is actually your business degree. Hell, your MBA program. Your job on every single call is to learn something about their business, their industry, their company, and their job role. It’s called genuine curiosity my friends, and nobody displays it in sales anymore. Be fascinated. Be inspired. Seek to truly learn and grow. Your prospect will be so flattered and surprised, you’ll learn everything you need to know to qualify or uncover a need. You may even find your future perfect job situation!
Finally, a few skills to help. The most important skills to turn dials into actual leads or opportunities are:
- Voicemails. Yeah, we covered this before. If you leave 10-15 voicemails a day using our techniques, you’ll get at least 2 returned. That’s 10 conversations a week. Folks, that’s like a bonus day of the week. You get 6 days to hit your goal while everyone else gets five.
- Call Introductions. 90% of them suck. Yeah, sorry about that. If you’ve not spent a few hours training and perfecting your intro, it probably sounds like your value prop and is about 10 seconds too long. Learn the SWIIFT℠ Intro that perks their ear and gets them talking. You’ll be shocked at how many conversations happen instead of rejections.
- Overcoming the Brush-Off. Even with a better intro, you’ll get some brush-offs. Remember, this isn’t rejection – they don’t even know you! Most of us either hang up or answer it like an objection, and that’s wrong. How do you overcome “I don’t have time” or overcome “I’m not interested?” By moving around it.
- A Better Value Prop. If marketing wrote it for you, it won’t work in phone sales. Sorry marketing. Value props need to answer who you are and why they care in a way that your grandmother could understand. The best ones use “The rule of three” to get their brain accidentally picturing your services.
In summary, no matter the temperature of your outbound calls, when you make them a game, adjust your mindset, and layer in some skills, then you and your team can harness the incredible power that most of your competition has left behind. Sure, it’s easier to pop an email but remember:
“Nobody ever bought anything over email.”
Choose to be in sales instead of marketing. Pick up the phone and have some fun!