Cold calling is often perceived as a negative selling technique in lead generation. For one reason or another, it doesn’t seem to be as glamorous as other forms of selling because businesses often associate cold calling to smile and dial, high pressure selling.
What we sometimes forget however is that the first call is always a cold call. As a result, sales professionals need to get the most out of the first call to further qualify the lead.
Based on our experience in lead generation, here are our tips and techniques for B2B cold calling.
Know who you’re calling
Prior to sales professionals picking up the phone, they should be somewhat familiar with the business they are calling. It is true that the purpose of the first call is to uncover interest and fact find, but sales professionals still need to do some research and preparation.
Prospects will be able to quickly determine if the caller on the other end of the line is knowledgeable. Therefore sellers do not want to start the conversation by asking questions where the answers can easily be found on the prospects’ website. Sales professionals will quickly lose credibility and decrease the chances of converting the prospect into a closed sale.
So that sales professionals can spend time on the phone uncovering a prospects’ need or interest, sales needs to do their homework. By going to the prospects’ website, Facebook or Twitter page, sales can gather information in order to tighten the sales pitch.
Using this information enables sales to tailor the questions they ask to gather the most relevant information. Doing this will help sales professionals come off as the experts quickly building trust and rapport with the prospect and again, increase the chances of converting the call into closed business.
Be the expert
It is imperative for sales professionals to understand business products, the benefits they provide and the solutions they offer. It is also important for sales to be the expert in the industry in order to discuss how the business offering can help solve the challenges prospects are facing.
When sales can accurately answer any question a prospect might have, they have an easier time building rapport. When sales professionals build rapport with prospects, they are more open to hearing the business proposal.
Part of being an industry expert is not only the knowledge you possess but also the confidence you portray. This means speaking with confidence. If you are saying a lot of ‘uh’s and ‘um’s chances are you are giving the impression as though you may not know what you are talking about. When sales professionals come to the call unprepared and not speaking confidently, they will quickly find themselves losing the prospect’s attention.
If you don’t know the answer, say so, tell the prospect that you are not certain, but will find out and set a time to call them back with the correct answer. This will also help show the integrity of not only the business but also you as the sales professional.
Ouch, that hurt!
B2B sales experts know they can’t just simply ask prospects if they would be interested in buying and expect to close every sale. To get prospects to feel the need to purchase sales teams need to uncover ‘pain’ points for prospects to admit that they have an issue that they need to solve.
Luckily they have your sales person on the phone to help walk them through finding a solution. This will lead to better phone conversations with the prospect discussing the challenges of their organization. They are thinking about the issues they are facing and are now starting to visualize doing business with you.
In order to uncover prospect pain, sales professionals must ask probing questions. Doing proper research and being knowledgeable in the industry will give sales a good point of reference when determining which questions to ask.
With this knowledge, typically sales professionals are able to share issues other businesses in the industry have had and see if they have experienced the same problems. This also shows that your organization is already doing business with others in the industry which may persuade them to want to do business with you as well.
When cold calling, sales professionals need to determine if the business offering matches the prospects needs. In order to do this, sales needs to research the prospects’ organization, become knowledgeable in the industry and uncover pain by asking probing questions.
Doing so will not only help build trust and show credibility, but may also push prospects to start doing business with you.