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Cold calling has never been dead, it has only been modernized over the course of years. Traditional cold calling didn’t have the mounts of data that’s accessible to cold callers now.
From being a volume play, it has now evolved to being a research and data-heavy strategy. Nowadays, only with the latter two checks in place, callers proceed to make the dial.
Richard Smith, VP of Sales (EMEA) at Allego, says -
“With all of the amazing content that exists out there, a lot of people now have more of an understanding of how to make a good cold call. Whereas, when I was starting in sales, that kind of information wasn't freely accessible and I just didn't really know what I was doing when I was picking the phone up.”
Below is an excerpt from Richard Smith’s session on “How to Master the Art of the Perfect Cold Call for Today’s Prospects” as a part of our ‘Outbound for Dummies’ series.
We started this series to simplify the outbound sales process which can get a tad difficult at times. With the help of expert leaders and managers in outbound, we cover the topics and questions that are always running on your mind.
Beating the Fear
Cold calling goes against everything that we were ever told not to do as a young child. Don't talk to strangers, don't interrupt people, etc. That’s where the fear comes from.
You can get confident by making yourself more capable of handling something. The same mantra applies to cold calling. You need to implement a framework that lets you make the dial without any hiccups, get hold of strong scripts, and run through them.
Once you have a sure-shot method, things become less scarier.
How to Equip Your Sales Reps
Apart from giving them access to better data and automation, your sales reps need to understand what your audience is facing today.
As managers, you must sit down with your reps monthly and figure out if the messaging needs to be changed based on the evolving challenges. The pain points faced by the prospect 6 months ago, need not be the same in the present day.
This can be done by figuring out the top industry challenges and shifts faced by your ideal customers. If you fail to do this and don’t make tweaks to your messaging, you can be very close to facing rejection.
The Power of a Cold Calling Script
Scripts are a great way to get comfortable with cold calling and once you get comfortable, it becomes a part of your muscle memory. Soon, you’ll be using bits and pieces of your script and put your own spin on it.
An exercise that Richard recommends is, listing down 5 problems faced by the ICP you’re targeting. Next, you want to check where your product fits into the list. Circle those challenges and tie them into your script.
The key is to talk about the problems and not your product.
Here’s an example opener from Richard:
“Hey X, I've noticed some of my conversations with CROs over the past two weeks - a common theme that's coming to the surface that wasn't so much a problem, say, six months ago. And they're telling me that it's becoming harder and harder to win deals. There's more competition. Every deal counts now. It's more important now because they've got fewer deals in their pipeline. Just curious if that's something that's also on top of mind for you.”
The Need for Rapport Building
You can say you’ve successfully built a rapport when the receiver gets a feeling that you understand their emotions. On a cold call, you have a very small window to do that since you’re more of an interruption to someone when you’re making that call.
What you can do is, in the first 30 seconds, show that you recognize what they’re going through. You can do this by highlighting your conversations with similar ICPs who are facing the same issues.
Once you do this, the prospect will know you understand their world and aren’t just talking about something you don’t care about.
Read: 9 questions to build rapport with your prospects
Metrics to Look at
Some of the metrics to keep checking are your call connect rate, number of dispositions, and conversion ratio.
But you also have to be able to understand what's happening in your conversations with prospects. And that's not something that you can just retrieve using conversational intelligence data.
You have to listen to conversations to figure that out because the success of cold calling comes down to tonality, pacing, knowing when to ask specific questions, and when to stay silent.
Common Hurdles and How to Overcome Them
1. How to deal with gatekeepers
If you’re serious about making cold calling an effective channel, you need to stop wasting time with gatekeepers.
You can do this by investing in good-quality data that lets you connect with the right people directly.
2. How to be methodical with cold calling
A sales engagement platform (SEP) like Outplay helps your reps follow a line of pre-decided tasks and activities without feeling lost. With SEPs, you can automate your tasks, get real-time data, and focus on activities that actually matter - like cold calling!
3. How to implement a framework for success
As a sales manager, you need a good coaching mechanism to listen back to calls, pass feedback, and share calls that are leading to the most success in the team. You've got to build that motion of constant improvement, otherwise, they're going to be making far more mistakes.
You must have weekly one-on-ones with your sales reps, where you’re constantly looking at metrics to make sure everything’s going in the right direction. And set up regular team huddles where everyone shares their blockers, and achievements out loud and where managers can motivate the entire team.
Moreover, having weekly coaching sessions is vital to help your team understand the negatives and positives of their previous calls and collectively work toward helping each other get better at them.
4. How to move past objections
Sometimes what we believe to be an objection is actually the prospect just telling us the truth and the first line of defense. And so in that aspect, there’s nothing to overcome.
Richard has his own framework to face any and every objection. It’s called paua. Pause, acknowledge, understand, small ask. A ‘small ask’ gets the prospect to buy into what you’re trying to achieve. Which is not expecting them to make the big decision, but just to start a sales conversation.
Listen to real-life cold call recordings on Spotify!
5. How and when to put an end to your sequence
If you’re trying to reach out to a prospect across different channels and you still haven’t received a response after 6-7 follow-ups, Richard says it’s highly unlikely to hear anything from them.
Sales reps need to stop over-prospecting and circle back on the prospect after 6 months or so. You need to learn when to give up instead of chasing them with no respite.
If you want to listen to Richard’s entire session recording, you can click on the video below. Learn everything you need to know to see visible results from your next cold call.
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