9 Essential Cold Calling Tips
Most B2B sellers rely on their sales call to close a sale, so it’s important to know when the best time to call is to improve your conversion rate. Below we reveal the results of The Lead Response Management Study and how you can capitalise on their findings.
1. Morning calls should be made between 8-9am
Not only will the early morning call mean you’re likely the first pitch your lead hears that day, but you’re more likely to get through to the key decision maker straight away. As all salespeople know, getting blocked by the gatekeeper is a pain. Making a call at this time means you might be able to avoid them completely and start building a sales relationship with the right person immediately.
2. Afternoon calls should be made between 4-6pm
This time in the afternoon is the best time to catch leads when you need more time to qualify them. They often have finished their jobs for the day and are more likely to spare a bit of time for you to overcome objections on the phone and convert them into a qualified lead. According to an MIT study, this time is actually 114% more successful than the worse time block (lunchtime).
The worst time block…
Don’t call between 11am-2pm
All studies focused on successful sales calls have seen that the build-up to lunch and directly after are the worst times to contact a lead. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. Instead, spend this time doing your admin work and nurturing leads through email.
3. You should call blitz on Wednesday & Thursday
Monday’s and Friday’s have proven to be the worst days to contact your leads. In comparison, Wednesday and Thursday see a huge increase in qualified leads from sales calls. Seeing as the average sales rep spends only 22% of their time selling over the phone, it makes sense to capitalise on these days and use your Monday’s and Friday’s for other important tasks.
Double the number of target sales calls on Wednesday and Thursday and make it your ‘call blitz’ time of the week. This method is likely to triple the qualified leads you can expect on the other days combined together.
Of course, not all businesses are the same and you may actually find that different days or different times could still produce you good results. So test these methods and see which ones work best for you. To keep track, use GatorLeads to add notes about when your sales calls are reaching your leads effectively.
So you know the best time to make the call, but how can you make sure you make that sale?
A steady stream of sales isn’t enough for a budding company like yours. What you want is sales, sales, sales. You won’t be satisfied until the word loses all meaning from being said so much. So here are an additional 6 ways you can sell more:
4. Be proactive
Companies are bombarded with B2B offers every day, and it’s important to remember that. With a swamped inbox, your name won’t stay at the forefront of anyone’s mind for long. There are two solutions to this: be quirky and creative with your marketing campaigns, or seize opportunities fast. Follow up at the right time and show prospects that you’re still alive, kicking and relevant.
5. Be timely
At the same time, avoid bombarding companies yourself. Constant emails and phone calls will irritate potential clients and eventually lead to the dreaded “remove us from your list” response.
Whilst being quick and staying on the ball is important, being overly pushy will only damage your reputation and lose sales that might’ve gone smoothly otherwise. Keep yourself in the public eye, just don’t get too carried away.
6. Qualify out the timewasters
The thought of letting a contact slip through your fingers is enough to drive any salesperson mad, but sometimes it’s got to be done. If a prospect well and truly rejects your service and shows no signs of changing heart, it’s probably best to stop wasting everyone’s time. A forceful or overbearing salesperson is enough to turn anyone off of a deal.
7. Focus on the HOT leads
Converting a cold lead to a hot lead might make you feel good, but it takes time. You need to move on to warmer, more co-operative prospects, rather than staying stock-still trying to budge one cold lead. Sometimes you just need to let cold contacts thaw for a bit on their own. In the meantime, you stand a better chance of getting warm contacts hotter. One is better than none, as they always say.
8. Focus on your customer
As much as you might think it’s about you, it’s not. The more determined you are to believe that, the less successful your sales will be. Bending to the needs of your customer (within reason) is what will speed them through their buyer journey. The easier it is for them to say yes, the more likely they’re going to be to do it. The customer is always right, so make sure you’re giving the what you want.
9. Ooze confidence
Know your stuff! There are three main things that you need to be an expert in:
- Your prospective client’s company/product; know what they offer, who they are and where they are in the market. The more you know about them, the more dedicated they will think you are.
- What you have to offer; what do you have and how much do they need it? If you know enough about their company, this is probably an easy question for you. If it’s not, get researching!
- What the prospective client wants; how does that match up to what you’re offering? Maybe they haven’t considered your product yet – so why should they?
Salespeople. You either love them or you loathe them. For those of us in sales, we know what a tough job it can be when you get a prospect that judges you simply based on your job. But, if you’re showing any of these 7 deadly sins, you aren’t doing yourself any favours.
How to dodge the junk box
When you’ve tried calling a website lead that you KNOW is interested in your business. But they won’t pick up the phone. Or you can’t get past the receptionist. Or they’re out to lunch. Whatever the excuse, they’re not ready to listen to your sales pitch just yet. So you decide to email them instead.
Except your email goes straight through to the junk box and you never get a response. What do you do? Well, here are the 3 tactics our sales team used to close the deal.
Salesperson 1: “I left a voicemail”
Cold calling might be a dying art form (thank god), but phone calls are still an effective way to contact your leads. If they’re not picking up the phone, don’t hang up! Instead, leave a voicemail. How many emails do you get a day compared to voicemails? Exactly. They’re far more inclined to listen to a voicemail. And if it’s effective, they might even call you back.
Salesperson 2 “I used LinkedIn InMail”
The whole point of LinkedIn was to connect like-minded business professionals together. I don’t understand why more salespeople aren’t utilising this tool. Just like voicemails, we don’t get that many In Mails a day. If your message is personalised, direct and relevant, you’re more likely to get a response and the bonus is, you don’t have to worry about the junk box.
Salesperson 3 “I invited them out for coffee”
As a travelling salesperson, sometimes it’s easier to meet up with potential prospects, especially if I know they have shown buying behaviour on our website. When it comes to emailing them, I find writing a short email with the subject line “Can we meet for coffee?” works 9 times out of 10.
If you’re offering them something of value (and yes that includes your time to meet with them) then they tend to think you’re not just another salesperson looking to hit target for the month.
Those were the three tactics we employed to make sure our sales emails weren’t falling into the spam folder. We’re lucky, though. We also have the tools to help us know what the spam filters are picking up. But we just thought we’d share a few of these other methods with you first.
Do you have any ways to dodge the junk box yourself? We’d love to hear them!
Common Mistakes Salespeople make
Greed: Show me the money!
Sure, you’re a salesperson. Of course, you want to close as many deals as possible. But showing that all you care about is money doesn’t make a good impression. In fact, it implies that you don’t care about customer service. As a result, customers will steer clear of you. Don’t be greedy. Put the client first.
Wrath: The Interrogator
Don’t play “good cop, bad cop”. No one likes an interrogation, end of. This style on a sales call gets a clients guard up, which often means you’ve lost a deal before you have even begun. You want your prospect to open up to you, so try being the priest they confess to, not the cop they avoid.
Envy: Caught up with your competitors
Yes, you have competition. You and every other salesperson. Being catty or rude about the other company trying to achieve the same thing as you is immature and unattractive to any prospect. Rise above it. If your product truly is better than your competition, you don’t need to bad mouth the other business. Let your product speak for you.
Pride: Are you a Narcissist?
Yes, you can love your business and your product. It might just be the best out there, because, well, it just is! It’s so good, it does everything you need it to. The best price on the market, the best features. Ugh, it’s just so good. Don’t fall into the trap of boasting without selling. That’s not how you convince a prospect that you’re worth your weight in gold.
Lust: Faux Friendliness
Newsflash buddy, they know you’re a salesperson. They aren’t falling for the friendly act you are putting on. If you use your sales call as a chance to distract clients with chit-chat that isn’t relevant to the business or is considered creepy or cringy, they’re just going to get annoyed with you. So be friendly, but don’t go too far. Remember, it’s about business at the end of the day.
Gluttony: All the leads are mine!
Sales is a competitive market, we know. But rushing through calls to get to the next deal as fast as possible is never a good idea. One – you make your current lead feel like they are not your main priority, which may cause them to look elsewhere. Two – quality over quantity will always get you further in sales.
Sloth: I’m not prepared for this pitch
Laziness is the only thing you can blame for not preparing before a call. Ringing up a client that you know nothing about will show when you start discussions with them. Do your research and show it. You’ll be commended for going the extra mile because it’s always appreciated when a caller really puts the effort into their job.
Once you know the sins of the salesperson, you can work on atoning for them. After that, it’s about building an overperforming sales team the right way.
You might also find it useful to better understand how your company uses social media, which channel is best to work from?
Want more ways to improve your sales techniques? Download our whitepaper.
Looking for other sales related material, why not check out this whitepaper on the age-old sales vs marketing debate!