People say cold calling is daunting and dreadful. Young agents are running away from it. Just like going up to a stranger and striking up a conversation can be scary, so can be cold calling. That is why we are now turning towards other channels to reach out to the customers – emails, social media, inbound marketing and what not. There are other sureshot ways to succeed in inside sales, but does that mean cold calling is dead? The answer is NO. It is still very much useful and revenue generating. We just need to let go of our traditional approach to cold calling and make it adaptable to present times.
If the inside sales team puts in the same kind of effort in researching for cold calling that they put into other channels, it can create wonders. So, let us do away with the out-dated way of cold calling and enter into a new era of reaching out to the prospects. This can be done if we make sure to never commit any of the following cold calling mistakes while contacting the prospects.
#1 Not Realizing the Goal of the Call
What do you want to achieve out of the call? How do you want your prospect to feel after the call? What sort of commitment do you want your prospect to make? These are examples of some of the questions that an agent should preempt. It is very important for the agent to be clear on what they wantt to achieve out of the call. If there are uncertainties then, that will also reflect on her/his conversations with the prospect.
#2 Sending Literature when Not Required
When a prospect asks for more information, don’t jump the gun and bombard their inbox will all the literature you can get your hands on. Understand, just because they are asking about more information does not mean they are going to read all that literature. Usually, “Send me some more information” is a polite way of saying “I am not interested.” Be sure of the reasons your prospect is asking for more information. If their intention is to actually go through it then send it over by all means.
#3 Bad Phone Etiquettes
Just as we are conscious about our looks and mannerisms when meeting someone for the first time, the same rule applies in cold calling as well. Be on your best behaviour. Do not chew gum, have loud background music or talk to others while on call. All these are a big turn off. This makes the chances of having a productive conversation miniscule . Phone etiquettes are your means to create a good first impression. Don’t screw that up.
#4 Not Being Attentive
This stems out from the previous point about phone etiquettes. If you are distracted during the call, you might miss out on some important information. Prospects give you all the information you need. Only if you listen carefully. Unfortunately, we listen not to understand, but to reply. If one pays attention to what the prospect is saying, reading between the lines becomes easier.
#5 Scanty or Nonexistent Questioning
Questions are your tools to get all the vital information. Make sure you ask quality and relevant questions which give you an insight into the prospects’ needs and don’t irritate them. It is always better to categorize your question into “mandatory information” and “supporting information.” Make sure to ask all your mandatory questions. Also, do not forget, asking questions sends across the message of you beiong attentive to what the prospect is saying.
#6 Having Preconceived Notions
Do not project or impose your thoughts on the prospects. Sometimes, when an agent is tensed about a particular conversation, they interpret an “I am in a meeting” or “She can’t talk right now” as the prospect saying no. Agents usually tend to attach a negative connotation to any such response from either the prospect or a gatekeeper. Sometimes it’s better to take it at face value rather than projecting your fears on to the prospect.
#7 Inadequate Preparation
One can never be too prepared for a call. A research by Gartner has also highlighted the importance of gathering information about prospects from various medium.Don’t be that agent who is over confident about cracking any deal and close any prospect with their wit and charm. That isn’t bad, but being prepared along with it is cherry on the cake. On call, you will hardly get 10-20 seconds to grab the prospect’s attention and most probably, you won’t get a second chance. So don’t blow that up and make the most of it.
#8 Not Making Your Request Clear
This happens when your goal is not well defined or when you project your fear onto the prospect. Fear can make the agent conscious and in the process, not ask the prospect what they want. Similarly, unclear goals lead to getting wrong information. The agent might get information which isn’t relevant and of no use. Agents can prepare a script of all the questions and practice. If need be, they can also keep a “cheat sheet” to not forget important questions.
#9 Unnecessarily Creating Objections
You need to have a brilliant call opening. Because if you don’t, you will get the standard “I am not interested” reply. You will create unnecessary objections from the prospect. Having a good opening paired with content that prospects can relate to, will work wonders for you. Thorough research and preparation along with a script will increase your chances of converting the lead.
#10 Lead With Value Proposition (What is in it for me)
“WIIFM – What’s in it for me?” You need to lead with answering this question for the prospect. Please understand, no one is interested in anything that is of no value to them. You have to start with the value proposition. Only then you will have any chance of grabbing their attention or eventually closing the lead.
We started this discussion with the question, is cold calling dead? I think by now we have managed to establish the fact that even though it’s not dead, but, it requires some tweaking to be a success in today’s time. Cold calling is that invaluable tool which if used in the right way, will result in higher revenues and increased closure ratio.