Cold calling is a technique in which a salesperson contacts an individual who has not previously expressed interest in the products or services you are offering. It is an opportunity to acquaint a potential prospect with your company and an essential ingredient in B2B sales.
Many companies believe cold calling is a thing of the past and avoid using this strategy. But studies show that it’s still an effective technique for driving revenue. According to the Rain Group research, 82 percent of buyers accept meetings when salespeople reach out to them.
Travis Kalanick, the founder of the American technology company, Uber is one of the best testimonials for cold calling, having used this tactic to find his first few customers in 2009.
“I went to Google, typed in ‘San Francisco chauffeur’ or ‘San Francisco limousine’, I just filled out an Excel sheet, and I just started dialing for dollars,” he said. “The first ten guys I called, three of them hung up before I got a few words out, a few of them would listen for like 45 seconds and then hung up, and three of them said ‘I’m interested, let’s meet.’ And if you’re cold calling and three out of ten say ‘let’s meet’, you’ve got something.”
While advanced technologies such as caller ID and call blocking software have made the process of cold calling more challenging, relying solely on attracting new customers using a social media or email campaign won’t cut it in the B2B world.
Before we discuss the benefits it can offer your B2B business, here are some points to bear in mind when cold calling.
Research says that 42 percent of sales reps don’t have the right information before making a sales call. Rather than simply relying on luck, ensure you are aware of both your target market, the challenges facing buyers, and how your product or service is going to provide a solution to those challenges.
If you can help it, don’t start a call with “Hello, Mrs. Smith I’m calling from the ABCD Company and the reason for my call today is to introduce our products to you…” Instead of having a whole script prepared, remain relaxed, professional, engaging, and most importantly, personable. Generally, the more you are yourself, the better people will respond to you.
The purpose of cold calling is to increase sales, but no customer likes to be sold to. They like to buy because they choose to. Ask questions about what customers need (having carried out market research previously) and, if they are interested, talk through some of your products or services that might be able to meet those needs.
A lot of salespeople like to talk. But effective cold calling involves building rapport, asking intelligent questions, and then listening to the answers. Think of it as more like a dialogue and less like a monologue, with the end goal being to set up a sales meeting to answer any additional questions.
If you’re somewhat inexperienced in the realm of cold calling, you may not have mastered the art just yet. The prospect of phoning up someone you’ve never spoken to can be daunting, and you might find yourself feeling nervous as a result. But if you don’t have confidence in the products and services you’re selling, neither will your buyers, so it’s essential to sound confident even when you aren’t.
As effective as this sales technique can be, not every cold call is going to end in a sale. Statistics say that more than a quarter of all B2B sales cycles take seven months or more to close, so even if you have 10 unsuccessful calls before you make a sale, don’t give up. After all, you only get better with each attempt.
You can prepare and perfect your sales technique. But if a prospect isn’t interested in your product or service, you’re unlikely to make a sale. For this reason, the effectiveness of cold calling is often called into question. That being said, when done right, cold calling can offer many benefits to B2B businesses. Here are the most important ones.
When cold-calling prospects, there’s a chance that they either won’t answer your call or will hang up on you. It can be difficult to get an answer, but once you do, the communication is instant. While the end goal is to make a sale, the cold call is about having a conversation, so focus on nurturing leads and increasing brand awareness.
Having a chat with a potential B2B client is a great way to increase awareness of your product or service. But it’s also a really useful process in terms of feedback. Even a quick chat can reveal pain points about your business that you might not be aware of. If you take this feedback on board, you will be able to develop customer relationships and enhance customer experience. Being a good listener means you’ll also become a master of your craft.
Social media marketing and other forms of content marketing can be extremely effective parts of the B2B sales process, but they also require time, budget, and resources. Cold calling, on the other hand, is a very low-cost and simple method of acquiring quality well-researched data.
by Emma Gibbins | 17 Feb 22
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