What is Cold Calling? – The Ultimate Guide

What is Cold Calling
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Cold calling is the one term that every sales rep dreads. It is extremely challenging as you are pitching in your product or service to a complete stranger. As per the stats, 1 – 2% of buyers agree to a meeting after they receive a cold call and on average, it takes 8 cold calls for the sales rep to connect with their prospects.

Typically, an average cold caller makes 52 calls per day but 42% of them have no prior knowledge or research on the prospects before they make a call.

Is cold calling dead then? The answer to the question is a big “No”.

If the results are not that impressive, then why every business is still using this archaic practice. They wouldn’t be spending their day in and day out dialing hundreds of cold leads if they don’t find value in them.

While cold calling can be tough and demanding, it has its own advantages. For one, it strikes a personal connection with the prospects, and you can get immediate feedback on the calls you make. It is one of the successful strategies that can keep your sales engine alive and kicking.

Research from Crunchbase shows that businesses that do not use cold call tactics are potentially missing out on 42% of their revenue than those who used this tactic.

Let’s dive in and explore what is cold calling, why every sales team leverages it and some of the cold calling techniques you can follow to maximize conversions.

What is cold calling?

Cold calling typically refers to a method sales professionals follow to get in touch with their untouched leads over the phone to sales pitch their products or services. It’s referred to as “cold” because the sales team never had any prior contact with the prospect and is connecting with them for the first time. The prospects neither know you nor did they ever heard about your product or service.

For any outbound sales team, cold calling is one of the many steps on the road to building potential sales opportunities. A successful cold call creates the first best impression about your company, introduces them to your product or service, and apprehends if there are any feasibilities to converting them into your customers. Though cold calls typically refer to making calls over the phone, they involve in-person visits and door-to-door selling.

Cold calls Vs Warm calls: What’s the difference?

Not every outbound call you make falls under the category of cold calling. There is a fine line that differentiates the outbound calls you make every day to connect with your prospects.

Cold Calls – When you attempt to make a connection with a prospect over a call with whom you have had no prior contact, it is cold calling.

Warm Calls – When your prospects have already expressed interest in your product or service in any form and you nurture them further to convert them into your potential buyers, it is referred to as a warm calling. They may not be your potential hot buy but just expressed their interest to know more. For example, users who have downloaded the case studies on your website or prospects who clicked on your paid ads and shared their contact details.

Hot Calls – In contrast to warm calls, hot calling is when you know that the prospect is on the verge of making the purchase and just needs a final nudge to make it happen. For example, prospects referred by your existing customers, warm leads on your sales pipeline who replied back to your mail, or call saying “you are the best solution we have been looking for.”

Benefits of Cold Calling

No matter what your perceptions about the cold calling are, we can deny the fact that it definitely is beneficial for any business. It is a powerful strategy to acquire customers, especially when you are just starting off. Let’s check out what other benefits this robust strategy can bring to your business,

Identify your target audience

Plausibly one of the greatest benefits of cold calling is that it aids you in finding out your target audience. If you want to make the first good impression on your call, you should take some effort to understand your prospects’ pain point and prepare a customized questionnaire before getting on a call. Based on their response, you could decide on which prospects to target the most.

Gain Market Insights

Cold calling paves way for the betterment of your product/services. You connect with hundreds of prospects every day and talk about the different challenges they are facing every day and what are the tactics or services they use to overcome them. If they are already using the solutions offered by your competitors, you could try and get insights about their products or services.

The information you collect from the prospects helps you analyze the current market trends, and challenges your prospects are facing. It helps you to take considerable measures to build robust solutions for their problems.

Master your sales skills

Cold calling is an art that only the cold callers master. It takes considerable effort and training to hone cold calling skills and abilities. One of the tried and tested ways to achieve them is by creating a solid and customized cold calling script and sales pitch for your product or service.

It’s about how confident and comfortable you feel when you connect with your professional and experienced prospects and gather as much information about their business as you can. This will aid in aligning your sales pitches and strategies and present your value propositions in a better and more compelling way.

Double up your conversions

Cold calling sets you up for success with higher conversion rates. Unlike the cold emails that majorly end up in the spam folder, successful cold calls break through the clutter and capture the attention of the prospects. You could pique their interest, approve/disapprove leads, track down the contact details of the decision-makers, or schedule a demo with the prospects and takes a step closer to the sales.

Cost-effective and hassle-free

Cold calling is easier to get started with and can be done from any part of the world. The only investment that you are going to spend is to buy a state-of-the-art sales CRM you need to automate your cold calls. With the sales engagement tools offering predictive dialers, VoIP services, and built-in global calling features, it has become easier for cold callers to maximize their productivity and conversions and save thousands of dollars every month. Explore the SaaS sales, B2B sales and tech sales.

11 ways to master the art of cold calling

Now you know that cold calling is undeniably a robust strategy to drive more conversions for your business. There are some bare elements that you should consider when you are planning on attaining maximized conversions from your cold calling process. Listed are some of the cold calling tips you can follow to win your battleground as a cold caller.

1. Research your prospects

Cold calling is a tedious and long process. You can’t expect your prospects to agree to your proposal on the first call. It takes multiple follow-up calls and emails to persuade them to agree to a meeting. When it already requires enormous efforts, then better for you to invest your time and effort in someone who already needs your product or services.

The initial step to nailing your prospects right is by doing quick research and learning all the bare essential details about your prospects. The clock is ticking and you have a limited time on the call to court your prospects and stacking feeble questions such as their name, designation, qualification or industry can only make them lose their interest in the conversation.

what is cold calling

If you wish your prospects not to hang up on your call, then try to add more value to the call by doing thorough research about your prospects and their business. You can trail down all of their key information on their website, or on social media platforms including LinkedIn. You can read about their Press Releases, Mission and Vision statements and Customer testimonies to understand more about their business.

Based on the information you gather about your prospects and their business, you can start framing the questions for your conversation.

> What are the challenges they are facing in scaling their business?

>What better solution can you offer to overcome their problems?

>How much are they willing to pay you?

>How are you different from your competitors?

This will allow you to deliver superior quality calls and hold the attention of your prospects.

2. Be patient and persistent

Patience is the key to winning at cold calling. You are reaching out to the prospects who do not have an idea about who you are or what your product or services offer. So you may not expect a warm welcome from your prospects as soon as they answer your call. Rejection is the part of cold calling practice and if you are planning on winning this battle, patience and persistence is the only key.

You must earn their attention and in turn, their trust by offering them something valuable and building substantial relationships.

Initially, you may not get the chance to speak directly with the decision-maker and you may have to reach your potential customers. Remember you are not the only one and they receive hundreds of cold calls from different sales reps. Their job is to toss out the calls that are in no way related to their business. If you know for sure that you can add value to their business, then pay no heed to the rejections and failed attempts. If you do so, you are giving up on a golden opportunity.

As per the stats mentioned on LinkedIn, it takes about 18 calls to connect to your right buyer, and 80% of the prospects reject the call before they agree to listen to the proposal.

Being polite, persistent, and building a personal connection with your prospects has a higher chance of winning this cold-calling game.

3. Never sell on your first call

Cold calling is not a race to close your deals but the first of many activities to close your deals. Selling the product/services is one of the biggest mistakes every cold caller makes. You need to understand the fact that you are calling the prospects out of the blue and barging in on their perfectly planned schedule. If you start selling out your product/services on your first call, it would shoo off your prospects and impede any chances you may have with them in the future.

While you have prior knowledge about your prospects from your research, they have no idea about who you are. So focus on building a rapport with your prospects rather than diving straight into selling your product/service.

4. Learn from your rejections

Rejections and cold calls are the two peas in the same pod. You need to accept the fact rejections are a part of cold calling and keep an open mind to learn and grow better as a sales representative.

Scrutinize the call to understand why your prospect said no and think about how better you could have presented your sales pitch.

Perhaps the information you gathered from your research was not ample enough to prepare your cold call script or you caught the wrong person at the wrong time. Were you overselling your product or services rather than asking your prospects about what they want?

Never take Nos personally and focus on getting the Yes out of the Nos. Rather than setting your daily targets to finish 50 cold calls or set up 10 meetings, define your quota based on the rejections. That way you could at least boast about the fact that you hit the rejection quota for the day!

5. Act on your cold calling scripts

Many sales representatives consider that preparing a call script is a mundane task and prefer to go with the flow of the conversation, especially the experienced ones. But little do they know that a cold calling script is a roadmap that can steer your conversation in the right direction.

It sets the tone for your conversation and takes the guesswork out of your way. When you have the answers ready for most of the objections and know what you need to say to your prospects, it keeps your nerves calm and stays focused on the intention of your call.

You wouldn’t be wasting the time with redundant fillers throughout the conversation if you prepare a quality calling script well beforehand you connect for a call.

Make sure not to use the same script for all of your potential clients. Based on your prospects’ needs, you can create personalized project-by-project scripts to build a striking connection with your prospects. It shows your prospects that you are genuinely interested in their business and have taken the time to get to know them and their business.

6. Flatter them with the right words

Your opening conversation can make your prospect to either let your foot in or hang up on your call. You have less than ten seconds to captivate your prospects’ attention, thus you should make it worthwhile by greeting them with a creative opener.

Once you have introduced yourself, shift your focus toward your prospects. Now is the time to bring your research to the light by stacking the questions about your prospects. It may be a compliment for their recent achievement or a solution for their pain point.

You need to start your conversation with something better if you want to pique their interest and buy some time to pitch your product/services. For example,

Congratulations on your ………..

You and I haven’t spoken before, but the reason for my call is…” and avoid using the conventional openers such,

How are you?”

How have you been?”

Can I speak with..”

7. Stack open-ended questions

Talk less and listen more is the catchword you need to keep chanting if you wish to increase your cold call conversion rate. Rather than making your conversation monotonous by raising dull and dreary questions, make your conversation two-way and engage your prospects in a lively conversation.

The more open-ended questions you ask them, the more you get to know about their business. If you could understand their pain point better and empathize with your prospects, it would be much easier for you to offer them your solutions. You can spin around your conversations with “what”, “why” and “How.”

> What are the problems your prospects’ businesses are facing every day?

>Why the current solution is not yielding better results for them?

>How your proposition can be a better alternative?

Emphasize the worth you can add to their business and persuade your prospects to connect for a quick demo meeting.

8. Powerthrough your fear with practice

Keeping the goal of your calls in the front of your mind, you could reiterate your cold call script multiple times before making cold calls. It would allow you to gain familiarity and confidence to present yourself better. Fine-tune your cold call scripts by role-playing scripts with your sales managers or other team members.

Playing out different scenarios such as interested prospects, not interested prospects to service inquiries will help you to prepare to make successful cold calls.

You can never overcome your fear and become better at cold calling without grasping what you need to improve upon.

9. Overcome your distractions

Cut through all the noise resonating around you and focus only on the calls. Only if you power through the distractions and be attentive to what your prospects have to say you will be able to respond to your prospects’ queries spontaneously. Zoning out in the middle of your calls and missing out on the important deets is not what you intend on achieving out of the cold calls right?

Shut the hustles and distractions around you out with headsets and focus completely on what your prospects speak if you want to nail your cold calls.

10. Never forget to follow up

Not all of your cold calls can lead you to the right person and not every call ends in a closed deal. Regardless of the outcome of your call, you should send a quick follow-up to your prospects to thank them for their time. Like your cold calls, follow-ups should also be personalized to pick the interest of your prospects. In order not to over dump your prospects with too much information, you need to settle on one key takeaway that would add value to them.

This would leave them with a lasting impression and give a way for them to connect with you.

It can be either in the form of a personalized email or a voice drop. If you are dropping a voice mail, ensure that your message is not exceeding 20 seconds and use a friendly tone.

Best Day and Time to Make Cold Calls

You have prepared your script, and practiced well but called your prospect during their lunch break or busy hour. Would your prospects be happy to listen to why you called? Absolutely not.

The reason why most cold calls receive lower response rates is that the cold callers get hold of their prospects at the wrong hours. It not only reduces their chances of selling their solutions but creates a negative impression about the company.

If you plan on closing more meetings out of your cold calling strategy, the prime tip is to focus on the right time to make the call.

According to the data report released by Gong, the best days to call your prospects are Wednesdays and Thursdays.

It makes sense as people who get back to their work on Mondays have their own meetings and their pressing matters to attend to. No one has the patience to deal with strangers when they are transitioning their work and mapping out their upcoming week schedules.

Fridays are worse as the prospects are in a rush to wrap up their pending tasks for the week and prepping up for their weekend ahead and are least interested to talk business.

As per the reports released by InsightSquared, Tuesdays are the best days to make initial call as it increases the connection rate by 10%.

During the mid of the week, most of the prospects are relaxed and settled into their work schedule. They will have more room to respond to your calls leisurely without considering you to be an interruption.

Now that you have figured out what days work best to make a successful cold call, let’s check on the golden hours that maximize your cold outreach rates.

A team from CallHippo conducted a survey and released hard core data that sales reps who made the initial cold call between 4 PM to 5 PM (prospects’ time) received more success rate than any other time. During this valuable time, most prospects have completed their tasks for the day and are likely be preparing to leave for the day.

The second best time to call your prospects is between 11 AM to 12 PM when they are wrapping up their tasks before leaving for their lunch. The worst time to connect with your prospects is at 10 AM. Most prospects would be getting started with their administrative tasks or rushing up for their meetings.

While these data are a good place to start planning your cold outreach process, different strategies work best for different businesses. The best way to formulate a success rate for your cold calling technique is to try and test different approaches and go with the one that brings on positive conversions for your business.

Other factors to consider while making cold calls

>If you want to avoid reaching out to your prospects out of their business hours and ruin the chances of booking more appointments, you should pay more attention to their time zones. There are multiple free and paid tools available online. You can download them to track different time zones and schedule your calls according to your prospects’ golden hours.

>Getting hold of your prospects during the financial year ending can multiply your conversions as they may be,

(i) closing their accounts with their current vendors and may be looking for an ultimate solution.

(ii)they may have taken up a new project that might require your product/service.

(iii) they may have the budget to purchase your product/service.

Best cold calling tools

Sloovi Outreach

Sloovi Outreach is an end-to-end sales engagement and automation platform that allows you to manage hundreds of leads, and personalize and automate your cold outreach. With their power dialer feature, you can put your cold calling in an autopilot mode and double up your call volumes. You can keep a check on the health of your sales with their super intuitive reports.

Gong

Gong.io is a sales automation tool that leverages Artificial Intelligence to scrutinize sales transactions to understand the market trends. Sales teams can utilize this data to make outbound calls and record the calls. You can enhance your cold calling performance by analyzing the calls with their AI tool.

Hubspot Sales Hub

HubSpot Sales Hub helps you to reach out to your prospect without expending your time or effort in managing the data. Within one integrated platform, you could make free calling, and e-mail sequences, set up meetings, and track your sales.

Pipedrive

Pipedrive is a cloud-based sales CRM and sales pipeline management solution that helps you to streamline all your sales activities and track results in one integrated platform. With their robust platform, you could make hundreds of calls every day and track the progress of every prospect.

Kixie Power Calling

Kixie is a sales acceleration tool that helps in scaling your cold calling volumes. With their power dialer, you could automate your call log, record calls, send voicemails and track call metrics.

Klenty

Klenty is a sales prospecting and automation tool that allows sales teams to automate your cold prospecting and follow up at scale. You can build your prospects list, set up personalized cold email campaigns, make cold calls, track open/reply/bounce rates, and optimize your cold outreach strategies.