The answer is no, in fact it’s never been more alive. I am going to explain the two main reasons why people fail at cold calling and how you can turn your cold calling strategy around today to improve your rate of success.
I guess I’ll start by explaining why cold calling is so important. If you take a minute and think of all the large global corporate companies, the majority of them started with one person in the business. They had developed a fantastic product or service but needed to show people. Do you think they started their business with thousands of pounds in advertising budget? No, they had to pick up the phone and arrange meetings. You can run as many advertising campaigns as you like, email marketing, PPC, Facebook Ads, SEO, LinkedIn Ads, Social Media and the list goes on. These are all great ways of attracting new customers but in todays world, B2B buyers have so much choice online when it comes to vendors. Take any industry and type into google that product or service, you will get pages and pages of vendors offering that product. Now put yourself in the buyer’s shoes, are you going to call every single one to ask for a quote, no you’re not, why, because you don’t have the time. Would you rather someone call you to explain how they can solve your problem with a product they have to offer? Yes, is the answer in most cases.
Experts say that a buyer is 75% of the way down the buying cycle before they even engage with your brand. Experts also say that 69% of buyers usually buy from the first sales person they speak to, why, because the sales person that is in the door first can shape the deal using their USPs knowing that his or her competitors can’t offer those features or services making it easier for the buyer to buy from them.
You could be the best sales person in the world with a 100% close rate but if you’ve got no one to talk to then it’s fair to say you’re going to struggle to sell your product. In fact, some of the best sales people aren’t very good at selling. What they are really good at is cold calling. They know that if they have a huge pipeline of prospects they will hit their target each month.
It’s far easier to improve your cold calling skills than it is your closing skills, why, because the cold call usually lasts 30-60 seconds and the sales cycle can last 12 months meaning there is a lot more going on in the sales cycle leaving more room for failure.
So, what are the top 2 reasons why 99% of sales people fail when it comes to cold calling.
Failure part 1 – The cold calling script
I’ve personally witnessed hundreds of sales people on cold calls and noticed the majority of them make these 3 mistakes on a cold call.
1) Asking the decision maker “how are you today?” “Are you enjoying the weather?” “Did you have a good weekend?
This would be ok if you have a long-term relationship with this prospect, however most of the time this will be your first conversation with the decision maker and like most, they’re super busy and don’t have time for small talk. If they have an hour to speak on the phone they’re not likely going to be the decision maker, the person who holds the cheque book usually has very little time to talk so why waste most of that time asking them if they’re enjoying the weather.
2) Over complicating the pitch
What is the point of your cold call? To arrange a meeting or demo right? So, lets make that clear from the off. Be more direct and set out the reason for your call early, decision makers appreciate it when you get to the point.
I am a strong believer in setting hooks early in the call. What this means is, I want to set a hook so deep in the decision maker that they can’t spit it out. Yes, this may sound like fishing talk but it’s the same in sales, these decision makers are getting cold calls all day every day and you need to get their attention and fast otherwise you may as well delete them from your cold calling list.
The easiest way is to use a quantifiable number, for example if you’re selling IT services… The reason for my call today is we can improve the reliability of your IT services by 75% in the first 30 days of using our services, I’d love to come and meet you next week when I am in the area to show you how we can do that, are you free on Tuesday at 10am or 2pm?
Once you have their commitment you can then go into more detail around how are they set up now and where would they like to be in the next 12 months, so you have some information ready for the meeting but the most important thing to do is get their attention fast, so they see no reason not to meet you.
3) Closing on the cold call.
People give a good pitch and it’s going so well and then they say, so can I come and see you next week? The decision maker can see a way out here, can you just send me an email and I will come back to you with some dates. You’re going to call that person another 5 times to get a date from them.
Why not say, so now I’ve explained how we can help I’d love to come and see you next Tuesday as I will be in the area, which time works best for you 10am or 2pm? Then go quiet, don’t say a word. You will find that with that silence the decision maker will open their diary and give you an answer there and then.
Failure part 2 – We’re not in the market
I’ve worked in many environments that require making a cold call to generate new business. This usually requires making 100, 150, 200+ cold calls a day. The experts say you need to make on average 100 cold calls to find 2 people in the market and this is a stat based on people that know how to make a cold call. This means 98 of the calls you make are a waste of time. This statistic has always shocked me, sales people whose primary role is to sell products and services need an entire day dedicated to make cold calls to find someone to talk to. During that day they also need to have meetings with customers, add prospects to their database, write proposals, close deals and send contracts, hand customers over to account managers, attend training and internal sales meetings. Where is the time for making cold calls?
This is another reason as to why people fail in cold calling, they just don’t have the time to make the required number of calls.
So, you’re about to make some cold calls, you’ve warmed up with some role play cold calling with a colleague and you’re ready to hit the phones. You’ve got 150 companies in front of you, where do you start? Who do you call first? Unless you’re a mind reader and can tell which ones are actively in the market for your product then you have no choice but to start at the top and work your way through the list till you find someone.
Imagine if you could make 10 or 15 calls and get the same outcome. Do you think if you made 10 cold calls and still booked 2 meetings you would be able to get more done? Do you think you would have more time to prepare for meetings and concentrate on selling products?
Here at Cyance we help lots of companies do just that. We created some technology a few years ago that shows you which companies are searching online NOW for the products / services you sell. The technology works for any product / service as our tracking is based on keywords that companies are searching for online.
The easiest way to explain it is…
Your company sells business broadband. Imagine if you could see the companies that are going online to Google etc and typing in, business broadband or where can I buy business broadband. Imagine if you could see them researching and looking at your competitors. Imagine if you could see how far down the buying journey they are.
Now let’s say you find 10 companies that are actively searching for your products / services online right now. Where do you think your time is best spent? Talking to 10 companies you know are actively searching for your products or making 100 cold calls to try and find someone that is in the market.
If you want to see which companies are actively searching online for your products / services, get in touch today to see a demo.