Here are 5 tips to help you improve your cold calling outreach so that you can get in front of more people faster.
Tip #1 – Get Curious
So much about outbound calling comes down to the energy you bring to the call. Dogs can smell fear, and so can business prospects! Nervousness, uncertainty, or worry are all synonyms to fear, and you need to rid yourself of that energy completely before you start calling. There are many ways to get into state before you begin (power poses, exercise, meditation, affirmations, visualization techniques…), and in addition to that, when you are on a call, remember to get curious. Bringing curiosity to the conversation will help you engage your prospect in a dialogue and establish trust. Be sure to list out the key questions you want answers to, but also be prepared to ask questions on the fly in response to what your prospect says. “What do you mean by that?” “How does that work for you?” are great go-to questions to continue a conversation when you are unsure about what to do with the information a prospect has already given you. Cold calling is like a game of tennis. Asking questions is your way of hitting the ball back into your prospect’s court to keep the conversation going. When you stop asking questions, the conversation is over. Don’t stop until you are satisfied that you have given what you need to give and received what you need to receive and your call-to-action for the next step has been clearly communicated.
Tip #2 – Get a Mirror
FBI negotiator, Chris Voss, explains in his best-selling book, “Never Split the Difference,” that one of the best techniques to use when you’re conducting sales calls is to mirror your prospect. What that means is that when I prospect says something to you, you repeat that back in the form of a question. So for example, if a prospect says to you, “I don’t have time right now,” you then mirror back, “You don’t have time right now?” Prospect: “We already have a solution for that.” Mirror: “You already have a solution for that?” This will then force the other person to justify themselves further (enabling the conversation to continue) and build rapport (because the other person feels heard). You want to use the exact same language your prospect used until the point that you get to your call to action. You want to prepare your key messages in advance and then make sure you know what you want out of the call whether that be to email them information to further educate them about your offer, get an explicit opt-in, the name of another decision-maker, confirm a sales meeting or something else. At first, it may seem strange to do this exercise, but once you get used to it, I can assure you that it works!
Tip #3 – Get Over Yourself
So many people are worried about having a bad call. But when you really think about it, who cares if you have a bad call? Does that mean you suck, or that you’re a bad person? No! Having a bad call is not a reflection of you; it teaches you something about your prospect. Bad calls are like bad days—you can try hard to avoid them, but sometimes they just happen. It’s no big deal and trust me, you will survive. In fact, bad calls keep you on your toes and are an important part of the learning experience. Without them, you’d get bored because you wouldn’t push yourself to try new approaches. So really, those bad calls are a gift!
Tip #4 – Get Calling
One of the biggest mistakes people make when cold calling is that they don’t make enough calls. Whether it be out of fear, or because they just aren’t able to make it past gatekeepers, at the end of the day, outbound telemarketing is a numbers game: the more calls you make the more likely it is that you will identify a qualified sales opportunity. Of course being effective on the phone (by asking the right questions, knowing your product inside and out, and doing your homework on the company you are calling) is a given. And once that groundwork is in place, it’s really about making as many calls as you can to get in front of as many people as you can. It takes a lot of hustle to get good at cold calling and that starts by increasing the sheer volume of calls you make on a daily basis.
Tip #5 – Get a Tattoo
Ok, so you don’t actually need to get a tattoo, but you do need to ditch your script. The biggest turn-off to cold calling is when you have the impression that you are speaking to a robot who has memorized their text to the letter and has lost all touch with what it means to be human. It’s super important that the conversation is able to flow and that you sound completely natural from the onset. Remember that when you are cold calling, your prospect is not expecting your call and has no idea who you are. They are going to judge whether or not your call is worth their time in the first 5 to 10 seconds of saying the word “hello.” If you are clearly reading a script, the prospect will disengage. In fact, you can usually hear it just by the way the prospect breathes on the other end of the line. Disappointment is a vibe that can be felt across the phone line, so watch out for it. The best strategy is to ask your first question as soon as you possibly can once the conversation has been initiated. That way you are serving the ball into their court and starting to play the game.
The art of successfully generating leads through outbound cold calling is a skill set and it can be learned. Up-level your skills by taking an online course, or reaching out for an individual coaching session by writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.