What's the best part of being in sales? It's certainly not making cold calls--those interruptive, impersonal attempts to pitch products and services. It takes, on average, 18 dials to connect with a single buyer. No wonder cold calling is no one's favorite activity.
Luckily, prospecting isn't as chilly as it once was. Today, salespeople have access to much more information about their prospects before they even pick up the phone, information that helps reps make meaningful connections and start building a relationship based on trust.
Turn cold calls into warm calls by following the tips below.
1. Identify Good Fit Companies Ahead of Time
This is the very definition of warm calling. Don’t just call anyone. Call the companies most likely to want or need what you have to offer. The only way to identify these companies is to know what they look like, target others like them, and further qualify each lead via lead evaluations. These practices will help ensure you only spend time on the most promising prospects.
2. Have a Reason for Outreach
Cold calling relies on the phone call to create reason. Warm calling is about having a reason before you initiate the phone call. Do research using social media, your company’s CRM, and prospecting tools. At baseline, you should know their name, title, the demands of their industry and ideally — an inkling of what their pain points are.
3. Organize Your Thoughts
Once you gather useful information about your prospect, make sense of it. Organize your thoughts and form an understanding around how your product or service will help solve their specific pain points. Map out talking points that will be used to add value to your communication with a prospect.
4. Get Your Timing Right
Think about who you’re calling, what their role is within their company and when the most considerate time to call might be. For executives, the best time is first thing in the morning between 7:30 a.m. and 8:20 a.m. When you do connect with your prospect, ask up front if the moment is a good time to talk. Another option is to reach out before the phone call to let your prospect know you will be calling. Connect on LinkedIn or send an email. Better yet, identify a mutual connection and get them to introduce you.
5. Keep it Short
Your initial call is just the beginning of your professional relationship with a prospect, so keep it short. One way to do this is to avoid asking vague questions. Your research should help inspire deeper conversation. As they respond, listen carefully and use this opportunity to learn more about who your prospect is and how you may be able to help. Ideally, this conversation should be about five minutes, but use your better judgment. If it’s going well — keep talking. If it fizzles out before it starts, respect the prospect's time and exit gracefully.
6. Be Human
Relax, use a casual but professional tone and don’t script your conversation. Outlining some talking points is an excellent idea, but allow the call to be organic. Don’t forget to thank your prospect for their time upon exiting.
Don’t forget to follow up with an email. If all went according to plan, you should have touched on their pain point during your initial conversation. Use what you learned to offer more information in your follow up. This will add value to their experience. Even if the conversation didn’t go according to plan, and you know your product or services isn’t a good fit, follow up anyway. It helps build your brand reputation and who knows…it might lead to a referral.