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As a salesperson, cold calling is a part of life. However, it’s also something that many salespeople dread because let’s be honest, rejection sucks. And there tends to be a lot of rejection when it comes to cold calling. 

To give you some perspective, allow us to hit you with some cold, hard numbers associated with cold calling. According to studies done at the Keller Center for Research at Baylor University, only 1% of cold calls result in appointments. That means if you make 100 phone calls a day, only one of them will end up becoming a prospect. That seems like a lot of work for very little payoff. 

This may lead you to believe that cold calling is a dead art form for salespeople, as many websites assert. But that’s simply not true. In fact, roughly 57% of C-level execs say they prefer phone calls to other forms of outreach, and they value the information they receive from calls with salespeople. 

So cold calling is still a good technique to use in order to convince people to buy your product or service. The trick is to ensure you’re using the proper cold calling script. Unsure what script to use? Keep reading, we’ve got some templates for you below.

 

What Is Cold Calling? A Brief History

The first documented use of cold calling was in 1873 by John Patterson, founder of the National Cash Registry, or NCR corporation. Patterson would provide his salespeople with a script he dubbed The Primer, which would not only tell them what to say to potential customers, but also how to say it, and where and when to point at things. 

And here’s the crazy part. In the last nearly 150 years, cold calling hasn’t really changed all that much. Cold calling is still defined as soliciting business from potential customers with whom you’ve had no prior contact, in order to sell your product or service. You’re still typically given a script to ramble off, you’re told how to read this script, when to ask questions, and when to give up or persist. Your salespeople are still following a process set out 150 years ago. This could be why cold calling has such a bad reputation. We think it’s time to flip the cold calling script.

Cold Calls Vs Cold Email – Which Is More Effective?

It can be difficult to decide whether you should be cold calling your leads or sending cold emails. Both can be effective in their own right, but both also have some downsides. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of cold calling versus cold emailing.

Cold Email or Phone

Cold Calling

Pros:

  • Cold calling is more personal. According to HubSpot, “[cold calls] can garner an immediate response and let you deal with a prospect saying ‘no’ right away.” With cold calls, you also have the ability to change up your script as the conversation moves along. Emails are static, and so unless they’re opened and replied to, you don’t really have the opportunity to adjust your cold calling script as you talk. 
  • Cold calling is amazing for new trainees. It allows them to practice their scripts over and over, and listen to feedback in order to adjust them. 
  • Cold calling helps you gather relevant information about your prospects. Unlike cold emailing, when you talk to a prospect over the phone, it enables you to make an instant connection, and get them talking right away. With emails, they have the chance to either ignore them altogether, or give them time to craft their responses. Phone calls inhibit this, which means you can learn more when talking with them.

Cons:

  • Cold calling can be considered invasive. Getting phone calls out of the blue can sometimes be pretty annoying. In today’s fast-paced world of instant technology, most people don’t even like talking on the phone anymore. So getting an unexpected call can be irritating. Prospects may not have the time, or even want to take the time, to hear your pitch, and will hang up at their earliest convenience. 
  • Cold calling has a low success rate. As mentioned above, the average success rate for cold calling is around 1%. That’s not very high. And it can get rather expensive with training and other expenses surrounding them. So don’t rely solely on cold calling as your sales strategy.

pros & cons

Cold Emailing

Pros:

  • Cold emails are more scalable. Given that they’re a quick and inexpensive way to reach out to prospects, cold emails are far easier to scale than cold calls. In the time it would take you to make one cold call, you could send out several emails.
  • Cold emails are less intrusive. Even if your prospect doesn’t want to purchase your product or service, you’re far more likely to get a polite response with cold emails than with cold calls. This can translate into better morale for your sales team, who can sometimes feel a bit dejected after being told “no” in less than polite ways on cold calls.
  • Cold emails can be more visually appealing. You can make up for the lack of personalization that cold calls can bring by making your cold emails visually appealing. Including more informative content in emails allows for an easier conveyance of the benefits of your product or service than can be communicated in a phone call.

Cons:

  • Cold emails are easier to ignore. Though they are less intrusive than cold calls, they are also far easier to ignore than a ringing phone. While a phone can be ignored too, it’s not as easy as simply clicking the “trash” button.
  • Cold emails are less personal. Once you hit that send button, you’re done. You have no way to change what’s been written or adjust your pitch to be more specific to your prospect. This can hinder your ability to close a deal or arrange an appointment. If you’re sending the exact same email to dozens of people, you’re unable to make them personalized, which can sometimes be the make it or break it of your pitch.
  • Cold emails have more competition. Think about your email inbox. How many emails do you get every single day that you just completely ignore? Now, imagine your inbox belongs to someone everyone in your industry is trying to connect with? They are flooded with hundreds of emails daily just like yours. And that doesn’t even take into account those that are sent automatically to the junk folder.

Pros & cons Cold emails

Whether you opt to use cold calling or cold emailing – or even a mix of the two – is completely up to you and what you feel would work best for your sales strategy. There are benefits and disadvantages to both, and it’s up to you to decide which benefits outweigh the downsides.

The Anatomy Of A Successful Cold Call

In this section, we’re going to break down a successful cold call for you into six easy parts.


Introduction:

In your introduction, you want to keep it short and sweet by introducing yourself and the company you work for. It’s important to speak clearly and confidently. If your prospect has to ask you to repeat yourself from the get-go, it will not be a successful cold call.

“Hi, this is [your name]. I’m calling from [name of your company]. How are you doing today?”

Confirm you’re speaking to the right person:

A wasted cold call is one where you’ve not correctly called the person who makes the buying decisions for their company.

“I just want to confirm that I’m speaking with [their name]. Great! [their name], I know how valuable your time is, and I want to respect that. Do you have just a quick minute to speak with me?”

The reason behind your call (give context – elevator pitch):

If they’ve confirmed that they have a moment to speak with you, give them a quick elevator pitch about why you’re calling.

“Thanks so much! So as I said, I’m with [your company’s name]. We’re a [the industry your company is in] company that specializes in [your product or service/what it does].

Ask permission to continue:

Not everyone has time to sit on a phone call during a busy work day, so don’t get dejected if the person you’re speaking with doesn’t answer positively. But it’s still good practice to ask permission to continue before jumping into your whole pitch.

“Is this something you might be interested in hearing more about? May I continue?”

Ask qualifying questions:

This is where the active listening that we speak so often about comes into play. Ask your prospect qualifying questions so that you can keep the conversation flowing on a positive note. Uplead gives some great examples of qualifying questions to add to your cold calling scripts.

“Which aspect of your current product/service would you like to improve or change? If you could magically eliminate three of your most significant problems, what would they be? How do these challenges affect you/your business?”

Propose a time for a meeting:

Pitching in person is one of the best ways to sell your product or service because it can include a demonstration or a consultation. These things help to sway prospects to purchase. 

“I’d love to schedule 10 to 15 minutes sometime next week to learn more about your business and how we may be able to help you save time and money. In fact, I’m free both [choose two days the following week]. Which of these days works best for you?

Successfully Cold Calling

The Steps Of A Successful Cold Calling Strategy

A lot of websites out there will tell you they have the best strategy for making successful cold calls. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to and have compiled a list of four steps to make your cold calls more successful.

Research your prospect thoroughly before the call: This is probably the most important step to a successful cold call. If you know nothing about the person or company you’re calling, you’re more likely to have them hang up on you. A company wants to know that you’ve done your research beforehand, and aren’t just calling up every number in the phone book. You should know what the company does, the role of the person you’re speaking with, if you’ve worked with a similar business before, and any other information you can gather. HubSpot takes this one step further and states you should learn personal information about them to help you build a rapport. “Where did they go to school? Do you know a friend or colleague? Did they recently attend an industry event? These are some rapport-building topics you can use to start the conversation.”

Identify your prospect’s most pressing problem:

While you’re carrying on your conversation, it’s a good idea to try to identify what their biggest problem is. You can do this by asking qualifying questions and just letting them talk. When you focus on them, rather than on your pitch, it gives them ample time to open up to you and makes them feel like they’re being heard. Once you’ve identified their problem, you can pitch to them how your product or service can help eliminate that pain point.

Active listening during calls:

We will never stop reiterating how important active listening is. There’s a reason we mention it in nearly every article we write. If you’re not actively listening to your prospect, you will never be able to identify their pain points. If you can’t identify their problems and point out ways that your product or service can help them, you’re likely to have the call ended sooner rather than later. If your prospect feels like they’re being heard, you’ll have a better chance of closing a deal.

Prepare for curveballs during the call (use script variations):

More often than not, a potential customer will throw out a curveball that doesn’t fit into your cold calling script. Don’t let this trip you up. Familiarize yourself with many different script variations so that you’re prepared for anything thrown your way.

The Best Way To Get Over The Fear Of Making Cold Calls

If you have a fear of even picking up that phone to make a cold call, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the Associated Press, 48% of sales reps are terrified of making cold calls. For the majority of these, it’s the anxiety that rejection brings that makes them fear cold calling.

There are ways to rid yourself of these anxieties, though, and get over your fear so you can perfect the art of cold calling.

The first step to getting over your fear of cold calling is to prepare yourself. Memorize all of your scripts, do your due diligence and research the person/company you’re calling. Mentally preparing yourself for the potential rejection is good practice as well. Being told “no” is not the end of the world. It’s okay to feel demoralized sometimes with the number of rejections you may receive, but it’s not okay to let that turn into a fear of cold calling. Rejection is a part of life.

Step two is creating the perfect cold calling script. This isn’t something that can be done overnight. It comes out of months or even years of practice. But once you’ve got that cold calling script down pat, you’re far less likely to fear making the phone call in the first place. Use our above tips to help you craft that script.

Next, make you breathe. Pausing between statements allows your prospect the time to digest what you’ve said, but it also gives you a moment to collect yourself and your thoughts. Don’t let your fear of cold calling make you rush through your pitch. This will only serve to make you seem robotic or nervous. Two traits no one wants in a sales rep.

Step four to getting over your fear of cold calling is to create a dialogue with your prospect. Don’t steamroll the conversation with one long-winded monologue. You need to let them speak as well. You can make this happen by asking them qualifying or leading questions. The more they speak, the more comfortable you will be.

And finally, get creative. Rather than stressing out before making a cold call, Science says, “make it fun! Be creative and find out what “untraditional” methods work for you to get you the best sales results.” This can include things like vocal exercises, listening to your favorite music, practicing your cold calling script with someone else, listening to speeches from people throughout history, and celebrating your positive calls.

Get Over The Fear Of Making Cold Calls

What Is The Best Time Of Day To Cold Call?

We touched on this in our article Apply These 10 Proven Techniques To Improve Your Follow Up Calls. Studies show that the best days of the week to call prospects are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, with Wednesday taking the number one slot. Fridays tend to be the worst days to make cold calls because the people you’re calling are wrapping up their business week and preparing for the weekend ahead. They don’t want to spend time listening to sales pitches.

The best time of day to make your cold calls seems to be between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm. The second best time to cold call is between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm. Catching your prospects just before lunch, or a couple hours before end of day works best.

Bonus: Voicemail Script

Many times, a cold call will result in being sent to voicemail. Don’t fear the voicemail though, as it gives you the opportunity to let the company know who you are and what you do. This way, when you call a second time, your call might not be screened. Here is a sample voicemail script for you to use.

“Hello [prospect’s name]. This is [your name] from [your company name]. 

The reason for my call today is because I have an idea of how to help you improve [pain point you’ve previously discovered through research]. So I wanted to touch base with you and see if it made sense for us to have a quick talk to find out more about it.

I can be reached at [your phone number] at your earliest convenience. Again, my name is [your name] with [your company’s name], at [your phone number].

Thank you, [their name], and I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

Final Thoughts

Regardless of what industry you are in, if you’re a salesperson, you have to come to terms with the fact that you will be making cold calls. If you’re well enough prepared and have familiarized yourself with numerous variations of cold calling scripts, then it’s not something you have to fear.

Anyone can become a pro at cold calling, as long as they follow the tips set out in this article. Follow our Wingmate blog to read more articles to help you solve any problems you may have related to the Commercial Service Industry.

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