7 Cold Calling Techniques That Actually Work

January 15, 2019

Cold calling, the art of starting a conversation with a new prospect, is one of the most difficult, but necessary skills to master in sales.

I won’t sugar coat it. You’re going to need to put in a lot of practice – that means hundreds of calls.

But, if you use this simple framework I guarantee that you will have immediate success.

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1. Make it all about them

Our natural inclination is to introduce ourselves.

“Hi, this is Bill and I’m from eMortgageLeads. We have great aged internet leads that will help you close more deals this month, for a fraction of the cost of real-time internet leads.”

Did you see how long it took me to get to the YOU part?

You had your finger on the hang-up button at, “Hi, this is Bill.” Why? Because you knew I was a sales person and they were immediately on the defensive.

Instead, start with them and begin the conversation more like a friend might:

“Hey Jim, this is Bill.” Pause. They will start searching their memory banks for a Bill. You won’t seem aggressive. They’re sales person defenses never have time to entrench.

After that pause – beautiful non-threatening silence – say something like this:

“I’m reaching out today because I know you’re a mortgage broker with Hometown Lenders and, having been a broker for years, I know how hard it is to hit that monthly number, month after month.

We’re helping our clients, folks like you, get an extra couple of deals a month with affordable aged mortgage leads. Have you ever used aged leads?” Pause

The conversation is started and you’re ready to answer questions and field objections. But, they know that it’s about them and you are delivering measurable (not hyperbole) results to people like them.

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2. Have a goal for every call

Your CRM is full of leads in all kinds of different stages of the buying journey.

Some are past clients that you’re staying in touch with until they are ready to do another mortgage or home equity loan with you. Others you are hoping to get referrals from.  While a lot of them are brand new leads and you’re just trying to make contact.

The point is every lead is somewhere on that journey to a sale. Even if you’re new to sales, you probably have a pretty good idea of what that journey looks like. You know the steps that need to be taken and the objectives that need to be met for someone to decide to do a mortgage with you.

Some might need the time – time to improved credit or save up for a down payment. Those folks might need you to check-in and guide them with education and tips.

Others might need a real estate agent to help them find a house. So, you need to refer them to a partner to get that ideal home found.

You might need to help them understand the slightly more complicated process of getting a mortgage when they’re self-employed.

In all of these scenarios, you should go into the call with a specific goal in mind – a step to be accomplished. Even if you’re working on a power dialer, take that 5 seconds as the call connects to skim the record and find some little clue as to what they need.

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3. Use assumptive language – be assertive

This is my silver bullet.

Too many salespeople go into conversations ready to apologize.

  • “Sorry, for interrupting your day.”
  • “I know I’m calling out the blue.”
  • “I’ll only take a minute”
  • And the one I hate the most – “I’m not selling anything.” Why would you start a relationship with a lie???

Instead, believe in your product. Assume that you are going to make a sale, or at least move the sales process forward. Have confidence that you bring value and a purchase will make your client’s life better. Know that if they don’t work with you, they’re likely to get hooked up with some schmuck that is less knowledgeable and will probably screw up their deal.

If start with this level of confidence in your product, then go sell a different product!

Now that you’re confident that every client desperately needs your product, it’s time to get that confidence in your sales conversations. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “Let’s move forward and fill out a quick loan app and see what you’re qualified for…” – You’re expertly guiding them through the necessary process.
  • “What’s the next step?”- This, of course, assumes that they are going to take the next step with you. You’re just assuring them that they are still in control.
  • “Oh, no problem. I don’t make these kinds of decisions without my spouse either. Let’s set an appointment for 6 tonight? Will both you and your wife be available at that time?” – You’re assuming they are moving forward and you just need to find the best time to get them both on the phone together.

Take a look at my article, 10 Powerful Assumptive Sales Phrases, to learn more about how to use this technique to move more of your calls to a close.

4. Create a script and use it

I can’t emphasize this enough. Create and use a script. Too often our pride gets in the way. We assume we’re eloquent, quick on our feet, and able to sell ice to an Eskimo. The truth is without a script and a lot of practice rehearsing that script, most of us sound like a rambling, bumbling idiot.

You don’t need to be a robot and read your script. Think more of like an actor with a script. Use the script to organize your ideal dialogue and familiarize yourself with the scene you are trying to create between yourself and the client. Then practice it over and over until it becomes natural and you become the confident, authentic, believable salesperson in the scene your script is preparing you to perform on each call (i.e., movie take).

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And, just like shooting a movie, with actors and scripts – know that you will need to do a lot of takes (calls) to get it perfect.

Learn how to create better sales scripts in my article, The Nuts and Bolts of the Best Sales Call Scripts.

5. Practice your opening – out loud

Once you’ve written your sales script, it’s essential to practice.

I encourage folks to do this out loud. There are several ways to do this and I encourage a blending of all of these techniques.

  • Practice your sales script out loud in your car on your commute to and from work. I often work on my openings in the morning and then on the way home I review the objections I heard during the day and how I could have improved my responses.
  • Record yourself. This is a great way to create your own sales training library and to critique your sales script and techniques.
  • Role-play with someone else on your team or your sales manager. This is one of my favorites because you can use each other’s experience to really stretch your skills, trying to overcome tough objections from a fellow sales professional.

The key with each of these approaches is to practice out loud. If you rehearse it in your head, it will always seem perfect. Then when you try your voice on that first call, you’ll realize it’s still not natural at all.

6. Practice overcoming your top objections

Objections are always challenging. And with cold calling, you know you’re going to get a bunch of them. A lot of them are similar to the ones you’ve had in the past. But, each time you get one you’re always caught a little bit off guard.

Just like your openings and trial closings, overcoming objections need to be practiced over and over again until they become second nature.

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The technique that I encourage is to write down the top 3-5 objections you encountered that day, as you’re closing up shop. Then on your commute home, rehearse and perfect responses that you think would have been better.

Sales objections are just like any argument you’ve ever had – as soon as it’s over you think of all of the perfect things you should have said. Practice all of those perfect responses, because in sales you’re very likely to encounter the same objection tomorrow. If you practice, the next time you’ll be ready.

7. Create a call list and dial, dial, dial

One of the biggest challenges to cold calling is getting started. There is so much anxiety over making that first call, that anything can distract you. Sorting leads, doing research, checking on deals already in process.

Avoid these distractions by having your call list ready to go. Build it the day before. Then when your day or call block starts, dial the first one and don’t stop dialing until you hit your call goal for that session.

Do More Cold Calling and Become a Better Salesperson

Cold calling is the fastest way to become a better sales professional. So, stop avoiding it and look at it as a training opportunity – a workout that makes you stronger and better. Like any skill, the more effort you put into practice the better you are at the game time.

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Aged Mortgage Leads Make the Best Cold Call Lists

One of the first objections I often hear when I’m training brokers on cold calling is – “That’s great, but I don’t have enough leads to call.”

This is where aged leads can help. You can buy hundreds of leads for a few hundred bucks and have a virtually unlimited pipeline of internet leads to call. Use these leads to perfect your cold calling skills and get a few extra deals each month.

Instead of spending thousands on sales seminars and online training with no opportunity to actually convert a customer, invest a few hundred dollars in a little on the job training and close some real deals in the process.

If you’re ready to practice and need some aged mortgage leads, just let us know the exact criteria you’re looking for and we’ll get you the leads you need ASAP.

Further Reading

Photo by Joseph Gruenthal on Unsplash