The cold call. It sends literal coldness to the center of your heart and scares even the most seasoned salespeople. It’s also one of the most challenging things to get results from and to do comfortably. In fact, 63% of salespeople say that cold calling is the things the dislike most about their job.
We’re going to help you out with that today. It takes an average of 8 cold calls to reach a prospect, so consistency and persistence is key. We’re going to give you seven actionable techniques that will help you up your cold calling game and hopefully make those attempts a little more effective and a lot less challenging.
A Note Before We Start
If you think of the biggest obstacles when it comes to cold calling, what do you think they are? Is it rude people? Is it bad data? Is it that people don’t answer the phone?
While all of those are barriers, we think that the biggest barrier is your own mental one. Everyone has some sort of resistance to the rejection that we all face. It’s natural: nobody likes to hear no, a rude hang-up, and the rejection that comes with cold calling.
The seven techniques we’re going to go over here will actually help to take down the defensiveness of outbound prospect that you’re calling and reduce your own anxieties with calling.
Make the Call All About Them
A typical cold call often starts with something like this, “Hey, this is Bill from E-mortgage leads and we have some great age leads that I think you’ll be interested in.”
Notice with an intro like that that it takes quite a while before you even get to the part of the call that addresses the person you’re calling. In that opening, you’re just talking about yourself. This immediately sets you up as a salesperson that people immediately want to reject.
In order to offset this, many people try and hide that they’re a salesperson, which comes off as disingenuous (most people can see right through that anyway). Instead, you want to make it clear who you are, but you want to keep the focus on the person you’re calling.
Take this for example: “Hey Jim, this is Bill.” Even just adjusting to address the person in that first intro is extremely helpful. After that, while it’s scary, take a nice second long pause. This pause allows them to start thinking through their memories and contacts to identify who you are. Salespeople don’t usually introduce themselves in that kind of familiar way, which makes the call a bit friendly and less hostile from the start.
This pause also helps them feel in control of the conversation. Think about it: when salespeople immediately launch into their spiel, it’s often annoying and overwhelming. This makes the person feel bombarded and out of control. Pausing after your introduction gives them time to process the call and control how the situation will play out.
If and when they don’t give you an objection during that pause, you can move forward. The second part goes something like this: “I’m reaching out because I know you’re a mortgage broker with hometown lenders and have been a broker for several years. I know how hard it is to hit that monthly number month after month.”
Let’s unpack what we did there. You told them that you know who they are, you know what they’re struggling with, and you know what their challenge is. This creates a relationship and a sort of affinity with them that reinforces that while it might seem like it, you’re not calling out of the blue. You’re calling with a relevant purpose.
That whole opening script is all about the person that you’re talking to. Making it all about them before circling back to how you are connected to them opens up the conversation more easily and helps them connect to why they should stay on the call and listen to you.
Have a Goal in Mind for Every Call You Make
You might think this is a big ask, especially as you might be drilling through hundreds of leads and calls every day. How can you have a goal for hundreds of leads?
While each individual call doesn’t necessarily need it’s own supremely unique goal, you want to have an overall goal that relates to your calls. Quickly scan your CRM, see what information you have, and try to find something in there that gives you a goal for that call.
For example, if you’re calling brand new leads, your goal could just be simply being able to make contact, right? Or perhaps if they’ve indicated interest, you goal could be to set up an appointment or gain some more information about them. If you’ve reconnected with an old lead, you goal could be to simply remind them of your connection.
Even just quickly scanning through your CRM will immediately illuminate even the most basic of goals for that call. This will help your calls feel more targeted at that person and a bit more personal.
Use Assumptive Language
So often as salespeople, we open a call with an apology: “Hey, I’m sorry if I’m interrupting you” or “Sorry to bother you!” are common.
But why put that in their mind? Maybe they weren’t bothered but you saying that makes them think, “Oh yea, they are interrupting me”. Instead of saying things like that, we recommend using assumptive language.
Always assume that you’re going to go to the next step and use language that implies that. So use language that reflects that:
“As we move forward, what do you need from me?”
“With this information, we can get you started on [X].”
“Can you give me a little more information before we move forward?”
“What can I do before we speak again?”
“Let’s fill out this quick app so that I can see what you’re qualified for.”
Things like this assume that they’re ready to move to the next step, which helps them, in turn, see themselves moving forward as well.
Create and Use a Script
The first thing that probably popped into your mind when you read “script” was literally writing out everything that you’re going to say, memorizing it, going through it step-by-step, maybe even reading it directly while you’re on the phone.
We actually do not recommend doing that at all. It always ends up sounding robotic and mechanical, which will not help your cause.
When thinking about creating a script for your phone calls, you want to think of it more like a movie actor would. When a movie actor gets a part, they have a script that’s given to them. It’s written out in great detail how they’re supposed to act, what they’re supposed to feel, exactly what they’re supposed to say, etc.
But then that actor sits down, gets into character, and makes the script their own. They start to give it their own flavor and their own interpretation. And that’s what we think you should do for your cold call scripts.
So write the full thing out, but then practice that script and make it your own. Don’t read it word for word. Use it as more of a guide and then make it your own, give it your natural flavor and sales charisma.
And that’s really what a script acts as: a guide. It will help you remember everything you want to say, especially when your nervous and (probably) have a brain blank when you call. It’s especially important to follow guidelines and regulations in certain industries like mortgage and insurance; a script will also help you keep on track with those things.
Scripts and guides can also keeps you from sounding flustered if you’re surprised when someone picks up or when they ask something you didn’t expect. You’ll have something in front of you to keep you on track and saying the right things.
Practice Your Opening
When I say practice your opening, we mean practice it out loud. So often you have a script and only read it or practice in your head. Of course it sounds perfect on the page and in your head!
But then when you go to read it out loud for the first time on a real call, it often comes out clunkily, disorganized, and clumsily. You haven’t said the words out loud, so of course it’s not going to sound smooth. It doesn’t really flow, you stumble over words, it sounds clumsy out loud, etc.
Practicing out loud, and with other people, is really important. Practice it out loud over and over until it becomes smooth and effortless.
You can also try recording yourself as you practice and listen back. This helps you hear how you sound to others, helps you identify where you need to improve, and find things you want to change.
Roleplaying is also a great way to practice. If you’ve got a sales team or even just a colleague, it’s really important to practice and do that roleplay with another person. This will really hone your skills.
You should also have your practice partner respond with common objections so you can practice your responses to overcome them.
Practice Overcoming Objections
Firstly, you should be practicing how you overcome your common objections during the practice phase that we just talked about.
But how do you know your common objections? Create a list of the most common ones you remember and work answers/responses to your script.
Another thing you should make a habit of is writing down objections you hear after/during the call. Anytime you’re on a call and hear an objection, especially if it’s one you haven’t heard before, jot that down. This allows you to understand the objections you’ll hear and plan in advance how you’ll respond effectively.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common sales objections we hear and how to overcome them here. Check it out to help you out with your script and practice.
Create a Call List and Call, Call, Call
All that’s really left to do is put in the work. Like we mentioned earlier, it can take an average of 8 attempts to reach a prospect, so get going!
Create a call list through your CRM system and use a dialer if you have huge amounts of calls to make.
Now, there can be a method to this madness though. You’ll burn out if you sit down and call people for 8 hours a day. This doesn’t help you or the people you’re calling.
Instead, we recommend doing a power hour or a power half-hour of calling. Say to yourself, “OK for the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be completely focused on this task. I’m going to get through this list of callers for that amount of time and then take a break.”
You can also set yourself up with little goals. “I’m going to go through this list until I make an appointment.”
This helps you have a specific task and avoids burnout.
Once you get into that flow, it’ll be easier. Making that first call is the hardest, but it’s often easier with a goal in mind or a time constraint to get something done.
Make Cold Calls Easier with These 7 Cold Calling Tips
Let’s do a real quick recap of all seven of those.
Number one, make it all about them. Number two, have a goal for every call. Number three, use assumptive language. Number four, create a script and use it. Do it like a movie actor does, not like a robot. Step into that role and make it your own.
Number five, practice your opening out loud. Make sure that that opening, that first 20 seconds or less is as clean as possible because that’s gonna be your only opportunity to connect. Just like email marketing, if you don’t get the subject line right, it won’t be opened and you’ll get nowhere.
It doesn’t matter what you have to say after if you don’t get past the opening, right?
And number six, overcome your top objections. And then last, but not least, is to call, call, and call some more.
We hope that these seven techniques to making cold calling more effective help you out and make the whole process a bit easier.
We’re also happy to answer any questions you have; contact us here!