Cold calling has a success rate of 2%. That’s right. Two. Percent. The figure becomes even more daunting when you dig further and find that it takes an average of 8 calls for a sales rep to reach a prospect.
However, businesses that chew their fingernails over the low conversion rates of cold calling and decry its usage as a sale strategy are in for a surprise. Organizations that believed that cold calling wasn’t effective experienced 42% less growth than those who stood by it.
In the midst of conflicting statistics, what’s a sales rep gotta do?
Why! Polish their cold calling skills of course.
Don’t let the low success rate dishearten you. While cold calling might not seem to fit in this era of social media, it still remains one of the most effective outreach strategies- but only if it's done right. This is where we come in.
What is cold calling?
You can't write a book without knowing the alphabet. Similarly, you can't create impactful cold calling strategies without understanding what it is and the exact purpose it serves.
Cold calling is an age-old and established lead generation method. Salespeople make unsolicited phone calls to potential customers in an effort to sell their product or service.
Here are a couple of myth-busting statistics: 51% of company owners would rather hear from sales reps via phone than any other medium. When sales reps do call them, an average of 39% of them reach the C-level executives on the first cold call, 72% on the second cold call, and 93% on the third cold call. Additionally, 82% of buyers have moved on the meeting stage with sales reps after being initially contacted by them through cold calls.
This sales strategy actually seems to work! And for C-suite executives no less. What is it about cold calling that could garner such numbers?
Why cold calling is efficient for lead generation
This section warrants a disclaimer: cold calling is only effective and efficient when done right. The reason why it doesn't work for so many sales teams is that they're doing it wrong. If you have a less-than-stellar cold calling script, then there will be no results.
That being said, here's why cold calling works when you do it right:
Reason 1: It creates new connections
Just imagine if the only people and businesses you could sell to were the ones you already knew. How limiting would that be for the scope of sales prospecting? Would your business be able to expand ever?
Conversely, what if you just sat and conducted business through referrals and inbound leads? Would you be able to nab some of your truly amazing dream clients if you waited for them to come to you?
Cold calling, on the other hand, puts you in a position of power. When you pick up the phone, dial the number, and confidently initiate the conversation, you open the door to new and exciting connections.
So what if you weren't able to talk to the decision-maker of the hottest startup in the business circuits? You might have connected with the Chief of Staff who was enthusiastic about meeting with you and discussing more about your product.
A missed opportunity can turn into a better opportunity but only if it's taken the right way.
Reason 2: It offers a personalized way to reach new customers
The best cold calls begin with thorough research. You gather information about:
- The company
- The person you are calling
- The duties they undertake
- The pain points they have
- The solutions they are responsible for in the company
In other words, you draw up a buyer persona and tweak little details depending on the specific person you are calling.
Again, this is a position of power. Since successful cold callers take time to know their leads, they have a higher chance of getting the responses they want. These include attention, time, and maybe even a coffee meeting.
Remember: there's less than a minute to grab the listener's attention. So, if you mess up the 2 to 3 lines that you choose to speak, the opportunity is as good as gone. Prepare to have your phone number relegated to the spam or block list.
Reason 3: It lets you control the conversation
Since you are the one dialing the phone number after conducting research, you are in control of the conversation.
Sure, the person on the other end might initially be annoyed or apathetic to your call. But you have the power to turn their reaction around by using a personalized cold calling script to build rapport.
For example, a lot depends on whether you speak in a monotone or a warm voice. According to Close, 93% of your potential success in cold calling is determined by the tone of your voice in the conversation.
An interlude: Cold calling brings the power of voice
It goes without saying that nothing beats connecting through voice, except when voice is augmented by video or physical presence. The above three reasons stand true for email campaigns and professional social media channels like LinkedIn. But, the reasons become stronger because they are backed up by voice. Compared to the web, phone calls convert leads 30% faster and bring in 10-15x more revenue.
So, use the power of voice in your favor and gather leads through cold calling like a boss.
How to bring back the fire to cold calling
If you're calling a potential customer and saying, 'Hello, I'm Jason from An Insurance Firm You've Never Heard Of. Is your company interested in safeguarding employees' health? We have the perfect plan for you. Would you like to hear more?'
This cold calling script will only work when the timing of your call coincides with them actively searching for a health insurance provider. Even then, they might have referrals and known insurance firms that they would already be looking at. How will you turn the tide in your favor? Use these tips:
Don't waste time trying to convince people who have no influence or decision-making power. Your call will certainly be fruitless.
Instead, target decision-makers. Since they have the final say on accepting or rejecting something, attempt to convince them directly.
However, since they are usually busy, you will have to make your sales pitch strong. This will require research and personalization so that you can grab their attention and keep them interested in what you have to say.
So, don't be afraid to spend time finding as much as you can about your target decision-maker. The first impression might turn out to be the last one.
Research and personalize your pitch
After deciding the decision-maker you will be cold calling, it's time to work on your pitch. Research and personalization are the two sauces that will elevate your pitch. Use them generously.
LinkedIn is a good friend at this stage. See what you can pick up about your target decision-maker from there. Keep a special eye out for:
- Does their personality seem formal or a mix of formal and casual?
- Have they recently commented on anything that might give you a clue about who they are as a person?
- What are their business interests?
- Do you have anything in common with them that can be used as a talking point?
Fresh with knowledge, begin crafting a personalized sales pitch for them.
Begin your pitch with value
When you think about it, the beginning of your sales pitch is all that you have. You have roughly 10-20 seconds to make an impression and ensure the other person doesn't put down the call. You must begin in a way that captures attention.
The golden principle is: to focus on the benefit that you can bring them and not on what the company can do. Benefits > features.
Pitch with a feature: Hello, I'm Shirley from A Social Media Agency. We handle social media presence for B2B companies and make it more creative and engaging overall. Would you be interested in working with us?
Erm. This can work or sink. There's no telling.
Here's a pitch with a clear-cut benefit: Hello, I'm Shirley from A Social Media Agency. We've increased engagement by 30% in 6 months for X Corp (one of your direct competitors). This resulted in a 12% increase in leads for them. Would you be interested in having a conversation about how we can help drive the same growth for you through social media?
There are several attention-grabbing elements in this pitch: two solid data points, mention of a direct competitor/ relevant company, and the offer of increasing traffic and business.
The conversation will most likely move ahead.
Focus on getting a meeting
This is where most cold callers stumble spectacularly. They go in for the jugular straight away. In other words, they ask for marriage before asking for a first date. No wonder, then, that most cold calls end abruptly or with a no.
Don't go in for the big ask. You do that in a meeting after building rapport. Instead, go for the small ask when cold calling.
In fact, the small ask begins right after the moment you say hello. If you ask your potential customer whether they know how much chatbots are improving CX, you create a small ask. If they say no and wait for you to reveal the number, you have your first small win there!
If you follow up that question with another about their current technology usage and they respond... voila! You have another small win.
These little asks transform into a full-fledged conversation and before you know it, you are at the end of the conversation. Don't ruin your chances by going for the big kill. Instead, offer to have a (video) meeting to discuss their digital capabilities and what might be stopping them from reaching their potential. Focus on them and not you.
The combination of voice + face and the connection they create will strengthen your pitch during the meeting.
Refine your skills with data
Finally, track the performance of your cold calls. You will not be able to improve if you continue in the same vein as you always have.
The best way to process a large number of cold calls is to Wingman. Not only does Wingman record and transcribe phone calls, but it will also analyze them to spot meaningful patterns of rep and customer behavior. Additionally, Wingman can also:
- Provide accurate call recordings and transcripts
- Easily integrate with the tools you use
- Review twice the calls in half the time
- Analyze data with advanced customized filters
Find out more and book a demo here.
Ready to transform cold calling to warm calling?
All it takes is an understanding of how to make cold calling work and a belief in its power. Hopefully, you have both now.
Time to pick up the phone and cold call like the pro you are.