For years, business owners have relied on cold calling as a strategy. It’s vital to remember that cold calling is unsolicited, and most call recipients have never heard of the company calling them.
Although it might be beneficial to spread the word about your company to new individuals, persuading them to buy your products or services can be difficult. People are being more frugal with their money than ever before as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. They may not be interested in hearing your pitch if they haven’t contacted your company or aren’t looking for your products or services. In this article let’s look at what cold calling is, its efficacy and various essentials of Cold Call Opening Lines.
What is Cold Calling?
A cold call refers to the call made by a sales rep to a lead who has had little to no prior contact with the company or the individual making the call. The person receiving a cold call may have had a previous interaction with the firm, be on a list gained through attendance at an event, or be an employee of a company that the salesman is targeting as a client. A Cold Call is a common method of b2b sales.
A sales representative will make a cold call to initiate first contact with a lead, introduce themselves, follow up on a previous conversation, or market their products or services. The true definition of a cold call is often misunderstood, with many people believing that a salesperson is just dialing numbers in the hopes of getting someone to answer so that they can pitch their product or service. Cold calling, however, is a sort of outreach in which sales teams strive to contact leads in their database who aren’t actively reaching out to or in contact with them.
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Most of the time, the caller only has access to basic information about the lead, such as name, company, and job title, making it extremely difficult to establish actual value during the conversation. Therefore, before making the call, sales staff can use corporate research and buyer profiles to figure out what problems the prospect is having and what their unique concerns are.
Since cold-calling demands time and in most cases the negative responses outnumber the positive ones, the efficiency of this marketing tactic is often questioned.. On the other hand, cold calling has advantages such as rapid feedback, a personal connection, a decreased risk of being rejected, and accessibility. It is a reasonably inexpensive technique for newer businesses to engage potential customers and generate leads.
Best Cold Call Opening Lines
The first couple of seconds in a cold call are significant. You must pique prospects’ interest in the first 15-20 seconds in order for them to stay on the line and listen to you. And you’ll need a terrific starting phrase to execute it right.
We live in a world where people are urged to “hurry up and get to the point.” Customers are too busy to listen to you. However, besides being busy, they are most likely receiving hundreds of cold calls each week, some of which may be from your direct competitors! So what makes you think they’d want to listen to you, let alone talk to you?
Below are some of the best practices that are most effective tried-and-tested cold call openers that can be the best way to start your conversation. Here are some of the most effective cold call opening lines.
#1. “I didn’t catch you at a bad time, did I?”
People generally answer “no” to these kinds of questions out of social etiquette. Not only does asking the question admit that your prospects are busy, but it also communicates that you respect their time and won’t take up too much of it. This starting statement is similar to ‘Did I catch you at a bad time?’ but has a more positive tone. When you use this as your opening phrase, you are enticing the prospect to answer with a “No,” allowing you to speak and request a meeting.
So, when you start with “Hello Jeremy, it’s Katy from XYZ Company. I didn’t catch you at an inappropriate time, did I?” The prospect is most likely to say “No”, which will allow you to continue the conversation. For a successful cold call, you need to know the call opening lines that work.
Another way to open a cold call in a similar manner is, “Ben, did I get you at a good time, sir?” If you phrase this confidently, 90% of people will reply yes or hint at yes. Here’s why this opening line has a high likelihood of working: 90% of individuals will say yes before you even introduce yourself. You’ve put them in a position where they can’t get out of the call, and even if they don’t want to talk to you, you can still conclude your chat with them.
#2. “Hi, we’ve never spoken or met before” – The Honest Approach
This may appear to be an odd approach to begin a conversation. Why would somebody want to talk to a random stranger they’ve never met before? But, with this first line, you’re definitely getting off on the proper foot. After all, trust is the foundation of every potential connection, and if you can create it early on, you’ll be golden.
If you can build a sense of trust and honesty from the beginning, you’ll be on your way to a solid strategy that will benefit your company in the long run. Total honesty is a breath of fresh air in an industry where marketers use intrigue, cunning, and other sorts of deception to entice prospects.
9 out of 10 individuals will be more than happy to listen to you if you approach them head-on, without any angles or intentions. Furthermore, for better or worse, prospects will find it easier to reciprocate the honesty.
#3. Stroke their Ego with “I was hoping you could help me with something.”
People like to feel important, and it’s a reality of life. We’re all a little egotistical. So, if you ask someone for assistance, they will gladly provide it. Particularly if they believe they are the only guy or woman qualified for the position.
When someone asks for help, individuals are more likely to listen first, even if they have no intention of going out of their way to assist. If your prospects believe they are contributing to a greater/noble cause, they will be more likely to listen and engage. You can go on to add, “I am so glad that I could reach you.
#4. The Competition Cold Call Opener
The phrase may start like,
“Hi, Jonathan, this is Susan from ABC Company. I’m calling because we recently helped competitor 1, competitor 2, and competitor 3 avoid (XYZ problem) while at the same time gain (common benefit).” or
“Hi Jonathan, it’s Susan at XYZ Company. I help companies just like yours (what product/services you give). I’m wondering how you’re using (your type of product/service) in your (their particular workflow or process)?”
These cold call openers should use a multi-faceted approach to gain a competitive edge:
- For starters, it humanizes your prospects and proves that you can assist them with an issue they may be experiencing in their current position.
- It, therefore, indicates that their competitors have an advantage over them because they sell a similar product/similar to yours. If your prospect’s rival has leverage that your prospect doesn’t (that addresses an issue they have), they’re more likely to listen to what you have to offer.
- Finally, asking your prospects how they use the product you’re offering forces them to think about what they’re lacking in their workflow (and how they can fix that with your help). This can also help you identify your pain points.
#5. “Hi, can you hear me okay?”
This is one of the best cold call opening phrase that plays on the human mind’s inquisitiveness. Even if your target doesn’t generally engage with cold callers, this opener pushes them to answer “Yes.” while also piquing their interest in what they need to hear okay. Furthermore, you don’t put your listener on the defensive right away, making them more willing to listen to you. However, while virtually everyone will say yes, this opener tends to elicit a mixed response.
When they learn who you are and what you want, a large number of prospects may hang up after the second line. Try to follow up the opener with a pitch that lives up to the suspense and excitement you’ve created. A lot of people will feel cheated if this does not happen.
#6. “Hey, how have you been?”
Even without any prior communication, asking a prospect how they’re doing makes them feel like an old friend. And, because most people are courteous, they’ll be more likely to listen if they believe they know you.
Prospects are put off by the question “How have you been?” since they believe it could only come from someone they know personally. And this is an excellent way to begin a phone sales call if you want to establish yourself as the one in charge of the conversation.
You KNOW the prospect is going to be hostile to your pitch. Prospects will respond in a way to prevent you from uttering your next words once they know what you’re going to say next (because they realize this is a sales call). However, starting with “How have you been?” gives prospects too much to consider. This will give you time to move forward with your pitch.
Best Practices To Start A Cold Call
The opening of a sales call is the simplest part. It’s the part of the call when you’re not under any obligation to make things work. If someone says “no thanks” before you’ve spoken with him for five minutes, he’ll have saved you a lot of time later on.
However, knowing how to start a sales call is crucial; you want to increase the odds that the person on the other end of the line would want to hear more from you. Read on to find out the best call-opening practices.
1. Greet them
Many prospects consider sales calls to be background noise, and they tune out any calls they don’t expect. If your greeting is warm enough (as if it were from an old friend), you may be able to get them to halt long enough to think about what you’re saying.
Using their name as the first line acknowledges the prospect. The sound of our name is hard-wired into our brains, and this greeting establishes a sense of familiarity and respect.
“How have you been?” is preferable to “how are you?” since it interrupts the rhythm. The prospect will be left wondering if they’ve met you previously, which may provide you with an opportunity to prolong the conversation. Keep in mind, though, that some prospects may perceive such a nice greeting as deception, so try your best to get right to the subject after the greeting.
2. Be confident
You might have prepared some of the best cold call openers decked up, ready to shoot. However, if you come out as insecure, you’ll just decrease your chances of success. Always go into a call knowing the odds are stacked against you. Make an effort to develop a thicker skin and forget about rejection and failure.
3. Show humanity
To begin creating a relationship with your prospects, you must first establish trust. And the best cold call opening lines can assist you in doing so by emphasizing humanity — even your own.
Focus on empathy, having a sense of humor, and acknowledging your flaws in instances like misspoken words to show that you aren’t just some noise or digital pollution. All of these qualities help you become more approachable and relatable.
4. Keep it short and clear
Most individuals, like you, can instantly detect a sales call when they receive one. As a result, don’t be shocked if their defenses grow soon.
That’s why, before your prospects lose patience, you need to go right to the point. The longer you beat around the bush, the more time they have to determine whether or not to call back.
Also, making a call to someone you don’t know might be nerve-wracking. People that are nervous speak hurriedly. Take a moment to slow down and make sure potential customers comprehend what you’re saying when you’re speaking.
5. Make it Personal
Being nice and personal is another important aspect of a great cold call opening. Of course, you may not know personal information about the client, such as their name or profile. However, the more information you can gather about your recipients, the better your chances of making a genuine connection.
If you can’t locate any information about a prospect on social media, consider categorizing them based on their buyer personas.
6. Strike up a Conversation
Small talk is one approach to humanize oneself and establish rapport, but only if you’ve done your homework will it come off as genuine. Mention something in common casually, such as:
“You’re from Tucson, I saw. Funnily enough, my wife and I actually met at the University of Arizona.”
You can continue the conversation from there if they are familiar with the university — or, even better, if they have attended the university. Keep in mind, though, that you should value your prospect’s time as much as possible. If you ramble too long, they’ll lose track of why you’re calling.
7. Showcase you research
When there’s some personalization on the other end of the line, prospects are less likely to stop you in your tracks. Try something like this to start the conversation:
“According to my assessment, your organization is in the midst of…”
This suggests that you’re interested in them and that you’ve taken the effort to think of a cause to call. It also suggests that you aren’t immediately trying to sell them something.
8. Bring up issues
When it comes to your prospect’s rivals, they are likely to have some of the same problems as your prospect. Your prospect is probably aware of these issues, and resolving them can provide you with a competitive advantage. An introduction like this can be beneficial in some cases:
“We’ve been working with a few similar-sized businesses in your field, and they’re having two main issues. I was wondering if they were bothering you as well…”
This captivates your prospect’s attention because they’ll be curious as to what those issues are and if they’re experiencing them as well.
9. Bring up information from LinkedIn
When it comes to research, you may learn a lot from a prospect’s LinkedIn profile:
“I noticed on your LinkedIn company page that one of your big projects this year is…”
You’re interested in talking about something of value to them rather than just selling your products and services by referencing their LinkedIn page and corporate goals. Keep in mind that you’ll need a strategy for transitioning into a sales conversation from there.
Preparing a Cold Calling Script
All successful businesses have a few things in common: they follow a clear course of action that is specialized for your organization, implemented, assessed, and optimized to ensure complete performance.
Creating sales call scripts for your client outreach activities is a great example of this. If you tried to come up with a new technique for each prospecting call, you’d waste untold amounts of time simply to get to the same spot you’d be if you’d started with a template.
Given below are some steps you can imbibe while preparing a sales call script
1. Identify your sectors
First of all, you must determine who you are the customers you would be calling. Your time is valuable; don’t waste it on leads who aren’t a suitable fit for your services. Consider your best customers (or those with whom you’ve had the most success in the past) and seek common characteristics.
Perhaps your sectors are hospitality and retail, for example. Maybe they’re in the finance and banking industry. You’re ready to go on to step 2 once you’ve determined which sectors to target.
2. Research Target
Now that you’ve identified the target sector, you can start enlisting the players of those sectors to create personalized scripts. Writing personalized scripts entails conducting research on your target and learning about their pain issues as well as the type of opportunity they are seeking. When writing a cold calling script, research and personalization are very vital.
The amount of detail you can go into while studying your topic is determined by several factors. If your sales staff needs a script to help them make several calls each day, studying each lead individually may not be feasible. You can still personalize sales pitches to certain segments of your consumer base in this case.
If you give services to both investment bankers and accountants, for example, you can build general scripts that address the demands of each group of clients.
3. Show how your products will benefit them
Now that you know a little more about your leads, you can consider how your product might assist them and structure these benefits in a way that they will understand.
A firm that provides accounting services to small businesses or freelancers could position its service as a cost-effective value proposition that helps the prospect to focus on growing their business.
When targeting larger, more established organizations, on the other hand, the same firm could position its service as extra assistance with specific responsibilities, such as mergers or tax season. It’s a plus if you can offer data or case studies to demonstrate how you’ve previously assisted companies like theirs.
4. Ask relevant questions
Finding out more about the lead is an important element of a sales call. In a manner that general research is unlikely to allow, this allows you to adapt your sales efforts to their individual problem.
In addition, ask the prospect such questions that makes them feel that they are a part of the sales conversation. It provides the sense that the salesperson is collaborating with them rather than merely selling a product.
The type of inquiry you ask will be determined by the service or product you provide. Once you’ve identified your lead’s issues, you can concentrate the rest of your sales efforts on demonstrating how your solution addresses them and it will also help you identify whether you are pursuing the right person.
5. Consider Possible Rebuttals
Objection handling is an important aspect of any sales process. As a result, taking into account consumer objections is an important aspect of any sales script.
The specific objections you’ll need to overcome may vary depending on where you are in the sales process. Price, for example, can be a huge deterrent, but it is unlikely to be so on an introductory call because you are unlikely to get down to talking about pricing.
Instead, be prepared for the lead to be unsure about the value your product delivers or if they believe that an existing solution they already pay for covers what your service provides. This will help build trust and increase the chances to make a sale.
6. Get Feedback and Practice
Finally, in order to prepare an all-round sales script, obtain feedback and practice. Also, don’t forget to thank them for their time.
Practicing the script does not imply that you must memorize it word for word. It involves understanding how it can assist you in various scenarios. Knowing this will offer you an advantage when it comes to properly responding to situations.
Additionally, seeking feedback from people in your department or company may reveal lacunas and areas where your script can be improved. A customer success manager, for example, may have noticed that a specific segment of your consumers finds a particular feature of your product particularly beneficial. If this is the case, including it in your script would be a smart idea.
Bonus tip – Try looking up how to say your prospect’s name. Hearing their name butchered by some fast-talking rep irritates individuals and makes them less likely to listen, which is why this step is critical.
Some Facebook and LinkedIn users use a feature that tells you how to pronounce their names. If your prospect hasn’t included this feature in their profile, use PronounceNames.com to get a sense of how to pronounce their name. If you’re still unsuccessful, simply inquire, “I’d like to double-check that I’m saying your name correctly. What is the correct way to say it?”
Top Sales Calls tips for best results
Below given are some tips for making your call go as smoothly as possible.
During the qualification step of your sales process, you may have already addressed pricing because you needed to see if they had the financial resources. However, this sales call may be the first time you’ve discussed pricing in detail.
If that’s the case, reserve it for the end of the call after you’ve established the worth of your product or service. The pricing should appear reasonable now that the prospect understands how much value it will deliver.
Don’t bad-mouth the competitors
During a sales call, the most self-destructive mistake is to criticize a competitor. Because of a psychological quirk known as “spontaneous trait transference,” research has revealed that when you speak negative things about someone else, your audience embodies you with those attributes.
Even if you know that you are talking about a third party, if you suggest your opponent is low quality and untrustworthy, the potential client will automatically associate those attributes with you. So, no matter what, always say “no comment” when it comes to competitor gossip.
Highlighting specific words or phrases is a powerful communication tool that can help you better communicate your ideas. Pay attention to your inflection, especially when leaving voicemails. You sound more passionate and articulate, and hence more convincing, by adding emphasis to the correct words.
Simplify the alternatives
Buyers can easily become perplexed by too many options, making it difficult for them to choose, rationalize, and confirm a purchasing decision. Information overload is rarely beneficial unless you’re a data analytics engine.
Reduce the number of alternatives and features you want the prospect to focus on while describing your product. They will be able to make a decision more quickly and be more confident that they are not losing out on anything.
Involve yourself in the process
It’s a two-way street when it comes to selling. Even though you take care of your customers, you won’t get as far as you could if you don’t work on your sales abilities and attitude. Customers trust and warm up to business contacts who are experts in their field.
Train to be the greatest at what you do so that customers can recognize how exceptional your solutions are. To challenge yourself and your team:
- Think large and establish higher goals.
- Organize your goals into a series of mini-goals that gradually become more difficult.
- Start with the easier ones to build a track record of accomplishment that will give you the momentum, confidence, and enthusiasm you need to tackle more difficult goals later.
Observe, evaluate, and predict.
Much of science includes observing, recording your findings, and developing predictions based on your findings. A similar mechanism regulates sales.
The goal is to keep your talking time to a minimum and pay attention to what your prospects have to say. Continue to engage them in conversation and keep an eye on what they’re doing. Based on their statements, determine their needs. Create and provide a solution that directly solves their issues. Make sure you ask the proper questions. Look for answers that are relevant and pay attention. That is exactly what top-notch selling requires.
Voicemails may seem ancient in today’s digital world, but they’re a clever way to stay top-of-mind with your prospect when they check their messages. When your prospects’ email inboxes are full on a daily basis, leave a voicemail.
Even your cold calling script can be modified to work with voicemail. Remember to introduce yourself, your organization, and the need you want to solve with them by name. Don’t try to sell anything on the phone; simply give them enough information to pique their attention.
Be a good conversationalist
It’s easy to get caught up in the conversation, but make sure you’re paying attention to the reactions of the prospect. Replicate what they say about their organization or aims when it’s suitable. This allows you to better understand what they said and communicates to the prospect that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say.
Avoiding ‘Yes or no’ questions will also help you gain insightful information. Open-ended questions, especially when asking about the prospect’s pain areas and ambitions, will keep the conversation continuing.
Be motivated and remember your why
Cold calling can quickly become monotonic. Calling, reading the script, requesting for the next call, and then repeating the whole process can wear you down, but don’t let it. Remember why you enjoy doing what you do when you’re trying to get through the last few calls of the week.
Always keep your why in mind, whether it’s a picture of your family on your desk, an inspiring letter from a colleague, or an encouraging phrase from a leader. Your why will keep you motivated on those incredible days when you’re closing deals left and right, and on those slower days when you can’t quite get into your stride.
Cold Calling Mistakes to Avoid
Cold calling can be a difficult game to master at times. You’re certain that your product is a hit with everyone. In terms of your role as a sales representative, you have a fantastic pitch that you consider your secret weapon for securing new business. But when it comes to making the cold call, you get a lot of rejections. You might be wondering if all of the hype about cold calling’s efficacy is true.
Read on to find out the mistakes you might be making in your cold call.
1. Sounding too personal and intimate
One of the most critical aspects of cold calling is deciding on your tone when speaking with your prospect. If sounding forceful and arrogant irritates your prospects, so does sounding overly intimate. You must maintain a level of distance that is neither arrogant nor close. Even as ice-breakers and conversation starters, personal questions (such as how are you? Or, more importantly, how is your family doing?) might be off-putting.
To avoid this, make a recording of your voice and analyze your errors. Don’t be content with the status quo. Try out different greetings, introductions, pitches, questions, and so on to determine what works best.
Instead of finding your way forward and asking whatever comes to mind, keep the conversation relevant by asking questions about what’s needed. Make sure you’ve done your homework on the prospect, identified their worries and needs, and tailored your script to answer them.
2. Using a static cold call list
Cold calling has long been thought of as a realistic prospecting approach for immediately reaching a large number of possible buyers. Many business owners buy a list of prospects to call, and their sales representatives run down the list and introduce the company’s product as soon as the phone rings.
This strategy, though, is the quickest way to get rejected. Static prospect lists are typically based on a few broad criteria, such as revenue size, employee count, or geography. As a result, salespeople waste a lot of time talking to customers who aren’t ready to buy.
3. Not building a rapport
Whether or not salespeople follow a sales script, sounding scripted during cold calls is a common problem. It’s difficult to strike up a conversation with a salesperson who sounds like they’re reading from a script. When you don’t sound like a robot, you’ll find it much easier to establish rapport.
Today’s salesmen must be relevant and helpful. From the minute you pick up the phone, keep the conversation focused on your prospect. Instead of presenting a sales pitch, explain how you can assist them—you should already be aware of their existing wants and circumstances.
4. Following up the wrong customers
Cold calling’s Holy Grail is follow-up calls because closing a deal on the first cold call is nearly impossible. Only after the fifth follow-up, 80% of deals are finalized. However, just as there is a red line for when and how you should follow up with your prospects, there is one for when and how you should follow up with them. You can’t just pick up the phone and call all of the prospects who didn’t work out.
In some instances, the rejection is so stinging that you believe the prospect isn’t the ideal person to contact again. You may recognize this after having a conversation with them and discovering that their concerns could not be handled (they might have unreasonable expectations such as a huge price cut) or they simply don’t require your product/service.
5. Asking closed questions
Closed questions (those that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”) allow prospects to get off the phone quickly. They make it more difficult for you, the caller, to keep the conversation going since you have to work more to keep it going. Some examples of closed questions are, “Do you want me to explain this feature to you?” or “Do you want any clarification?”
Open-ended questions (those that can’t be replied with a simple “yes” or “no”) have the opposite effect, since they make it more difficult for prospects to end a call abruptly and make it simpler to engage them. That’s how you move forward and close deals. Make use of open-ended inquiries! “What are your major business goals and priorities right now?” and “What opportunities do you see coming up in the future?”
Make sure you’re paying attention and not running through the questions like a robot. Since responses to open-ended inquiries frequently lead to irrelevant detours, you should have a strategy in place to keep the conversation continuing in unforeseen situations.
6. Not knowing your product thoroughly
It should go without saying that you should know everything about your product inside and out. If you can’t answer people’s inquiries, how can you hope to earn their trust? Reps who make cold calls on a regular basis are prone to overlooking product updates and new developments.
However, with customers knowing more than ever before, sales agents must know every element of a product inside and out to have more interesting interactions that result in sales. If a salesperson is doing a product demonstration, he or she should be prepared to answer any unexpected questions promptly and address any objections in real-time. Thorough knowledge of your product will encourage your client to trust you more.
In order to master anything, one must keep practicing and learning. Similarly, if you want to get successful, you must learn to accept rejections, learn from your mistakes and continue learning.
- Keep track of your progress – the more time you spend on a call at the start, the better. The more time you spend updating manually, the less time you have to examine and improve.
- Learn from and with your colleagues – Sharing your call metrics with your coworkers can generate a sense of accountability and they can often provide meaningful comments, depending on your choice and work environment.
And finally, enjoy the process. Sales isn’t a one-time affair. An excellent way to proceed is to take small efforts toward the finest version of you. Cold calling, with its objections, rejections, and dealing with upset prospects, is enough to put anyone’s character to the test. However, you’re more likely to succeed if you keep a positive attitude by viewing each call objectively as a learning opportunity.