“I was asked to recite this script a hundred times – literally,” said a wide-eyed friend who was a trainee at a call center. A lot of hard work goes into making cold calling a success. A script may be prepared with care, but it must be presented with spontaneity, and it needs to flow as naturally as conversation. The secret to excellent cold calling depends as much on a well-prepared speech as it does on a well-trained speaker. Here are two tips I’ve learned when preparing for a call:
- Select whom to call: Spend time going through past records, websites and other sources of information to make a list of probable clients. If I were to get a call when I am actually in dire need of a particular service, I wouldn’t look upon the call as an interruption; rather, I’d be thankful for the timely help.
- Orchestrate the right time, space and posture for calls: This could include building a routine with a set time frame and a quiet location in which to speak. Some experts say if the caller stands up, she sounds more animated and is more likely to engage the customer.
After all this preparation comes the “real deal.” Here are some ideas and a road map you can use:
Use the first few seconds wisely. Rather than introducing yourself as a salesperson, use the first 10 seconds of the call to mention the person who referred you. It’s advantageous to find someone within the company you already know or to make a connection through a mutual friend, before asking for a referral. If this isn’t possible, you could use the first 10 seconds to congratulate the prospect on her latest achievement or that of the company. If a telephone operator picks up the call, make sure you give adequate information so they can refer you to the right person.
Time management is key. Just as the first few seconds of the call are important in establishing a rapport, so are the next few minutes. Use every second of the call wisely by avoiding too much small talk and remaining focused on the purpose of your call.
Display proper knowledge. Your script/sales pitch should contain a clear description of what you’re offering. You should also try to anticipate any major questions or concerns from your prospect, so you can be ready with thorough explanations and valuable information.
Offer solutions. A good script offers clear-cut solutions and contains multiple options for a potential client. Make sure to allow the professional on the other end time to speak, so you can best address their particular needs.
Call for a meeting. Once you understand a client’s needs, propose an in-depth meeting or separate phone call to discuss specifics. This can be the most difficult part of the call, especially if your prospect isn’t completely sold on your pitch. Client needs should be understood fully. So once you promise a solution, you can call for a meeting to discuss further on what exactly he or she requires. Here are three possible solutions for those prospects who offer a wavering response.
- If the client is busy, ask for a better time.
- If the client is short of cash, ask for a time to discuss what possible services could be offered with limited resources, or collect feedback on when they would need the goods or services.
- If the client is not interested, drop names of well-known clients who’ve benefited from using the caller’s goods and services. You could even offer to meet for coffee, dinner or drinks to further your sales pitch.
Regardless of the outcome, remember not to be deterred by less-than-enthusiastic potential clients. Perseverance and consistently improving your sales pitch will eventually lead to a big win for you and your company.
Madelyn Jade is a branding consultant for Hashtag17 and also a part-time blogger for Fit Small Business. She specializes in areas of online business marketing, content development and digital marketing.