Preparation is an important part of cold-call selling.
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But what else can you do to take your cold-calling selling skills to a new level? Here's our take on the top five cold-calling tips every sales person should have in their arsenal.
A lot of sales reps view cold-calls as one-shot opportunities. The only measure of success is whether or not they were able to close a sale during an initial contact with a previously unknown buyer. However, successful cold-callers have learned that the initial contact isn't about making the sale – it's about building a relationship with a potential customer. Refocusing your efforts from closing to relationship-building relieves some of the pressure, and increases the odds that your cold calls will ultimately bear fruit.
Look for Common Ground
Human beings have a tendency to establish new relationships based on common backgrounds and experiences. Think about it: When you meet someone at a cocktail party, your first questions are things like, "Where do live?", "What do you do?", or "Where did you go to school?" Cold calls work the same way. Instead of trying to overpower them with facts, look for business-related things you have in common and use them as an entry point for a seller-buyer relationship.
Learn How to Listen
Most people are much better at talking than they are at listening, so assume the person you are cold-calling would rather talk to you than listen to what you have to say. It might take some practice, but good listeners know how to make other people feel like they are genuinely interested in them and their business. When your new client is talking, try not to focus on what you're going to say when it's your turn to speak. Instead, listen for clues that can provide insight into his company's current and future needs.
Even good listeners have to say something sooner or later. When it's finally your turn to talk, don't waste your time ramming product info down your prospect's throat. Since the first call is about initiating a relationship (rather than closing a sale), use your talking time to ask questions and gather information that will be useful later in the sales cycle.
Sell Your Credentials
When you introduce yourself to a cold-call prospect, it's appropriate to tell him who you are and what you are selling. Although you may have opportunities to provide more information about your products later in the conversation, don't focus on selling the product during the first meeting. There will be plenty of time for that later. For now, focus on selling your credentials, experience, and track record in customer satisfaction.
Launch the Sales Cycle
If everything goes as planned, your prospect will be primed to enter your company's sales cycle after the cold call has been completed. Ideally, the information you gathered will be enough to qualify the prospect, so the sales cycle entry point will be nailing down a second meeting to formally present your product.