When a sales person is cold calling prospective clients or customers, the longer the sales person is on the phone where a sale is not imminent, they are actually losing money because they could be calling someone else who may be interested in the purchase. Now, there’s no real way to determine what your cold call to closed sale ratio would be until you start tracking how many sales or appointments you obtained out of the number of calls you made. You should also factor in your call time (i.e. time it took to gain that sale or appointment, time spend leaving messages on voice mails, and time it took you to pitch the product or service where a sale or appointment was not made). Ultimately, when computing whether or not cold calling is effective, you would need to take all factors into consideration, including the present, future, and net value of the customer.
Cold calling is very different than working at a retail location where customers come into the location with the intention of purchasing a product or service. You are not soliciting the customer because they are the one’s that initiated the sale. Instead, with cold calling, your are initiating the solicitation with the customer and trying to get them to purchase a product or service that otherwise is unwanted.
Some sales people are just not comfortable with cold calling, and that’s ok. Your success is really driven by your comfort level, your attitude toward the process, and how you prepare yourself for the process. There are a few basic techniques that should be used when conducting cold calls:
Be prepared – know your product / service.
Create a unique introduction – the more unique your introduction, and the more to-the-point you are, the less likely your prospect will hang up on you.
Ask the right questions – that’s right, you should be asking your prospect questions to gauge their need or desire for your product or service.
Ensure you remain objective about the process and product / service – not every product / service is right for everyone. Keep that in mind as you ‘sell’ to your prospect.
Listen to your prospect – if they’re telling you they aren’t interested, then listen. If you oversell your product / service, then you could really make some people mad. If they don’t understand what you are trying to say, then change your approach and tactic.
Educate your prospect – tell them about your product / service, explain the benefits and advantages.
Keep detailed notes – whether your prospect purchases from you or not, there’s a chance you may want to reach out to that individual again and having detailed notes about what he or she has told you can help you gain an advantage to getting a foothold on a(nother) sale.
With all of that said, there are great ways to break the ice with a prospect. One way that a fellow sales person shared with me once is by saying this when the prospect answers the phone: ““[Company name] is in the area to install [service] in your neighbors’ homes. Did you want to be included in the program?” In this scenario, the prospect will feel as if they will be left out of some great program if they don’t purchase the service. And we all know how no one wants to be left out of anything.
What other unique ways to break the ice have you used?