5 Opening Tips That Will Turn Your Cold Calls Red Hot

There’s a very popular misconception kicking around the world of sales at the moment that cold calling is dead. So cold is the cold call, we’re all told, that it’s effectively frozen and has floated away like a giant telephone-shaped iceberg. While it may be tempting to buy into this as a theory given the technological advances that have pushed modern business to bigger and better things in recent times, it would be rather foolish to do so.

We understand the limitations of many traditional sales techniques and this blog isn’t here to tell you that unsolicited phone calls are the best way to make sales and close deals. In fact, we’re well aware that cold calling statistics show that only 1% of calls lead to sales and less than 30% lead to conversations. That’s not to say that cold calling is a dead art though…

And cold calling is an art. Sure, the scripts your telephone sales staff use are unlikely to make it into The Louvre any time soon, but the thing is – cold calling done wrong is a complete waste of time, resources and budget. But carried out effectively, by a savvy sales professional, cold calling can lead to a positive financial outcome.

The difference between a bad cold call that does nothing but annoy the person on the other end of the line and a cold call that positively impacts your business, lies in your opening line.

Here are our five favourite tips to kick off your cold call.

Consider the basics
First of all, remember it’s a phone call above all else. Ask yourself a couple of quick questions. How do people conduct telephone conversations? What irritates you about speaking on the phone, to a salesperson or otherwise? We’re talking brass tacks here. Don’t speak too fast. Don’t interrupt the person. Make sure you’re clear and concentrating on the call (under NO circumstances should you try and multitask on a call, for instance).

Personalise your approach
Nobody likes to think of themselves as ‘a number’ or ‘a lead’. Running straight into your pitch without any rapport is likely to put the person off. Slip in some early personalisation. Keep it subtle, but at least let them know that you know who they are and where they work. Being generic in your opener is likely to isolate your prospect and they’ll quickly shut down.

Tie your call in with an event
“I understand you’re exhibiting at ExPo 2018…”, “Your new product range is just out…” Whatever the ‘trigger event’, try and work it into your opening spiel. It legitimises the call and gives you a reason to be in touch. Your call is instantly a lot warmer and far more likely to start a conversation than a bland, impersonal opener.

Research, research, research
Nine times out of ten salespeople do little to no research before following up on a lead. Sure, they know their own product range, but the person on the other end of the phone is just a name and number to them. We live in The Age of Information now and Google is your friend. There’s plenty of things you can find out online that can help you connect with your sales prospect and get them talking.

Get an invite
Salespeople are vampires. No, we don’t mean that you all suck. What we mean is that you need to be invited in. Inviting yourself into a conversation won’t work. You need to get the lead to effectively give you permission to pitch to them. Say for instance they’ve no time for the call. You can counter with, “I understand completely – when might be a better time to speak with you?” Sure this isn’t guaranteed to work, but there’s a good chance you’ll get given a time. And that’s your invitation. What started as a cold call is now a rescheduled warm call.

Don’t open with a lie
Ideally you wouldn’t need to lie during your call at all. But starting with a fib is particularly poor form. Pretending that you’re ‘just doing a survey’ or similar is disingenuous and not a good look for you or your company. So don’t start with, “I’m not trying to sell anything, I promise…”

Follow some of these tips and we’re sure you’ll see a boost in the number of cold calls that lead to a conversation at the very least.

If you want to further up your telesales game, why not check out our list of top sales voicemails tips next?

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