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5 Cold Calling Secrets to Level up Your Sales Reps

Cold calling is a crucial part of the job for many salespeople, helping them keep the pipeline topped off with valuable leads.

But that doesn’t mean they find it easy. In fact, a lot of reps find it extremely difficult. Research shows 48% of sales professionals feel afraid to pick up the phone and make cold calls. Likely because of this, a further 53% give up on cold calling too easily.

Part of the problem is a lack of training. Simply put, most organizations don’t give their reps the knowledge and skills to do cold calling effectively. While 76% of companies provide training on outbound prospecting, 46% only hold these sessions once a year, and 28% exclusively run them for new starters as part of the initial onboarding process.

Clearly, there’s room for improvement here. With just a little extra effort and focus, you can help your team step up their cold calling efforts. Here’s how to make it happen.

1. Create an effective cold calling script

Even if your outbound sales team only makes a handful of calls a day, it’s still absolutely essential that they have an effective cold calling script to lean on. Cold calling scripts make that initial call so much easier because they provide a clear and repeatable structure, which means less time spent thinking (and worrying) about what will happen when the prospect answers the phone.

However, using a cold calling script isn’t about repeating the exact same sentences to every single prospect. They shouldn’t be too prescriptive; you don’t want to turn smart salespeople into unthinking drones.

Instead, your scripts should give reps the opportunity to put their own stamp on each conversation, while providing an overarching structure and a few punchy pieces of messaging to help them make the biggest possible impact.

In reality, every rep already uses some form of script. They all have one or two variants on a classic introduction or an elevator pitch for your product, and they likely have pre-prepared answers to a lot of the frequently asked questions they hear. Your task is simply to gather their shared wisdom together into a formalized document and fine-tune it. That’s your script.

2. Do your homework

Cold outreach becomes infinitely easier when your reps feel like they understand the prospects they’re calling, know about their goals and pain points, and have a clear idea of the messaging most likely to compel those prospects to take action. The good news is that they can find most, if not all, of this information through a little pre-call research.

By taking the time to check out a prospect’s LinkedIn profile, read the company’s blog, and search for big developments in their industry, your reps will be better placed to catch and hold the attention of the person at the other end of the line. It also makes for a more personalized experience for your prospects, which proves that you’re serious about selling to them.

On the other hand, failing to prepare adequately makes your reps appear unprofessional and disinterested, which will almost always result in a bad call. A quick tip, salespeople should always check their CRM when preparing for a call to see if the prospect in question has been contacted by the company before (and if so, what happened).

3. Spend time rehearsing cold calling techniques

When you think about it, fear of cold calling is really about fear of the unknown. Reps don’t know what to expect when they first speak to a new prospect:

  • Will they yell at me? 
  • Will they be rude? 
  • Will they call me out?

So it stands to reason that roleplaying with a colleague or manager can remove some of the fear from sales calls by helping reps feel better prepared. If you’ve ever done roleplaying before, you’ll know how painfully awkward it can feel. However, you can use that to your advantage, because it can make the “real thing” seem a lot more appealing.

There are more practical benefits to roleplaying, too. In particular, it presents your reps with the perfect opportunity to discuss best practices and troubleshoot common challenges. After all, if one salesperson has found an especially effective way to overcome a specific objection or pitch your product to a certain audience, wouldn’t you want their colleagues to hear about it?

4. Start adding value straight away

Let’s get one thing straight about cold calling. Whether you’re attempting to upsell or cross-sell an existing client, or you’re reaching out to a new prospect for the first time, you’re ultimately interrupting their day. This is another big reason cold-calling fear exists. No one wants to feel like an annoyance.

However, “interrupting” and “annoying” aren’t necessarily the same thing. If a rep calls someone out of the blue and immediately starts pitching, that’s definitely both an interruption and an annoyance. But if they’re able to add genuine value that helps the prospect overcome a challenge or identify a problem they didn’t know existed, that’s far from annoying.

In short, when your reps have something valuable to say, a lot of prospects will be only too happy to hear from them and it will be easier to generate valuable leads. To make this happen, salespeople need to steer clear of simply listing product features and benefits. Instead, they should offer specific solutions to the real-world problems their prospects are facing.

Got a free tool or a useful piece of content that would make a prospect’s life easier? Mention it early in the call and share it with them.

5. Use a sales dialer

If your reps aren’t already using a sales dialer, they definitely should be, because they’re a huge time-saver. Not only can they dial numbers faster and more accurately than a salesperson could ever manage, but they often come equipped with a host of other helpful tools that add further benefits, such as:

  • Call queuing: Call queues help reps prioritize discussions with high-value prospects, which can make your sales team more efficient. 
  • CRM integration: By integrating with your CRM, sales dialers ensure all your call data and contact information ends up in the same place, streamlining your sales workflow and helping your team draw insights from the data your reps capture.
  • Local area code matching: Some sales dialers are capable of replicating an area code that matches the prospect’s location. That’s extremely helpful because calls from unknown areas are often ignored or rejected.
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Written by Luke Fitzpatrick

Luke Fitzpatrick is an academic speaker at Sydney University. He enjoys writing about tech, productivity, lifestyle, and is a contributor to Forbes.

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