Purchasing a list of targeted sales leads is a great way to identify potential customers for your business, but what is the next step after you have already purchased that list? If your mailing list includes verified phone numbers, a common response is to have your sales representatives begin cold calling that list. Cold calling can be a very effective way to utilize your sales leads. However, the practice of cold calling is often bogged down by outdated techniques that, more often than not, turn off prospects rather than engaging their interest. If you want your sales leads to live up to their full potential, make sure your sales staff doesn’t commit any of these cold calling faux pas.
1. Centering the Conversation around Yourself
People generally are not interested in hearing about the lives of perfect strangers, particularly when this comes in the form of a cold call, which is already an intrusion of sorts. Don’t begin the conversation by telling them what you do and what you can offer; this tactic usually results in the prospect shutting down the conversation before they have even participated in it. Instead, focus on them: What is important to them? What problems or issues would they like to solve? Let them guide the conversation. Use the cold call as a way to learn more about your prospect rather than pushing your product.
2. Automatically Assuming Your Product Is the Perfect Solution
No product is the perfect solution for everybody, so never begin a cold call by enthusiastically asserting that your solution will solve your prospect’s problems. You haven’t even figured out what their problems are yet, let alone whether you will be able to solve them. What’s more, you have made a decision for them without allowing them to go through that decision-making process with you. Let them evaluate the entire situation for themselves and then reach a conclusion with you. This collaborative approach will not only establish a much better relationship between you and the prospect, it will also be more convincing.
3. Focusing Exclusively on Making the Sale
Cold calling with the exclusive goal of making a sale is a big no-no. Prospects can tell when your agenda is self-serving, and the very nature of cold calling means that you have not yet gained their trust. This will put them on the defensive immediately. Yes, we know that you purchased sales leads in order to sell more in the first place, but prospects don’t need to be reminded of that. Focus on solving problems rather than selling. Also, don’t try to push leads to buy on the first call, especially if they are very clearly not ready. Pushing too hard right off the bat usually results in rejection. Follow up a few times; establish a relationship and gain their trust rather than pulling a drive-by cold call.
4. Attempting to Overcome All Objections
Prospects will inevitably have objections; some of them will be entirely justified, and some you will be able to work around. For those whose objections are too big to work with, accept that you need to let some go; as mentioned earlier, no product can be right for everyone, and you shouldn’t be wasting your time on sales leads whose constraints are too big to overcome. However, it is perfectly acceptable to address smaller concerns. In fact, sometimes addressing those objections can lead prospects to open up about what they’re really concerned about.
A general rule of thumb in cold calling is to avoid pressuring prospects. You have no relationship with them, and they have no reason to trust you, so any attempt at pressure or manipulation will usually result in a firm “I’m not interested”. Since you are on their turf, act like their guest. Don’t let your sales leads go to waste due to poor cold calling etiquette. If you avoid these common cold calling mistakes, your sales leads will be much more receptive to your message, and you will most likely see a higher ROI on that marketing list as a result.
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