5 ways to turn a cold call into a warm sales consultation
As anyone knows who needs to make cold calls, getting through to a decision maker isn’t easy. Everyone in sales needs to make cold calls some of the time.
It depends on your pipeline, of course. A pipeline packed with prospects means you’re busy taking calls, arranging meetings and sending out proposals. A quiet pipeline, however, means you need to pick up that phone and start making calls. And even when you are busy, your future self and boss will thank you for continuing to generate new inbound leads.
One of the challenges is that it can take a lot of work to get through to a decision maker.
Fewer people are happy to answer the phone when they don’t recognise the number. Gatekeepers guard the door as much as ever. You’ve got to use a combination of persistence, emails and some social media engagement to get through to the right person. So once you’ve finally got them on the phone, what do you say? Here are five ways to turn a cold call into a consultative sales chat.
#1: Do your homework
Before picking up the phone, know who you want to speak to, their role, and enough about the company to ask the right questions. Never go in without some knowledge.
Better yet, know something about the company. Or demonstrate a connection through your network, or someone they know. Mention companies you’ve worked with - which is ideal if they’re similar in some way to the prospect you are talking to, or a competitor.
#2: Start off positive
Tired, stressed, busy and worrying about hitting target. It’s your typical week in sales.
But don’t open with negativity. On every call, put yourself in a positive mindset. Have something positive you can chat about, mention and best of all, ask them about.
If you don’t know them well and this is the very first time you’ve spoke (or interacted with them at all), then a safe opener that encourages a potential buyer to talk about why you’ve called them: “How’s business?”
Talking about business/work, after something positive, is a gateway towards where the problems are and crucially, how you can solve them.
#3: Frame the conversation
Cold calls can disrupt someone when they’re busy. Assuming someone is happy to keep chatting, a potential buyer wants to know a few essentials:
- Who you are;
- Why you’re calling;
- How much time they might be on the phone.
Although scripts aren’t always the best way to approach a sales call, it is always useful to have this information on your mind. Start with your opening, be positive, frame the call and then move into qualifying questions.
#4: Ask qualifying questions
Successful sales people will gently lead a conversation. This means asking the right questions to make sure they’re a viable prospect.
Give them a chance to ask questions and find out more. Now is your chance to find out how soon they might need your solution, if there is a budget, what next steps might look like. The last thing you want is to put a meeting on your calendar only to find they’re not a viable lead, or the person only answered a call because they were bored.
#5: Demonstrate your solution
As an inside sales executive, your main problem is selling more of your companies products or services. Potential clients don’t care about that. They’ve got their own problems.
After you’ve done your homework and got a potential buyer on the phone, you need to find out what problem your products/services can solve. Ask about aims and objectives, and quickly demonstrate how you’ve got a solution to the challenges they’re facing. If you can do all of that, then you’ve gone from “Hello” to deciding a plan of action in 10 to 15 minutes.