How Can You Warm Up A Cold Call?

Cold calling is something that, if done right, can transform the revenue of your business. A lot of this has to do with the fact that you are able to make contact with many people in a short space of time. In addition, you get to talk to these businesses and establish a human connection. This counts for a lot when you are trying to secure new revenue.

All of the ideas I am presenting here are true and they work in the field.

Benefits make a warm call warmer

One thing that is really important when you’re cold calling is to have a piece of paper nearby that outlines two or three key benefits to your product or service. I am not advocating using a script here by any means, but you should always have two or three key benefits that you can draw on if the call becomes something that turns quickly warm.

If the prospect seems to be interested, you need to start laying the benefits out in front of them. This works a lot better than having a full script that many people read robotically. Even if you practised your script for hours on end, it will always seem like a script. Having just a few points to draw on when you are talking to a prospect that is interested pays off.

Decision makers make cold calls worthwhile

I know that this sounds like it’s really obvious, but it is absolutely vital that you only ever present to the decision maker. This is really easy with a small business prospect, because you will almost always get into touch with the owner before anyone else. In larger businesses, you may have to spend some time trying to find your way to the right person to talk to. It takes considerable persistence with larger businesses.

But persist you must. There is only one person that can actually buy from you and that is the person who makes decisions about how the business is run. While this may be at director level with the larger business, you will still find it difficult to do anything at all unless you’re speaking to somebody who has a budget.

You will be rejected with cold calling. Get over it

Be ready to take rejection. Research has shown that at least 30% of the calls you make will result in people not buying anything from you, no matter what you do. This is not because they don’t like you, they just are not in the mood to buy or they don’t have any need for your product or service. So never, ever take this personally.

Another 30% of people you call will be happy to talk to you and have a nice discussion but they may not necessarily even consider buying your product or service. Again, it takes some skill to work out who these people are, and you usually find out by the second call, after you have sent an email or letter etc.

The last 40% of your sales calls consists of people who are actually going to buy from you. This does not mean they do it immediately, but they will do it if you persist and use all your skills in telemarketing.

Cold calls are just the beginning. If you develop some relationships with skill over time, you will hit that 40% and you will benefit from that 40%.

How To Master Cold Calling Today

I have recently upped my telemarketing efforts, and it has been a particularly pleasing experience. I’ve found out a few truths about telemarketing, along with some cold calling techniques, that have now given me a strong focus on how to improve results and also improve my overall approach to marketing in general.

Last week I achieved two sales from probably five hours of telemarketing. I hesitate to call it telesales because I generally avoid the full sales approach. That is not to say that, as time goes on, I won’t see the value in employing people to literally sell heavily on the phones.

I spoke to someone this week and we both agreed the telephone as a sales and marketing instrument is far from dead. I am effectively using cold calling techniques when I pick up the phone to do what I do, but there are two clear benefits that make this cold calling attractive to me right now:

  • I can make contact with a large number of prospects, quickly
  • I can talk to them, which allows for real, personal communication

So I like cold calling, if we are going to call it that.

I’ve put together some tips and thoughts on cold calling techniques, stuff I’ve learned over the last few days. Already this is all becoming very apparent to me. Call it insight if you will. Whatever it is, all of the following is true.

Don’t go in hard with cold calling

This is the basis to good cold calling techniques. While you shouldn’t act like a wet blanket, your main aim should be to develop a conversation. Remember that cold calling is an automatic disruption of someone’s day. Be conversational and genuine. Don’t be a salesperson. They died out with the dinosaurs. Be a professional who wants to introduce a professional product or service.

Relax. What you do is amazing. It will find a buyer. So don’t sell it to death. Just talk about it and find your way to the sale naturally.

You will never be able to force a sale. So don’t try.

Use your voice as a cold calling weapon

Your voice is a precision tool. A weapon if you will. It should be part of your raft of successful cold calling techniques. Vary it’s tone and pitch. Slow it down and speed it up. Speak quietly now and then.

I met an accountant the other day who talked just like accountants are supposed to talk. Slow and monotonous. I know, obviously, that not all accountants talk in this way, but if they did they’d be the worst in the world at cold calling.

The prospect expects a loud, fake, formulaic, rushed torrent of insincerity. Change your voice regularly, make them pleasantly surprised.

Key point: 80% of the response a prospect gives is down to the voice you present with, not the words you use, which account for just 20%.

We will look at some other aspects of cold calling techniques soon. The practise is not dying, and people still like to talk.

So get on that phone and talk, professionally, about your amazing product or service. Someone out there is interested in what you do.

Go find them.

How To Build Sales Over The Next Six Months

If you want to increase the amount of sales you make, there are four sound methods that will help to massively boost your overall sales performance. The methods outlined below are not necessarily quick fixes, but they work on building confidence in your product, and building your client list over time. They also work for teams, managers and leaders. And of course, the cold call warriors too.

Build a discovery list

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If you’re in a high pressure environment, this is not something you can do easily. However, if you’re serious about building sales over time, with quality clients, spend less time selling and more time discovering.

First up, basic validation of prospects. After a prospect converts on your website, and they have submitted their email address and therefore become a lead, this is where you can spend time either qualifying them or disqualifying them as prospects. And this is where the discovery approach makes most sense. Spending time at this stage discovering as much as you can about them before you even try to sell is an absolute must.

Use their email address to help you find out where they work and to locate their website. After a good and thorough period of research of their website, you should be able to work out whether or not their needs can be met by your product or service. You’ll also be able to understand the history of the company.

Assuming you feel you can help them, add them to a Discovery list. Keep doing this until you have a list of companies that you know you can help. You’ll also know about pain points, because you’ve spent some time understanding where they come from, and what they need as a company to grow.

The Discovery List is not a traditional lead list. Your first call is all about thanking them for downloading your report or giving you their email. It’s about asking them questions about their latest activity on your site and in their own business. It’s about not even talking about your product. Build a relationship in which they know you may have something that can help them. Then tell them you look forward to talking to them again. Ask if it is okay if you contact them again in the future if there is an article or video you think may help them.

And then that’s it.

The Discovery List contains long-term leads that you anticipate will take months to convert. Be good with that and take that approach forward.

If you discover and nurture just ten large leads in this way, imagine the ROI in the months ahead.

Use The Big G

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Google contains one of the very best ways to boost your sales. If you’re looking for information about any lead, you have a high chance of finding what you want just through Google search.

Even if you don’t know the name of the person you are hoping will become a lead, you can usually find out more about them by Googling their company. Most websites have details of key staff in a company. As soon as you find details about decision makers, Google their names and at some point you will find a way into the company.

A short cut is to literally type in ‘CEO of (company name)’ or ‘Managing Director of (company name)’.

Lead the pack

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One of the biggest reasons B2B leaders hire services and buy products is because they are impressed with them. If you want to be hired or bought from, build up that presence online that tells people ‘this is someone who knows what they are doing’.

Take the time and put in the effort to develop your thoughts and ideas online. If you visit online forums where you can help people and take part in those discussions, you are already on the way to ‘thought leadership‘.

Over time, you will be seen as someone to come to for advice in your area of expertise. If you push this out across all your social media channels and you participate in business communities online, people will think of you and your brand when they’re ready to buy.

Use LinkedIn

With B2B prospects, you can’t go wrong with LinkedIn. Even if you don’t subscribe to Premium, you can still find out a lot of information about prospects by doing a basic search on the platform.

The next time you’re looking at a cold lead, search for them on LinkedIn. Even the weakest profiles have a lot of information on the prospect. It pays to learn more about them and find an angle before you call.

If you spend time getting familiar with LinkedIn and how you can use it to find leads, your ‘muscle’ in this area will grow. Soon, you’ll be fine-tuning it, homing in on qualified leads faster and more effectively. You’ll be part of Groups, finding even more prospects there. You’ll be crafting emails and messages that speak directly to the people who can buy and are in need of your product.

So there we go. The four ideas above are not to be taken lightly. They need discipline and focus. If you waver from daily practice of the above you’ll only slow down.

What Are Examples Of Buying Signals?

Remember buying signals? Need a refresher? You probably think you don’t, but as with most things in business, it pays to just take a little look at them once in a while. Perhaps you may have forgotten how buying signals work. Or maybe you’ve been ignoring them for the past few months.

Buying signals have been here since the very first person sold the very first product or service to anyone. They are ways of picking up on interest, and moving you closer to sealing the deal.

Just in case you’ve forgotten what they are and what they look and sound like, here’s a rundown of the most common buying signals that a business would be foolish to ignore. If this stuff ‘happens’ while you’re pitching or talking to a prospect, you are on the way to a sale.

Your company, what’s it like?

A prospect might ask a few questions about your company and how long it’s been operating. Rather than this being an awkward part of the process, it is a direct request for validity and authenticity.

The prospect is looking for a response from you that deserves their trust. If you are able to answer their question with a response that demonstrates your longevity and/or quality, then you have overcome a hurdle. If a prospect ever asks about your company they are only ever looking for reassurance. And reassurance can lead directly to sales.

The price

Selling involves money. There is no way around it. If you have a product that is priced fairly and delivers value you should not ever feel that a customer asking about price is a bad thing. But still, it is probably one of the most feared aspects of the selling process.

It is easy to discount. But sticking to your guns and offering the price as quickly and as honestly as possible is the way to ensure you meet your profit targets. And remember that asking for the price is a clear buying signal. The very act of asking how much something costs means that the prospect is actively considering if they can afford it, or if the value is there.

Could you just confirm, please?

When a prospect asks you to go over a point again (such as delivery times) they are again asking for reassurance. They also want to know if what you are saying is really true. If they want you to repeat information, it simply means that they are interested, but just need to know all the facts.

So what now?

If you hear this buying signal, you are on the home straight. When a prospect willingly asks what to do next, they are asking you to help them buy. This obviously comes at the end of a long process, but if they need to know how they can acquire what you are selling and they make this clear, you just need to show them what the next step is.

Some people can be so caught up in the nerves and stress involved in selling that they actually miss the prospect asking them how to buy.

If they ask you how to move forward, sell it, already.

Selling on Purpose

Ever sat in front of a phone or screen knowing you have to make so many sales calls/cold emails that day? Whether because you work for someone else or you’ve made a sales target for you to achieve as a freelancer, if you don’t sell ‘on purpose’ you may as well play Candy Crush or surf Reddit.

Without selling on purpose, your sales activity is meaningless.

Let me explain.

Know what and why

Your first job is knowing what you are meant to be doing. Do you have a sales script? Do you know exactly what you are going to say and at what point you’re going to say it? Do you know what you’re hoping to achieve from the sales calls you’re going to make today?

Then, why? Why is your plan and process so important? What is it going to help you achieve? Put simply, if you’re going to make 25 cold calls this week, why not 30? If you know your success rates and how they fit into a bigger picture of business growth, you’re good.

Know exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. That makes rejection easier, and it gives you the confidence when you actually get into a sales conversation.

When are you going to ask?

This is something that anyone who has sold anything knows is vitally important. Sales conversations can be fun, sure, and they can be slow-paced. But if you don’t ask for the order, you’ve just wasted a chunk of your life.

You could start out with a definite purpose in mind though. You could tell yourself you’re aware of buying signals and when they occur you could be right in there, directly asking for the sale.

For example, if you are selling on purpose, and you know that the time is right because your buyer has given you a clear buying signal, just ask for a sale, directly. The simple phrase, ‘Shall we go ahead?’ is very powerful, for example. And if you ask it at the right point, it makes perfect sense. But some people don’t even ask. It’s much easier and more comfortable to send ‘more details’, or to ‘catch up’ in a couple of weeks.

However, ‘comfortable’ doesn’t help you. Ask for the sale whenever an opportunity presents itself. The conversation is there for a reason, and if you’ve prepped enough, and you know what the potential client needs, at some point they will be in a posiiton where they want to buy.

Be ready for that point. If you are not ready, you’re not selling on purpose.

Knowledge is power

In selling, this is true. The more you sell, the more you know how it works. The more you lose sales, the more you know why. And the more you ask for the contract, the more you know exactly what needs to happen before you do.

Sell on purpose. Leave nothing to chance. Understand how selling works and know what and why you are doing every time you pick up the phone or send an email. Be proud of what you are selling, and go find the people who want to buy.

How do you increase sales?

When you’re freelancing, you need a steady flow of sales so that you don’t run out of money. That’s basically it. It’s as crude as that. No tricks, no fancy charts.You either keep selling your service or you die.

This puts most freelancers in a tricky position. They probably haven’t had any sales training. They don’t understand how hard it is to get a good, qualified lead, and then close that sale. In fact, most freelancers think that their work doesn’t (or shouldn’t) involve sales, at least not in the conventional sense. Selling is a dirty word. They’re an artist, and artists don’t sell.

Some artists don’t eat much, either.

If you’re freelancing, get some systems in place that allow you to sell on a regular basis. Only through consistent and purposeful selling will regular freelance income appear. Realise this, and get to work.

The following principles are important.

Stay consistent with the process

Set aside some time every day for prospecting and communicating with leads. Do this every day. If you don’t, then you are losing momentum. Anyone who has ever sold professionally will know that momentum is everything. It takes time to build sales, and this means that you won’t see results for a while. If you’ve been consistent all that time, things tend to just fall into place.

I know this works. And it usually takes about a week. A week of solid prospecting and pitching, and when that is done, everything else just falls into place.

Listen

When you talk more than you listen on a sales call, you’re making the prospect feel like they don’t count. Turn this on it’s head. Listen for at least 70% of the time. This way, the prospect feels better and more relaxed, and the pressure around the whole situation is reduced.

Work on yourself

Everyone around you knows that you are amazing. But the people you are going to be calling know nothing about you, and they really couldn’t care less.

Make them sit up and take notice with your tone. Your voice should be confident and clear, so that the prospect knows they have someone on the line who knows how to do business.

Keep practising your offer. And start believing that you are truly worth your prospect’s money. Being confident and believing in yourself will bring you more success.

Be confident on price

You have valued your services at a certain level. Stick to it. You’ve worked out how much you need in order to eat and have a roof over your head. And you’ve worked out how much you need to make a profit. And that’s how much you charge.

Unfortunately, some freelancers think they have to reduce their fee to get a sale. This is not the case. In fact, clients will respect you a whole lot more if you have done your homework, and you know what you are worth.

Once I was having coffee with a prospect and he asked me how much I charged for my content creation. He almost spluttered out his coffee when I told him how much and he said that ‘no one will pay that’.

Actually, many clients do, and they get great work in return. And as it happens, he went out of business a year later. His argument was that people would pay for lots of work if it was ‘cheap’.

I think he may have used that same argument in his business plan.

You’re not cheap. You’re a professional freelancer. Stick to your price.

Set goals

Finally, if you want to get the most out of selling, and get better results, set some goals.

Even if the goal is as simple as ‘I need to pitch ten mid-level prospects this week’, it’s still a worthy goal. If you don’t pitch those ten prospects, you haven’t given yourself the chance to achieve anything.

Focus on what needs to be done to keep a strong pipeline of sales coming in, and make goals that fit that process. Believe me, if you don’t have goals, you just won’t get anything done.

Those are some of my tips that will help you increase sales as a freelancer.

I am also a big believer in using LinkedIn. If you’re at square one with finding leads on LinkedIn, you need something like Dux-Soup. Silly name, serious results.

I’m an affiliate, just so you know.

4 expert cold calling tips you need to know

At least part of your day should be spent looking for new business. If you aren’t on the phones for a daily block of time, you’ll find your cash flow drying up very quickly. Selling your services is absolutely vital.

At the same time, I know it’s hard. If you are on your own, or you have a very small team, picking up that phone to call people so that you can sell to them can be very challenging.

So what I’ve done for this post is put together a little list of ways in which you can prepare before any cold call you are going to make. Build these into your preparation before you pick up that phone and you will feel 100% better.

Make sure you know their name

If you carry out a LinkedIn search for the prospect you are focusing on, you should find a goldmine of information upon which you can build a successful cold call. But if there is one easy way to crash and burn within the first few seconds of a call, it’s through not knowing what the prospect likes to be called.

A cold call is exactly that, it’s ‘cold’. You do not know the person you are speaking to. But if you went to their office for a meeting, or you were introduced to them at a party, isn’t it fair to say that you know their first name?

Usually, and this is one of the best things about LinkedIn and Facebook, you will find their ‘preferred name’ somewhere. A Johnathan might like to be called John, for example.

We’re not talking about over familiarity here. Most people will have a name they like to be called by, so find it.

And whatever you do, don’t get their name wrong.

Find their position

If you are just starting out as a freelancer, you can easily find yourself talking to some very nice people when you are cold calling a company. Unfortunately, you can also find yourself talking to some very nice people who don’t have the authority or the budget to buy what you are selling.

When you are researching your leads, spend some time working out the size of the company you are approaching. If it has 5-10 employees, you will probably need to go as senior as you can to find the right person to pitch to.

A good rule of thumb here for small to medium-sized businesses is to aim for the most senior position you can when cold calling. They won’t be too hard to find because the company is small. You won’t get a call with Richard Branson, for example, because he is at the top of a pile of thousands of people. But if you’re focusing on small companies (and freelancers do, most of the time), you should be able to get to the senior team and their names pretty quickly.

Don’t waste your time cold calling a head of sales, for example. They are not in the right position to buy. The same goes for the HR lead.

Find the Marketing Director as a starting point. Then keep digging until you start to find names of other senior figures. Then, when you pick up a phone, you’ll know that your conversation is not going to be a waste of time.

That will do a lot for your confidence during cold calling and lead generation.

Pro tip

There are now more ‘CEO’s’ than ever before in human history. When searching for a CEO on a LinkedIn search, beware the solo entrepreneur who has made their title ‘CEO’. Always check the company size.

It may sound grand, and worth pitching, but it could be a guy in his bedroom on a computer. Yes, they may be ‘crushing it’ as a CEO, but I’ve always found that the solo entrepreneur who thinks she is a CEO is really spending more time on her image, rather than her business. Pitch, by all means, but be ready for a potential client who does not have the budget you need.

Have 3 responses ready for blockers

Many early sales cold calls implode because the people doing the calling aren’t prepared for ‘blocking’. This is where you encounter a prospect who simply fobs you off within the first 30 seconds.

We’re not going to dig too deep into this right now, but you’re being blocked when someone says they ‘don’t have time’ for your call, for example. Or they might ask for an ‘information pack’, before you’ve actually told them what you’re offering.

The worst quick block to experience is obviously the flat ‘no’.

You need to get on that call only after you have prepared 3 clear responses to blocks. When you nave practiced these 3 responses, and drilled them so they are part of your general response every time, you should see much more success.

It is vital that you have some prepared responses to blocks. Seriously, if you don’t have 3 ready responses, blocks will shut you down in a moment. And that’s a wasted prospect.

Practise

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

Aristotle

Every day, if you can (and you know, maybe you should make it so you can), take some time to practice. Your cold calling work will benefit hugely if you are comfortable with the process. And practice makes perfect.

Call friends and ask them to be horrible and confrontational on the phone when you try and sell them something. Give them a list of objections that your prospect list will throw at you. It’s worth doing, and all practice is useful.

Stand in front of a mirror and practice breathing so that your voice is clear and strong, so that you feel more confident.

Write down every single objection you can imagine your prospects giving you, and write down and then verbally practice every response. This isn’t to take away from your skills, but this rote learning of objections and responses just makes you a more confident seller.

However you handle cold calling, good luck. It takes perseverance and guts to get more clients this way. But the more you do it, the easier it gets.

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