Cold calling is still a fast, cost-effective, and powerful part of the B2B sales process, and a skill every salesperson needs to master – but it’s not easy. It’s a massive challenge to deliver a sales pitch to someone who has never heard about you or your offerings.
However, cold calling is still with us and although sometimes daunting, it is a crucial part of the sales activities. In this blog we are going to explain the most actionable cold calling tips and techniques to help you improve your win rates.
Get your sales team calling prospects, that already have visited your website, and you will soon fill your pipeline with warm leads. See who is visiting your website!
To help, we wanted to share some of our own sales teams’ key take-aways – the do’s and don’ts, and the winning techniques. Get our Free Cold Calling Script at the end of this page.
How often should I do cold calling and how?
Build a frequency that fits with your work schedule. At a minimum you should be cold calling once a week and sometimes you should put time in to rehearse or improve your script. So as a minimum put a 2-hour slot in your calendar and short of emergencies stick to it. Give yourself goals and state what results you expect – how many follow up calls do you expect?
We discovered that Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to have a conversation on the first dial. Just remember that other people have heard that too, so you’ll need to find what works best for you.
If you call prospects with no particular schedule from 9am-5pm each day, you’re missing an opportunity. By keeping track of when prospects are more likely to answer the phone, and when they’re more likely to speak with you, you can better focus your efforts during times it will make a bigger impact.
- Look at activity records of those prospects who have purchased. What days are they most likely to answer the phone? Spend your time on those days focusing on high-quality prospects. You can also look at what time of day prospects are most likely to answer.
- Structure your time into “offensive” and “defensive” chunks. Most prospects are in the office from about 9am-5pm, with a break for lunch anytime between about 12:00 – 1:30. People are more likely to answer the phone when they are not deeply engaged in their work. If you can catch them around lunch, or towards the end of the day can improve connect rates. Find the times of day when you’re most likely to get a conversation and focus your efforts on connecting with the highest quality prospects during that time. Use other times to plan, prep, write new sequences, and tweak your script. Consistently making calls is undoubtedly one of the most important sales activities of any given team. This includes reaching out to warm leads and cold prospects alike.
- You should use your time as efficiently as possible. Monitoring the results of your cold calls can help you understand how much time you should budget towards them in the long run. By tracking the details of cold calls that resulted in positive outcomes, you can fine-tune your approach to outreach over time.
- Set a goal to learn something in every conversation with a prospect, good or bad.
Adding prospects to your list each week.
Use the time to add new prospects to your call list and call around 10-20 new prospects each week.
- Define your main verticals, industries and business where you expect customers
- Take industry publications or look at websites showing lists of companies
- Search LinkedIn
- Be sure that you are only adding companies and contacts to your prospect list who you believe you can help
- Look at your WebLeads list everyday and tag a list of clients that are new to you and tag them for a call
- Check New Leads on your dashboard! These are leads that have not previously visited your website
- Get a list of similar leads for any WebLeads that are in a target business area – either from your WebLeads dashboard or from similar leads website and choose about 5-10 that might be suitable for a call
- Build a lead list with InMarketLeads – companies that have been searching on certain keywords in the last 12 months
The script for B2B cold calling
Why should I use a script?
Sales scripts still play an important role in numerous businesses, both large and small. Sales scripts keep your message focused and concise.
Without a sales script, your sales calls could end up sounding poorly prepared. You want to be able to get to the point quickly and do it in a way that engages the listener, not bores them to death. A script helps keep your sales call on track and moving forward to the close in an optimal way.
Familiarize yourself with the steps in the cold calling process.
Research > Opening > Question > Pitch > Conversation > Closing
Here we will look at those steps starting with research. Then we will look at the actual script steps (during the call) and after we will give you some guidance on delivering Unique Selling Points and Objection Handling.
The burden is on you to figure out whether you can help the person who picked up.
You’re going to get rejected a lot less if you’re smart about who you reach out to. Be sure that you are only adding companies and contacts to your prospect list who you believe you can help.
Information about the company to know before the call:
- Size (revenue, employee count, # of locations)
- Related technologies
Common contact traits to look for:
- LinkedIn profile
- Who they report to *
- Who reports to them *
*you are maybe able to deduce this from the Fastbase Contact List
If you call someone who doesn’t fit your ideal criteria, you’re stealing their time. If you call someone who can benefit from your offer, you’re helping improve their life and business. Don’t spend your precious time trying to reach people who don’t need what you’re selling. Before you call, find out about the person, company or department so that you can comment in a favorable way.
Look at the WebLeads dashboard and get information about number of employees and annual turnover. Then go to the company page and read the description, click on the company website and get more information. Then check the contact list on the right – do any job positions match the kind of buyer that you usually have? Click on the LinkedIn link and check the profile.
Find unique selling points for your target company or industry before calling.
It’s in those first 15-20 seconds that you have to establish enough interest for prospects to still listen to you. And to do that right, you need to have a great opening on your call.
Briefly introduce yourself. It seems like a no-brainer to start with your name, but you’d be surprised how many people ignore this step. Forget your pitch for a second. You need to let prospects process who you are—otherwise, there’s zero chance they’ll pay attention to anything else you’re saying.
Keep your tone confident. You are good at what you do, and you know your stuff. Stand out – be memorable.
Cold calling is 10% of what you say and 90% of how you say it. Talk to your cold callers like you are talking to a friend. Be relaxed, sound confident and make a conversation, not a sales pitch.
Use pauses effectively – allow the person time to think about what you said.
You’re interrupting prospects on a busy day. Get to the point. Prove that you value their time.
Hi, this is Jane with Fastbase, in New York,
calling for NAME regarding visitor identification on your website.
we’ve developed for the XXXXXX Industry.
You can see in the above example that in the opening, you should let prospects know:
- Who do you help?
- Where are you located?
- What you’re looking for?
- What you’re offering?
- use your first name
Hint: If the person cannot take the call ask:
“When is best time to call you back tomorrow morning or afternoon?”
Ask a Question
To follow up your opening, ask a question that will unlock your conversations.
When you ask these, you have to be prepared to listen, not just wait for your turn to talk again. Listen for needs – get any insights on how they might use your product/services. Use mirroring – repeat their need back to them.
Engage in a conversation.
Use reference companies to validate you as a trusted person: at best a company that is the industry leader, and first mover – a company others look to for inspiration and best practice examples. You can also weave the industry into your question. This will let the person know, that you have knowledge about their business and you’re calling to share valuable insight and to start a (lasting) dialogue with them.
Here is an example of a question to unlock a conversation.
Hi Clark, this is Jane.
I know I’m calling you out of the blue
– but we have some key learnings on generating hot leads for the sales team from working with REFERENCE/COMPANY for the past 3 years.
If you got a sec. I would like to share…
When you get the person’s attention and permission to move forward with the conversation, you can move on with the pitch.
The goal of a good pitch is to get someone’s interest so that they would agree to your call to action, be it engage in a trial or online meeting. Make sure you adapt the pitch for each prospect. It must be relevant for them and their industry. The pitch must be:
- Clear – the prospect must be able to understand it.
- Concise – In line with your conversation and goals
- Easy to remember – you want both the call and yourself to be remembered.
- Stats – be sure to share stats from you reference company
Here is an example
At Fastbase we help sales teams hit their sales targets by providing more qualified leads.
For #Reference compagny# we help the sales team bring in 50 new clients every month.
We notify the sales team on companies that have visited the website, and all the pages they have read
and list all contacts at the company for them.
Hone your pitch. If certain elements do not seem to resonate drop them. Use your case-histories, clients you have helped. Preparing those can also help with objections.
Having delivered your pitch and insights as promised in the opening, it’s time to build up interest and positioning yourself as an industry expert.
Here are some techniques for the conversation
Asking open-ended questions (questions that don’t require a simple “yes” or “no” answer) is one of the most essential things you can do. In any cold call, the prospect must do 70% of the talking, while the salesperson should do only 30%.
If you are open, honest, and genuine, and ask out of curiosity, you will be amazed at the answers you’ll hear. Prospects will offer give you all the information that you need to make a sale.
Make sure to ask open-ended questions inline with the company and industry and explore if your product or service will be a good match and with good business impact.
- Are you getting enough leads?
- Are your sales team targeting hot leads?
- Do you have lead nurturing in place?
- Do your have a lead scoring model identifying hot leads?
- Are you automating your marketing according to the customer journey?
These questions will reveal pain points which you can then address one by one, steering them ever closer to the final stage in your cold call.
Repeating their words back to them acts as a guide, leading them towards revealing more about their business.
You’ll be surprised how much someone will reveal when they’re questioned like this.
For example, if the prospect says something like…
“We already have a system like this in place”
You should then respond with…
“You already have a system, that can show you WHO is visiting your Website? Both company details and the individual person’s website activity?”
Delivering your USP
Always remember, that cold calling and sales in general, should be very personal. You should focus on your customer’s needs as an individual on a case by case business.
The longer that your prospect remains relaxed, and the more he opens up to you, the more likely it is you will make the sale in the long run.
With each customer, there is a key benefit that will trigger buying desire and cause the customer to purchase your product or service.
At the same time, there is a key fear or doubt that will hold the customer back from buying. Your initial job in your first cold call with your prospect, and the key to qualifying them, is to find out exactly what benefit will cause this customer to buy from you, and exactly what fear or doubt might hold this customer back from buying from you.
Objection handling means responding to the buyer in a way that changes their mind on their concerns.
Instead of telling your prospect they’re wrong, then help them come to a different conclusion on their objection. And if you can’t help them change their mind, then they’re a poor fit.
Almost 90% of all objectives will come down to the same 10 concerns that you can prepair a response for.
First, be sure to listen to the concerns and acknowledge the caller for their concerns.
Once you have a complete understanding of your customer’s objection can you offer your response. Offer a recommendation, an alternative, a solution or a next step designed to address the customer’s concern and close the transaction.
- We’re already working with another vendor.
- It’s too expensive.
- We don’t have any budget left.
Don’t move too soon for the closing. Be sure, that you have built enough interest, and positioning yourself as an expert worth spending more time with before moving for the close.
Make an offer that is exciting, and a no brainer!
Sounds like this could be a good fit.
Let me prepare a FREE account for your, and we can follow up next week.
I will show you your first hot business leads…
- What’s the best email to send you information and the calendar invite?
- What’s a good time to chat next week?
- Who is the best person to receive the invitation for the trial?
On your first call, you should never attempt to sell. Focus on information gathering and build up intererest.
Key take-aways on Cold Calling
In summary, call scripts are meant to help you, so:
- Work on clarifying your message and pitch
- Polish your sales process – practice with colleagues
- Make changes and improvements quickly
- Decrease the number of low-performance days
- Listen more effectively to your prospects
Now make your own Cold Calling Script
including Objections and Unique Selling Points