There is no doubt that, done right, reaching out to prospective sales leads via phone cold calling is a highly effective sales and revenue generation tool.
There are several keys to success, beginning with the work of the lead generation call centerbeing an integrated aspect of a holistic sales and marketing strategy. It’s important to be sure that the cold calling program is aligned with other marketing and brand building activities. Cold callers must be smart, able to clearly convey a complex, compelling and convincing message – without being pushy. Train your agents to appreciate that their efforts are a critical, sustainable extension of the overall sales strategy.
The telephone is the touch point of your lead generation program, so each cold call should be treated with high regard and be regarded as an important opportunity. Every time your callers pick up the phone, it’s important to create value by providing prospects with useful information – without overwhelming them with too much talk.
Let’s go step by step through the cold call campaign improvement process:
1: Sustained Calling – It’s important to maintain campaigns over the long haul. Cold calling works when it’s conducted on a long-term and consistent basis. Cold callers should not pressure prospects to make a decision on the first call. Take a longer view and follow-up with more information for the second call. Listen to what prospects ask and if you don’t have the answer, tell them you’ll follow up to provide them the information. This enables your callers to establish rapport and credibility.
2: Make every call count – Callers should not end a call when learning that the targeted person is unavailable. Take time to be helpful to the target’s assistant or updating and verifying your database by sharing information for this source. It’s a good to also ask if there is an alternative decision maker available.
3: No scripts: Scripts leave no room for conversation – instead, they create stilted, artificial interchanges that do not generate sales leads. Callers must work toward having spontaneous conversations based on “dialogue guidelines” that enable real back-and-forth with potential leads. These guidelines must have flexibility that accommodate variable outcomes while staying on message and enabling customer relevance.
4: Treat Assistants Well - View the executive assistant as a conduit, not a hindrance, to establishing conversation with the target. EA’s often have an important, influential place in the decision maker’s work life. Treat them with respect and work to build a relationship – they can do you great good.
5: Be relevant and well-informed - When making a cold call it’s critically important to know something about them, their company, their industry, the challenges they face and how your product addresses those challenges. Without this knowledge it’s nearly impossible to establish meaningful dialogue.
6: Get Email Permission - When talking with a prospect be sure to ask for permission to e-mail follow-up information. Usually the prospect will give permission, enabling future, ongoing interaction.
7: Follow Up Is Critical - It is very important that you conduct prompt, relevant follow up that closely reflects the conversation you had with a prospect. This shows that you respect and understand what they have told you and that you are reliable – all of which is a good reflection on your company or client.
Cold calling is a rewarding way to begin contact with prospective customers. By engaging in valuable and meaningful conversation you also construct the bridge to a longer relationship, which is essential to the overall sales process.
Mark Fichera, CEO