The Art of Cold Calling is not just about purchased industry contact lists and lots of caffeine. According to Aaron Ross of Predictable Revenue, a cold call means calling someone you don't know who isn't expecting it. This guide will demonstrate how to be creative, effective, but most importantly courteous when cold calling
Outbound sales are so effective because they are the clearest indicator of where you are in your sales pipeline. One of the few sales techniques that you can master in certain industries solely by reaching out to potential clients before they reach out to you.
Outbound sales: who should use them? Even though anyone can benefit from telling people about their business, this marketing channel takes research, strategy, and style, and may be more effective for items or services whose customer lifetime value is higher than your salesperson's time.
It is the Art of Cold Calling for business-to-business (B2B) where the commodity you are selling is a meeting. The pitch in this example is saved for the actual meeting when the prospect is fully engaged.
1. Contact Research
There is a direct relationship between how much you know about your business and how actionable the contacts in your funnel will be. When narrowing down your prospects, you should ask yourself:
- 1What industries does your cold outreach campaign target?
- 2If your ideal customer were to do business with you, what qualifications would they need to have? i.e. company size, product maturity, ability to afford your product...etc
- 3What is the title of role of the person you're trying to reach? i.e. CEO, Marketing Manager, IT Manager
- 4Ask someone at the company if you don't know their title. Don't be afraid to contact someone at the company, such as the receptionist or an assistant to the CEO, they are often happy to assist if you are offering value to the company.
2. Email Finding Software
After you have done your research, your list should look something like the table below, with an extra column for an email address and a phone number on the right. Organize your table in the following order: first name, last name, and company website, as this is the best order for email finding software.
After entering the first name, last name and company website, you can then use one of the numerous email finders available online. Find That Email is great because of its bulk search capability as well as Voila Norbert if you want to do an email lookup for one person with their Chrome Extension. Online there are at least a dozen other email finders, some with higher success rates than others.
Typically, I'll call a phone number listed on a website as the next touch point for the contact. If you make the right ask with the person answering the phone, most times you'll be able to at least reach the voicemail of your prospect. See phone script outline below.
With your first name, last name, email address, and company phone number in hand, you can create an email template and phone script outline.
3. Email Template Creation
You will want to create three variations of emails for contacts you (a) talked to directly, (b) left a voice message for, and (c) left a message for another person. Depending on your circumstances, they will all be similar. In this example, I left a voicemail despite the prospect not answering.
As opposed to sending a new email, I prefer to hit "reply" to the pre-mail I sent earlier to keep an easier conversation trail.
4. Phone Script Creation
You should always outline your main points but don't worry about coloring outside the lines.
I'm never bashful to ask for a meeting right off the bat when the groundwork has been laid through researching, premailing & telephone calls. However, I'm always prepared with an introduction, attention grabber, and follow-up questions.
"Thank you for taking my call, Shai. It's Brian with Advertising á la carte, I sent you an email yesterday. I know this interrupts your day, so I'll be quick. Do you have availability to talk to me about the ways we can save Virgin Airlines money on their PPC budget?"
Hook or Attention Grabber
"We have saved other airlines in your industry hundreds of thousands of dollars by optimizing Google Pay Per Click Ad Budgets"
Prepare Yourself with follow up questions
"In what ways are you currently using adwords?"
"Is your adwords account handled in house or with an agency?"
"What's the biggest challenge you're having with your current adwords campaign?"
Gatekeeper Etiquette: If you call, you'll probably speak to an assistant or another person whose job it is to filter calls like yours. Instead of asking to speak to the Virgin Airlines CEO, ask, "Can you forward me to Shai's voicemail so I can follow up on an email I sent yesterday?""
With your contact list, email template & phone call outline in hand, now it's time to start the outreach.
5. What is a Premail in Cold Calling?
When you premail before a cold call, your prospect is now expecting to hear from you, as opposed to when you cold call them. When you take away the element of surprise, one major friction point is now gone.
Once you send a premail, the time is ticking. That's why you should have a phone script and email template ready before you start calling.
6. When Is the Right Time To Reach Out?
The best time to call someone is between 4-5pm on Wednesday according to the infographic below by Call Hippo. Even though there are plenty of other days and times to schedule your calls, there's a significant difference in the first attempt conversations on a Wednesday (195) versus the first attempt conversations on a Friday (60) so timing is definitely an important factor to consider.
7. How Many Follow-ups Is Too Much?
I also use a mix of follow up emails and phone calls based on the prospect's position within the company. According to Smallbizgenius.net, almost 60% of C-level executives value information from sales rep phone calls. The higher up a person is in their company, the more I rely on the phone rather than an email because it is more appreciated.
Ninjas thrive on secretiveness, but it won't work in your favor for outbound sales calls. Think about how you'd want to be contacted if you were in their shoes the next time you consider cold calling. With the above strategies and a solid offer, you might find that outbound sales become a bigger part of your marketing mix than you ever imagined.
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