It’s 4:30, you’re getting ready to leave for the day, that happy hour with friends at your favorite spot is calling your name and then it happens. Your phone rings and it’s someone briefly asking about your day and then immediately trying to sell you something. Bad cold calls; we’ve all gotten them and many of us are guilty of making them.
Here are my top tips for smashing that first call.
1. Qualify the Prospect
Before even picking up the phone, you need to do some research. Do your best to make sure that what you’re offering is a fit for this business, since you’re wasting their time and your own by reaching out to someone who isn’t a good match.
2. Research the Company
Once you’ve determined that your prospect is qualified, it’s time to do some digging. Take a look at the company’s LinkedIn, Twitter, and Website to learn about any new products, acquisitions or awards. Task yourself with finding 3 pieces of information that that you can use to build rapport during the call.
3. Know your Target(s)
After learning a bit more about your prospect, identify one or more potential targets within the organization who are able to make decisions. Think about who you are calling and what their role is within the company so that you can tweak your pitch to capture their interest.
4. Get your Timing Right
Avoid calling right before lunch or at the end of the day as people might be leaving the office. No one wants to speak to you if they’re heading out the door to grab a bite to eat or to go home. Also keep the day in mind as Monday’s are often the most busy and Friday’s can be the start of an extended weekend.
You’ve done your research and managed to get your target on the phone but before you can get into your carefully crafted pitch, you need to take into account what is arguably the most important rule of selling. Listen more than you speak.
Try to discover any pain points or specific needs, such as not meeting yearly goals or the need for greater brand awareness. This shows genuine interest and allows you to tailor your pitch.
At this point it’s time to diagnose and prescribe. Match your company’s solution to the need or problem you’ve identified. Saying ”Our solution, A, will help you with problem B, by doing C and D for your company” is far more compelling than “You should work with us because our product is great”.
7. Make Plans for Next Steps
Assuming the call has gone well and you are progressing on to the next steps, book in a follow up call and immediately send a calendar invite. Make sure to let them know what you will be discussing and why there is a need to follow up. Getting this in the calendar helps to prevent a game of phone tag and uncertainties later on.
8. Send a Recap/ Thank You Email
After the call, send an email that does the following: thanks them for their time, highlights what was discussed, and includes next steps.