Salespeople love talking about cold calling…
“Cold calling is dead!”
“I dread making cold calls.”
“Only a desperate person makes cold calls.”
Type in “cold calling” in the search box on LinkedIn, and you’ll find mixed opinions across the board. The truth of the matter is that cold calling is one of the most effective tools for breaking into an account and getting a hold of the prospect. It’s making a significant comeback because many reps are resistant (or suck) at doing it. And if you follow SalesLoft, Outreach, Insidesales.com or any other sales engagement platform’s content, the stats show that multi-channel prospecting is the way to go.
In most cases, two channels (email + phone) is over twice as effective for getting in touch with a prospect than using a single channel. And if you add a three punch combo (email + phone + social) it’s even more effective.
So why is cold calling so ineffective for some sales teams? I believe it’s because the calls are too cold. And we call people we shouldn’t be calling the first place. The average success rate for a cold call is 1.48%. If you aren’t spending time warming up the prospect and choosing who you engage with, you’re going to be part of that statistic.
In this article, I’m not going to talk about special opening lines or phrases you can use. There’s already A TON of great content out there on that. Becc Holland, head of sales development at Chorus.ai has the best guide on what to say that I’ve ever seen.
Instead, I’m going to focus on four strategies you can use to warm up your cold calls, increase your pick up rates, and prioritize your time. And remember to follow the golden rule of prospecting: don’t prospect to make a sale, prospect to start a conversation.
Connect the dots
Before making the call, come in prepared. We use the REPLY Method for coming up with our cold outreach messaging:
- Results - Share relevant results you can create for the prospect
- Empathy - Lead with a challenge or frustration they’re likely experiencing
- Personalization - Find something about the prospect’s situation that is unique, but also connected to how you can help them
- Laser-focus - Keep your pitch and voicemails between 15-30 seconds
- You - Make the prospect the hero
When making cold calls, it’s vital to think about the 3-5 ways you can help a prospect BEFORE you make the call or send an email. Once you have the 3-5 relevant results you can create for the prospect, connect them with a challenge they’re likely experiencing. Then find a way to personalize the approach that’s also related to how you can help them.
For example, nonprofits that reach out to companies for partnerships is one of our ideal clients at Blissful Prospecting.
Here’s what that might sound like.
Personalization: “The reason for my call is that I was taking a look through your 2018 impact report and noticed that corporate partners are about a third of your fundraising mix.”
Empathy: “And one of the big challenges I hear from development teams is that their existing partners take up a lot of their time, and they aren’t able to spend as much time prospecting for new partnerships as they’d like. Am I off here, or is this something you run into from time to time?”
Results: “Great, well one of the ways we might be able to help is showing you how you can spend 2-3x more time pitching corporate partners instead of prospecting to them. Do you have your calendar handy?”
Boom. You should already this information before the call so that if you get a hold of someone, you can focus on the value you can deliver.
Warm up the prospect
We don’t ever make a cold call unless we’ve emailed someone first. It’s even better if you’ve emailed and engaged with them on social.
This works well for two reasons: emails and LinkedIn have tools so you can see if a prospect is opening your messages, and you’ll become more familiar to the prospect. This is known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.
The more times the prospect sees you on social, through an email, etc. the more recognizable you become.
Before calling the prospect, the following:
- Follow them on LinkedIn
- Start engaging with their content (likes, comments, shares)
- Send a personalized connection request
- Send over at least one cold email after you connect
Don’t Treat all Prospects Equally
As salespeople, we have a limited amount of time to mess around with prospects who aren’t interested in talking to us. When you’re making calls, only focus on the prospects who opened up the emails you sent them. You can filter prospects by an engagement score with most Sales Engagement Platforms.
Create a rule that puts a call task in your queue when a prospect opens an email two or more times. Then call the prospect a few minutes after they open the email. Avoid spending too much time on people that never connect with you on social or open your emails.
Call when the prospect is most likely to pick up. Gong.io has some great data on when prospects are most likely to pick up. I’m not a big believer in sitting there and hammering the phones for 4 hours straight. Hopefully, you’re not in a situation where you need to do that daily. What’s effective is using hour-long blocks strategically placed throughout the week.
Spend some time prepping for those call blocks so that all you have to do is make calls. Organize your CRM, outreach tool, or even print out the leads if you need to. Whatever you can do to make sure you’re hitting the phones hard.
Gong’s data shows that prospects are most likely to pick up during these times:
- Wednesdays and Thursdays (avoid Mondays and Fridays if possible)
- 11am-12pm and 4pm-5pm in the prospect’s local timezone
Remember these are stats accumulated from averages. You should also experiment and pay attention to when pick up rates are the highest for you. I know some reps shred on Mondays and spend a lot of time on Fridays making calls. And it works for them.
Blocking off 2-3 one-hour blocks on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday would be a good general rule of thumb for getting started.
Start implementing these four strategies and you’ll see a significant increase in the effectiveness of your cold calls.