I can’t count how many times I’ve heard reps say “cold calling is the worst!”
As an admirer from afar, I see the fear in reps when they hear the word cold. Like a shiver down their spine as if they are reliving the worst memory in their life.
But rightfully so, I remember when I had to make cold calls to small business owners, half the calls were just owners telling me to “f*** off and they were not interested in anything I have to offer”. Not going to lie it hurt my feeling every time.
I even remember having a conversation with Sarah Drake (Senior SDR for Directive) where she mentioned her worst cold call
“I had a call where I did my normal beginning and the person said let’s see what kind of trash sales person you are…”
Even listening to that hurt my soul, but after all that we all know how crazy important cold calling is to prospecting. There is a reason why so many sales reps rely on it to generate millions of dollars in sales every day.
But the most major flaw a lot of reps go through is how to be effective while cold calling, it’s very similar to stand up when you first start understanding how to avoid bombing is so hard.
I use to spend hours online looking for answers on how to be funny and then when I kept bombing all I wanted to read were other comedians worst bombs to keep my head up.
Kevin Hart once talked about how someone threw a chicken wing at him while he was on stage, also Bill Burr mentioned how he was literally boo’d off stage.
A girl named Yamenika Saunders one of the best up and coming stand-ups today spoke about how she was boo’d all the way from the Apollo back home. IT WAS EPIC AND HORRIFYING ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Must listen if you want to understand what perseverance does.
One thing I realized there is a methodology to cold calling and once you understand that it can help you push through your calls, while you are learning to understand how to be effective.
So, I sat down and spoke with a bunch of cold calling experts Cara Fellemen (Director of Sales at Resy), Sarah Drake (Senior SDR at Directive), Ryan Wilusz (Sales Manager at LeadIQ) and Aaron Browning (VP Sales at FrontSpin). All who have been doing it for years and to this day still prospect themselves.
14 cold calling tips and techniques from the gurus:
1. Understand the opportunity
See the biggest ket for cold calling is doing your mental preparation. Understand the opportunity that lies ahead.
For me the best SDR's have the entrepreneurial chip.
So looking back at the best performing SDR's have moved through companies fast or gone on to create or run their own companies.
Mainly because it's all about the Leads. If you can create something out of nothing better than the rest, your opportunity is significant.
If an SDR is converting cold leads better than the rest he/she should be using that leverage to get more inbound, move to an AE faster or get a better territory. Maybe this isn't applicable to majority SDR's but it helped me remain committed to the job knowing it was a huge stepping stone.
So the risk vs. reward is off the charts if you are willing to put in consistent effort. Remember; this is a function most run from so if you do it well, "you own 'em". ..... ask your boss for whatever you desire (leads, territory, his salary, etc).
Also do what it takes to motivate you before you pick up the call whether it’s music or listening to youtube clips of Tony Robbins or movies like Tommy Boy just make sure you take care of your mental preparations.
2. Practice, practice, practice
The last thing you want to do as a rep is get connected with a high value prospect and word vomit all over their shoes or even worse, freeze up and not know what to say. Make sure you practice with your teammates and manager before actually reaching out to a prospect.
3. Understand who your customer’s ICP is
Having an understanding as to who they’re selling to helps you derive relevant pain related questions
4. Do your research and sound human-like
The first 5 seconds still scares the $hit out of me. With the internet it makes it allot easier. Do some research and find an opener you're comfortable with.
Remember- finding your voice and tone is very important. You want to sound human and likable. My go to is a compliment on something job related off their LI profile that can lead to an additional discussion. Everyone loves complements and to talk about themselves. Not many are going to hang up after a compliment.
Then pitch your value prop and KEEP IT SIMPLE (like talking to a 6 year old simple).
Do not ever open with: Are you busy, do you have a few minutes?, is this a bad time?, did you get my email? All dead ends and will lead to a "No" and/or "Dial tone"
5. Lead with an upfront contract
Never immediately go into your pitch when the customer answers the call.
The reason upfront contracts work is that if you gain commitment to pitch, those next 25-30 seconds are yours and the prospect is paying close attention to what you have to say.
Without gaining acceptance your pitch may be fantastic but could go in one ear and out the other
6. Call during periods where there’s a high probability your prospect will answer the phone
According to a 2017 study by CallHippo, the best time to call prospects is from 4:00pm-5:00pm followed by 11:00am-12:00pm
If you’re not territory based you can actually mimic this across timezones for more high probability connects
7. Know your objections
Each company is gong to have certain common objections (i.e. using a competitor, no budget, not interested, reach back out in X months).
The last thing you should be doing on a cold call is thinking about how to overturn an objection.
You should know what to anticipate and be able to react
Have your go to responses and make sure they include open ended questions.
Starting with a "What" question is my go to:
Prospect: "We are using your (competition)"
You: "I appreciate that" (I use this line after almost every objection) they have a good platform/service, etc." "What is that relationship like?" They should open up and tell you what is good and bad. If not, you can ask what they don't like and then take the conversation from there.
8. Know all of your value props
It’s important to be able to pivot value props based off a customers pain
9. Communicate your value
Always communicate What is in it for them. If the prospect doesn’t know what is it it for them, do not expect them to say yes to the demo. And for some reason they do say yes, but do not know how this call benefits them, the odds are you and your AE will be the only two in that meeting.
10. Call cell phones
Not everyone is going to be receptive of this - However, many people in SAAS and B2B don’t even have desk phones. Calling mobile numbers ensures for higher connect rates. We call cell phones here at LeadIQ and our SDR team had 15% connect rates in September. That’s roughly 200% the industry average of 4-6%.
11. Listen to the good, the bad and the ugly
Set time aside each day to review your calls. Regardless of how the call went, you will learn something every time you listen to a call which will help you get better
12. Don’t take it personal
Not everyone is going to be super thrilled you’re calling them out of the blue and you may get lectured, hung up on or in some cases even sworn at. You are just doing your job and getting the no’s is only going to lead you towards a yes.
13. Call prospects at different times of the day
If you called them yesterday at 10:00am and they didn’t answer try calling today at 4:00pm - The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results
14. Know when to close:
Your job is to get them to next step (appt, demo, disco call, etc) don't try and get their social security number. Once their is interest - go for a direct close.
Be yourself, put in consistent effort and the World is yours!