Here’s a quick story: the last cold call we received was comical. The salesman had no idea where he called, who he was talking to, and what to tell us. In fact, he was calling his competitor to sell us his services… He hung up pretty quickly when we told him who we were! Have you ever made this mistake?
If so, don't worry. We have selected the best tricks that we use at the agency for B2B sales to avoid this kind of situation.
1. Create a list of potential customers to call
The first step is to find and select prospects that match your user persona. The user persona is a fictional character with the characteristics of your target customers — the ones that you want to sell your products or services to.
To do this, you can consult directories of business associations, study the LinkedIn profiles of your contacts, explore the business cards you have collected over the years, analyze newspaper articles or newsletters from your sector to discover companies in your area, etc.
Aim for the person with the most seniority in the organization — or the one with decision-making power — and take note of their contact information.
Take it a step further and do some research on your prospects to learn more about the background of their business.
The goal is to find connections between you and them. Are you part of the same organization? Do you have similar interests? Did they just win an award or get published in a newspaper? This information could help you build better relationships during your calls and bring a nice touch of humanity to your exchanges.
2. Identify the main purpose of the calls
Would you agree to marrying a complete stranger? We didn’t think so!
Desmond Morris, a renowned zoologist, says that there are 12 steps to building interpersonal relationships, which ranges from eye contact to much more intimate contact. What parallel can we draw with business development?
First, you must understand that your potential customers must know that you exist before becoming ambassadors for your brand. If your goal is to sell an eco-friendly product for $250 on a cold call, you'll definitely have a hard time and will be quickly discouraged.
Mr. Morris also explains that skipping two or more steps is considered an attack. In business, it's the same thing. If you try to convince someone to buy too quickly, they risk hanging up on you. You then fall into the "exhausting telemarketer" box.
Therefore. Your goal should be instead to make yourself known to the potential client and offer them the opportunity to continue the discussion at another time. For example, offer them an upcoming meeting time a few days after you send them interesting and catchy documents.
3. Select the right person in your organization to communicate with your prospects
Now that you know which customer to approach and the purpose of the call, identify someone in your company — perhaps you — who is best equipped to perform this task.
Cette personne doit très bien connaître votre entreprise, avoir de l’entregent, de l’empathie, de l’enthousiasme, de la persévérance et un sens de la répartie.
This person must know your business very well, have good interpersonal skills, empathy, enthusiasm, perseverance and a sense of repartee.
The individual from the story at the start of this article seemed to be very new to the business and lacked confidence. We felt it right away. Do not leave this job to a new recruit who has not received any training. It's always better if a leader makes these calls — especially if there is a connection between the leader and the prospect.
4. Prepare a text and a list of frequently asked questions
The worst mistake to make is to recite a text during a call. The purpose of the exercise is to help us formulate key messages that we want to convey to our prospects.
Here is a simple introduction that you can adapt:
“Hello Mr/Ms/Mrs <LAST NAME>. My name is <YOUR FIRST AND LAST NAME> and I run <YOUR COMPANY NAME>. I heard about you through an excellent client of ours. Is this a good time to chat very briefly? < PAUSE – POSITIVE RESPONSE >
Thank you! Our company helps <YOUR TARGET CUSTOMER> to <YOUR CUSTOMER'S ULTIMATE GOAL>, so that they can <YOUR CUSTOMER'S BIGGEST DREAM> without <CORE CUSTOMER FRUSTRATION>. Does this sound interesting to you?"
Then you can follow up with relevant questions to determine if they're a good prospect for your business and end with an invitation, such as a proposal to meet in person.
Another telemarketer contacted us a few months ago claiming to be a Google associate. After some discussions, we understood that it was a private company that had nothing to do with the search engine giant... Above all, don't lie about who you are and be very clear from the start.
Also, be prepared to respond to objections or questions. The more prepared you are, the more confidence you will gain and the better your chances will be of establishing a successful relationship with the prospect.
5. Have a great phone line and good tracking tools
Cell phones and IP phone lines may have some “crackling.” Make sure your line is of excellent quality and that you are not on the road or caught in a storm somewhere. Remember, during a call, you can sometimes hear any background noise very well!
Make sure to have a computer close by to take notes and do some research for the client if the need arises.
6. Determine the perfect time and be ready!
According to a 2017 CallHippo study, the best times to call organizations are Wednesdays and Thursdays between 11 a.m. and noon and between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. At ECOLEAD, we prefer Thursday mornings. This is the perfect time for our target customers.
Nevertheless, do your own testing and check what works best for you.
Another tip: be prepared. It only takes 5 seconds for a prospect to construct an image of you based solely on how they feel about you.
Visualize yourself making the call and giving a great first impression. As the phone rings smile and let the other person's neurons mirror yours and fire off to catalyze a good feeling in them.
7. Actively listen to your prospects
Warning! Do not multitask during the call. We know pretty quickly when a person is not listening to us...
Active listening will allow you to determine if your potential client needs you and if you need them.
Moreover, empathy is your best friend in the context of two-way communication. Recognizing and understanding your prospect's feelings and emotions will help drive you to lead the conversation like a pro.
If it’s a bad time to chat, tell them that you understand the situation and that you will be happy to reach out again at a better time.
8. Above all, do not try to sell at any cost
Every day we are exposed to hundreds of advertising messages in our personal lives. We certainly don't like to feel overwhelmed, and especially not at work.
If the person does not answer your call, you can leave a short positive message mentioning your name, your organization, why you’re calling them and when you will call back. All this should last a maximum of 15 seconds.
9. Treat yourself!
Take breaks between calls. Make yourself a delicious organic and fair-trade hot chocolate to reward yourself before continuing. It makes the process less tiring and it's good for you.
10. Follow up with your prospects and evaluate your performance
Ideally, you should track your calls using customer relationship management (CRM) software such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365. Otherwise, an Excel file can do the job. For some companies. Write down the date of the call, the person you spoke to, the results, and the next actions to take. You can also schedule follow-up alerts on certain dates with software like Outlook.
Here are some data examples to record:
- Number of people called.
- Number of people successfully reached.
- Number of qualified people.
- Number of people with whom you made a sale.
- Average call duration.
Remember to speak from your heart: behind every call is a human being. In the end, we always do business via an H2H formula (human to human).