First impressions are “make or break” in the business world. Even with the advent of selling through social media, cold calling is an essential part of any business development plan. Cold calling new prospects sets the tone and foundation for developing long-lasting, rewarding business relationships. Done correctly, cold calling can be empowering and effective. The following are key cold calling tips to build a rapport and establish equity with potential customers:
- A Positive Outlook – The majority of sales professionals view cold calling as boring, monotonous and unpleasant. No one is going to waste valuable time during his or her workday to listen to a stranger with a poor attitude. Before you make the call get into the right frame of mind. Be confident, upbeat and pleasant no matter the direction and outcome of the interaction.
- A Strong Opening – Being clear and concise paired with a powerful introductory statement is key. Cold calling often entails interrupting the prospect’s day; therefore, being overly detailed will lose the customer’s attention. Reserve the specifics about your products and services for a following call with the customer.
- Engaged Questions – Based on the response to the opening statement, ask focused questions that will help the customer see the situation more clearly. Instead of asking questions that manifest a “yes” or “no” response, ask questions that facilitate that conversation and move it in a positive direction. Stay locked in to the conversation so your response builds a shared understanding and credibility with the customer.
- Note Taking – Keep organized, detailed notes on each call with a prospect. Be sure to document if specific business needs or personal facts like their favorite sports team came up. These notes can be a great resource to help your next call go smoothly. Utilize your company’s CRM system, as your notes will be optimized which can help drive sales. A prospect wants to be helped rather than sold to and referring to notes on earlier dialogue will help in that pursuit.
- Follow Up – After the call with a prospect, send a short thank you email. Remind the customer of the value you could bring to their company. If the prospect didn’t show any interest, share a short success story or a few competitive advantages that your services or products can provide. If the call was positive, ask the prospect for a follow up call.
Connecting with new prospects is the lifeblood of the sales process. Done right, cold calling can be empowering and deliver game changing accounts. Pick up the phone and get after it!
Univest Capital is a subsidiary of Univest Bank and Trust Co.