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7 Essential B2B Cold-Calling Tips and Techniques

Posted by IndustrySelect on Tuesday, March 9, 2021



Cold calling is an inaccurate name for what is actually very productive and, in many cases, friendly business conversations that you might actually enjoy. Misunderstanding the purpose of cold calling and using outdated strategies can hurt your ability to form relationships with potential clients. Take a look at some ways you can improve your cold call performance to avoid that.

1. Is Cold Calling Really Cold?

The first thing you should know is that a cold call is not about selling anything. It is about forming a relationship with the other business. You should already have done some research into who you’re calling so it's not a complete mystery. However, they will not know anything about you or your abilities. The call is an opportunity to inform them about what you do and how you can help them as well as build synergy with what they do.

2. What Do You Know About Them?

Despite it potentially sounding boring, researching is a quick way to keep from unnecessarily embarrassing yourself. Calling a company, having no idea what they make or sell yet wanting them to use your services is damaging. How can you help them when you don’t know the slightest bit about them? At best, you will appear uncaring and at worst, incompetent.

Researching before the call gives you insight into their company, sector and specific challenges. To help remember details, we suggest utilizing a cheat sheet that you can use during the call. It can include basic information about their industry, unusual facts about the company or specific contacts.  IndustrySelect provides this type of information as a part of their industrial database subscription, delivered in an easy-to-access format that can radically improve your pre-call research.

3. Keep It Flowing

Cold calling is extremely efficient with regard to time. But it can also be challenging to form a connection within a relatively short interval. If you haven't captivated your prospect within roughly 20 seconds, the chances of keeping them on the line go down exponentially.

One way to avoid this is to get them to talk about themselves and their industry. Rather than asking questions that allow a prospect to find an excuse to end the conversation, ask a question that makes them engage. For example, asking if you caught them at a bad time hands them an excuse to hang up! On the other hand, asking how their weekend was can throw gatekeepers off guard enough that they won’t hang up. In fact, studies have shown that unexpected questions like “How have you been lately?” have a 6.6 times greater success rate than traditional opening lines.

4. Stay Focused

Once you have captured their attention, ensure that you maintain yours. Distractions can destroy a call that was otherwise going positively. Don’t get pulled into checking social media or browsing your emails while on the call. If you’re worried that you’ll forget to mention something important, use a script.

While the sales industry is commonly referred to as a script, think of it as more of a checklist. It’s not intended to be a rote procedure for each call, but rather a memory assistance device to help you remember key points to bring up. This way, you can keep the conversation natural while still covering all the topics, regardless of the industry.

5. Know What to Ask

Earlier, we mentioned creating a cheat sheet that you could use to reference important facts about the company. Another productive idea is to add potential questions that the prospect may ask. While you won’t be able to predict everything they might inquire about, having answers ready for some of the most likely questions will give them more confidence in your knowledge and abilities. A general knowledge about their industry can also help with the inquiry predictions.

6. Post Cold Calling

After the call, resist the urge to immediately begin dialing another prospect. Take a few minutes to evaluate the call and your performance. Be fair, but be honest with what you did right and what could use a bit of work. This self-debriefing will help hone your skills so that you become a cold-calling all-star. Be sure to send follow-up emails too, as 80% of calls require around five follow-ups to close completely.

7. Tenacity (And Good Data) Wins

Not all calls will end in a sale or even a lasting business relationship. Some people will hang up immediately while others may listen for a few seconds and then hang up. Don’t let this rejection discourage you. Instead, view the experience as self-elimination for the companies that were not the right fit. Keep using these tips when you call, and you will soon find that after a while, the "Yes" will outnumber the "No."

We hope you will find these tips useful when reaching out to new prospects and make your conversations more enjoyable. Remember that solid business partnerships are built on good data. If you're looking for sales leads in the industrial world, IndustrySelect provides comprehensive, accurate and affordable industrial sales leads built for what you're selling. Try a free demo today or check out our infographic: What to Expect in a Good Data Provider (INFOGRAPHIC). 

Read More: How to Leverage Account-Based Marketing


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