Nowadays, marketers and sales reps have multiple methods to reach out to customers, but the most direct is still cold-calling.
Cold-calling is a way to introduce yourself. When prospective clients pick up the phone, they’re meeting you and hearing about your business for the first time. You need to have an impact if you’re going to convert them.
This is even more important with B2B cold calling, as companies are busy and often fielding several cold calls a day. So, how do you stand out and increase sales with your cold-calling marketing strategy?
When it comes to visual marketing, you can use different ad designs or animated videos to improve conversions. For cold calling, however, it’s about refining your technique to better engage prospective clients.
Here, we’ll go through seven B2B cold-calling techniques to help you.
1. Avoid getting distracted
Engaging customers is vital. For example, behavioral emails can increase customer engagement and sales by reminding them of tasks they need to complete. However, if you're distracted researching behavioral email examples, indulging random thoughts, checking notifications, or veering away from your sales script, you jeopardize your cold call.
Distractions cause you to miss what the prospective client is saying. This leads you to repeat questions, answer the wrong inquiries, and provide inadequate information. It disturbs the flow of conversation and annoys the client, making them less likely to convert.
Some simple things you can do to avoid distractions include:
- Setting aside cold calling time.
- Making your calls in a quiet place free of distractions.
- Using a headset.
- Switching off unnecessary screens, applications, and devices.
Additionally, take a short break between each call to avoid burnout, especially if you work from home. Use this time to evaluate how the call went and reset for the next one, enabling you to focus your attention on your prospective client.
Everyone gets distracted in different ways. Reduce this white noise to give potential clients the undivided attention needed to turn them into paying customers.
2. Make a list of prospects
It’s normal for cold-callers to sift through a database and phone every number, but making lots of calls doesn’t mean you’ll get more conversions.
People buy the services and products they need. This could be to solve a problem or improve their business. By reaching out to businesses that don’t want your products or services, you’re wasting time and resources trying to convince companies you’ll never convert.
Instead, think about what your product offers businesses and create a list of target clients that will be interested in your call. Now, you have time to carry out detailed research on those select companies.
During this, you might find a particular employee that’s likely to be especially receptive to your call. For example, if you’re selling a private branch exchange, contacting someone who’s involved in communications would be better than a member of the design team.
By targeting your efforts, you ensure you connect with the people who will be most interested in what you have to say, instantly improving your conversions.
3. Build a conversation
Cold calls center around convincing someone they need to buy your product. Therefore, the longer you’re on the phone with them, the longer you have to persuade them to move forward with the sale.
One way to increase call length and convert potential clients is to engage them in a conversation. If you’ve done your research, you’ll know about their business and the problems they need to solve. Research, like understanding “what does IVR mean”, is vital to show them you’re serious.
Use the information you’ve gathered to build a rapport with them. Highlight the problems they face and the solutions you can provide. Give examples of previous businesses that have been helped by your services and show them how they could benefit.
When you’re making your cold calls, don’t try to make them as short as possible so you can move on to the next one. Focus on engaging potential clients through conversation and guide them toward converting and moving forward with a sale.
4. Ask relevant questions
Cold calling is a way of making an introduction. While cold callers sometimes get a sale on the first attempt, they’ll likely need a few more warming-up conversations to bring a prospective client around. Therefore, asking relevant questions during that first call helps to better engage potentials and convert them during future calls.
Asking questions additionally serves to improve the client’s perception of you. People are bombarded every day by cold callers who only seem interested in selling. By showing interest in the workings of their businesses, you’re proving you value them, making them more receptive to future interactions.
Questions you might ask include:
- Are you currently looking to improve any areas of your business?
- How are you dealing with [x industry challenge]?
You’ll notice these questions are open-ended. This allows you to discover information about your potential clients and their business problems, allowing you to better sell to them. Even if you don’t make a sale, the information you gather can assist you with other cold calls, improving future conversion attempts.
Be sure to research specific business questions like “what does non fixed VoIP mean” before you make the call or clients might switch off because they feel like you don’t know or care what they do.
5. Use a cold-calling script
When we’re nervous, we can stumble over words, speak too quickly, or forget key talking points. None of these are great selling techniques.
Prospective clients are looking to you to offer authority and assurance about your products and services. The future of their business is on the line, and they’re not going to invest in you if you sound uncertain or leave out critical information.
For example, if you’re promoting a content platform, how can they trust that user-generated content boosts marketing if you can’t provide benefits or give examples?
This is where cold-calling scripts can be essential. They provide you with line-by-line dialogue and act as a guide for the conversation. A good script includes features, details, and questions for your prospective client.
However, don't read the script verbatim. Clients don’t want to be dictated to by a robot. They want free-flowing conversation, where they can ask questions and receive confident responses.
Use the script as a guide, similar to cold email templates. Ensure you go over vital information, ask the right questions, and answer inquiries confidently. Make sure you sound natural when you speak.
By providing clarity and confidence, you can reassure client concerns and improve conversions.
6. Follow up
Sometimes, you miss the client or need to leave a voicemail. Following up is necessary here. Even if your prospect heard every word, they have no obligation to call you back. You’re the one trying to sell to them, so it’s your responsibility to follow up and engage with the client before they switch off.
This has two benefits. Firstly, it allows you another opportunity to make a first impression. Secondly, it shows persistence. A little of this shows you’re determined and confident in your abilities, which translates to your business and products.
By making a follow-up call, businesses see that you care about providing solutions to them. It makes them more likely to engage, improving the chance of a conversion.
7. Call clients at the right time
Imagine you’re in the office on a Friday afternoon and you receive a call about building a marketing strategy with VoIP. Are you likely to focus your attention on it, or are you counting down the minutes until the weekend?
There are good times and bad times to call people. Ringing someone at the end of their workweek or shift is a bad time. They tend to tune out and push new tasks over to the next working day.
Take the above example. Prospective clients are less likely to have the energy or desire to delve into a new task an hour or two away from their weekend plans. So, they ask you to call back at another time or push any decision to next week. By then, they might forget the conversation entirely.
Therefore, knowing when to call is vital to engage potential clients and improve conversions. Avoid the very beginning or very end of the day or week. Instead, aim for the middle. For example, 10 am on Wednesday is better than 9 am on Monday to avoid Monday morning blues.
Take into account lunch breaks and meetings too. Businesses tend to operate on similar schedules, so think about your business and when it would be best to call you.
Use past cold calling data to identify the right time to ring your clients and sidestep voicemails and rejection. This should markedly improve your conversion rate.
Warming up your calls
Cold calling doesn't have to be a nightmare where you struggle to make any sales. It’s a skill, like voice acting, and it can be refined. By learning about your prospective clients, engaging with them, and following up, you can improve their perceptions of you and increase sales.
Remember to use a targeted approach, call clients at the right time, and avoid getting distracted. Ensure you have a solid script prepared to guide you through calls, with relevant questions that will help to gather information for use in future calls.
Cold-calling is a vital sales approach that can introduce your company to other businesses, and employing the techniques above will refine your cold-calling skills and instantly improve B2B conversions.
Richard Conn - Senior Director, Demand Generation, 8x8
Richard Conn is the Senior Director for Demand Generation at 8x8, a leading communication platform with integrated contact center, voice, video, and chat functionality. Richard is an analytical & results-driven digital marketing leader with a track record of achieving major ROI improvements in fast-paced, competitive B2B environments. Here is his LinkedIn.