Ask any call center agent who conducts cold calls and they will tell you that getting anyone to stay on the line, or even pick up the phone for that matter, can be difficult at best. Many people consider these calls to be intrusive; at the very least you can expect a curt, “Thanks, but no thanks!”
But as 3C Contact Services tells their partners, there are some secrets they can follow that will give them a better chance at success when cold calling.
Top Techniques for Cold Calling Success
Here are a few ways that your agents can improve their cold calling techniques:
Research a List of Prospects
Just because you are cold calling prospects doesn’t mean you don’t have to do your research. One of the most effective cold calling tips is to make sure you are putting in the time to choose your targets wisely. The better the quality of targets, the more likely you are to earn some engagement and increase your conversion rates. It’s also a good idea to get as close to a decision maker as possible. You don’t want to waste your time convincing someone who doesn’t have the power to pull the strings, or at least influence the person pulling the strings.
Focus on the Goal
If you are practising successful cold calling techniques, your immediate reward is not a sale. Essentially you are cold calling so you can get a meeting to present your pitch in full. When you think about cold calling from this perspective, as a step rather than a final move, it makes the ask less daunting.
Prepare Your Script
No matter what cold calling tips and tricks you use, you need to be prepared. That means having a script with key talking points ready and rehearsed before making any calls. And keep in mind that your script is just a reference. You shouldn’t be reading directly from your script in a robotic type manner. You should know your script so well that you can communicate the points in a conversational tone.
Acknowledge and Respond to Concerns
Letting customers know how long the call will take can go a long way towards holding their interest. For example, if your agent tells Mrs. Smith that they realize she is busy, but the call will only take a few minutes, there’s more of a chance Mrs. Smith will listen. Your agents may not always have success using this approach, but offering reassurance and acknowledging that the person you are calling is busy will go a long way in determining whether or not they will stay on the line.
If the customers say they’re in the middle of doing something, don’t plow ahead with your spiel! Tell them they don’t have to answer all the questions, and give a brief version of the topic the cold call is regarding. If they are interested, the agent can go into more detail.
Keep the Opening Casual
As we mentioned earlier, the opening seconds of the call are the most important. For instance, if the caller notes where you’re calling from, a brief conversation may be enough to hook their interest. The agent can then return to the script.
Don’t Be Afraid to Improvise
They say you only have a few seconds to get the attention of the person you’re calling. If your agent sounds scripted—no matter how friendly or confident the agent may be—chances are the person they are calling will not be willing to listen. In fact, the first secret to a successful cold call is throwing the script out the window—or at least setting it aside for part of the call. According to a study from Qualtrics, only 38% of scripted cold calls are successful.
So it seems the secret to a successful cold call is not sounding scripted. To achieve this, encourage your agents to try improvising when calling, using the script as a general guideline of what they should say to each customer but adlibbing when needed to keep them on the line. Better yet, if your agents have some kind of background information on the customers, they can customize the calls.
A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work and the people you are calling would like to feel like they are individuals instead of a name on a list.
Don’t Be Robotic
Remember: if you treat cold call recipients like human beings and not just another number, your agents will experience far more success. While most people dislike unsolicited calls, taking this approach, such as addressing customer concerns, will lead to more success when cold calling.
Use the Prospect’s First Name in Conversation
When working with any prospect, you want to be as personal as possible without crossing any lines. Calling a prospect by their first name makes them feel more comfortable, and gives you a bit more confidence in being able to speak freely. Using their first name also helps to prevent a prospect from feeling like they are being sold something and instead, creates the energy of a familiar back-and- forth dialogue.
Speak Only One or Two Sentences at a Time
When engaging with prospects, one of the best cold calling techniques is to keep your sentences brief. What this does is first show that you are doing more listening than selling. It also helps keep the prospect focused so that they do not have too much to think about other than taking the next step. You have to remember that cold calling infers that you are speaking with someone for the first time. All of the information you are presenting is new to the person on the other end of the phone. Speaking in one or two sentences at a time allows the prospect to wrap her or his mind around everything you are telling them.
Follow Up After the Call
This may be the most important point of them all. So many agents forget about or don’t consider following up with a prospect after making contact on an initial cold call. But the most successful cold calling tips should always involve a follow-up call. This is when you really grind down on prospects to find out how interested they are in your pitch and whether they are ready to take the next steps.
3C Contact Services provides professional call center solutions designed with customer service at the forefront. We treat each new potential customer uniquely, acknowledging their needs and concerns while professionally representing your quality products and services. For more information on our contact center solutions, contact us today.
Broome, J., ” Scripting Cold Calls Is A Bad Idea: Why Most Call Center Managers Have It Wrong,” Forbes web site, May 6, 2015; http://www.forbes.com/sites/datafreaks/2015/05/06/scripting-cold-calls-is-a-bad-idea-why-most-call-center-managers-have-it-wrong/.