The daunting task can actually be fruitful if you follow these rules.
Grow your business,
Not your inbox
Stay up to date and subscribe to our daily newsletter now!
5 min read
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
Cold calling can be daunting. You have a list of numbers that you need to call every day and your calls may be sent to voicemail more often than to an actual person. You can't seem to call anyone, let alone make an actual appointment. You try to call more people but get the same results.
When I started calling cold, I made an effort to find potential customers on the phone. I've worked through my list of numbers diligently, often with little success. Then I changed my approach and booked at least 15 appointments a day for six months. Now that you've learned these three cold calling rules, you can use them to help you achieve your goals:
1. Get a "yes, yes"
This concept comes from the book How to Make Friends and Influence People, which teaches readers how to connect with people by being more personable.
Getting a "yes, yes" means reaching an agreement. This strategy is not the same as getting the prospect to say yes by asking open-ended questions unrelated to what you are calling about. You want to reach an agreement on the most important principles that are relevant to the subject at hand. Start with small things based on principles, and then build on them. You want to create a common position by agreeing on common ground.
Most of the potential customers you call will say they are happy with the services or products they are currently offering. So start with that. For example, when you sell insurance, the first thing you should say is, "I'm sure you have an insurance plan that you are happy with." The prospect will most likely agree that they do this, but because you understand their position, they will immediately feel more comfortable with you.
Then stir the conversation with questions about things you still agree on: Can we agree that time is money and that anything is possible? Is it possible that there is a better insurance deal out there?
Once you have the prospect of agreeing with you, start moving an appointment with them. It is important that you never contradict the view as it can be seen as an argument. They can acknowledge their objections and agree with their point of view, but not their conclusion.
Related: 6 Tips To Get You To Love (Or At least Tolerate) Cold Calls
2. Cold calling is not a numbers game.
It has long been believed that the more people you call, the more appointments you can make. This method does not take into account the reality of the world we live in today.
Think about your own work day. You might be in meetings in the morning, running errands on your lunch break, and bringing your kids to a doctor's appointment in the afternoon. You may only be sitting at your desk for a few hours on any given day. If I only call once before moving to the next number, it is very unlikely that I will get in touch with the prospects on that call. But if I missed you in the morning, maybe I can reach you in the afternoon.
The key is to call fewer prospects each day and instead call those prospects more often. I recommend calling each lead three to four times a day for up to three to four days. As an example, I made 40 contacts every day to get 15 scheduled appointments. However, do not leave voicemail as this will bring the ball into the other person's field of play. Don't leave voicemail until you are exhausted and try to get it as a last resort.
Related Topics: 4 Tips for Mastering Cold Calls (And How Not To Disrupt Leads In The Process)
3. You can sell more to potential customers who have no need.
Most people fail this call because of that one mistake. The mantra we've all heard is that when looking on the phone, you need to identify a need first. With this old way of thinking, you only focus on prospects who are proven to have a need. That way, you've limited your potential prospects to a small percentage of a B2B market.
This is because 95% of all potential customers tell you that they are happy with what they have. You don’t need it. You are happy with what has worked in the past. Focusing only on those who have a need can make your cold calling frustrating and similar to trying to find a needle in a haystack.
It was precisely for this reason that the Febreze company was almost pulled off the shelves. According to The Power of Habit, Febreze only advertised people who they believed had a need: people with pets or who smoked. But these people were desensitized to the smell of their home and didn't know it smelled bad. The market audience was actually with people who preferred their homes to smell fresh and clean. If Febreze had only targeted people they believed had a need, they would not have survived as a company.
People are used to what they have until they are shown something else. So don't eliminate this population as a potential prospect. You are your best target market.
Related: The 3-Step Method for Changing a Habit