Top cold calling mistakes that are costing you valuable business
Cold calls are still a valuable tool for salespersons. They are useful and needed to grow a business and sell products and services. Today, thanks to the wealth of knowledge available online, sales reps can be better prepared and more informed when making cold calls to potential customers. Sales reps can get to know a company quite well before making the call. Cold calls can be less “cold” and lifeless as they used to be in the past because of this.
However, there are still mistakes people make when doing cold calls. Here, we discuss seven of these cold calling mistakes that are costing you valuable business.
Calling companies from an old, static list
If your company has used cold calls in the past to generate interest or partnerships, then it is likely that you have a list of companies who you have called in the past. While this is a great resource to have, do not overly rely on it. It may be that the companies on that list no longer are a fit for your company.
Companies change and evolve over time — including yours. So it is likely that a company who you cold called in the past has changed how they do business — or the way you do business has diverged from them — so you will find little connection and few opportunities to find commonality and interest. Take the time to update your list of companies with ones who are moving towards the same goals as you are, or who have the same trajectory of growth or market interest.
Doing no research prior to the call
When you have a fresh list of companies to call, it is now time to research them. Get to know what they do, who runs the show, how they interact with customers, and as much other information about them as possible. If you call a company without knowing even the basics about what they do or what they represent, you will be rejected very quickly.
You do not need to run an audit on the company to get to know them — just know the basics. Think of it like applying for a job: you do enough research about the company so that you know how to market yourself and your skills to them.
At the least, you should know the company’s firmographics (location, number of employees, and value proposition), with whom you will be speaking and their title, characteristics of the company that will gain value from what you offer to them, and some recent events or news about the company.
Sticking to a generic sales script
Sales scripts are helpful to have on hand as they will help you to remember to cover all the important points of your pitch, but don’t rely on them for each and every company that you call. Sticking to a generic sales script will make you sound robotic and cold on your cold call.
Doing the research as described above helps you modify your pitch according to the company’s interest. When you know what the company may be after or needing, you can reword, redact, and add to a script so that it is personable to each and every company. Be sure to add things to say in a script that is relevant to the company, such as congratulating them on a recent expansion or an award.
Being too informal
One of the byproduct mistakes that come from researching and personalising a script for a company is that you feel too comfortable with them, even before you make the call. It is great that you feel like you have known the company for several years, but be sure to keep your professionalism intact when making the cold call.
You want to build a friendly rapport with the company without being rude and intrusive. Avoid informal language, and be sure to keep your company’s tone of voice present. You are building a professional relationship, not meeting a friend at a pub.
Making a pitch before establishing a connection
Whether you go by a script or not, you never want to make the sales pitch before making a professional connection with the company. Do not go straight to the sales pitch. Instead, start by getting to know them, discuss some relevant matters about the company, and, most of all, present yourself as helpful. Companies want to know the people behind the pitch before knowing the pitch itself.
Asking close-ended questions
By now, as a salesperson, you know not to ask questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no.” You want to ask questions that move the conversation forward.
Asking good questions shows that you are a good listener and, when the questions are poignant, genuinely curious and interested in the company. For example, you can ask the company about their top priorities at the moment, or their feelings about certain situations or current events, their opportunities in the future.
Not knowing your product inside-out
It is hard to sell something that you have little knowledge or understanding of. While at this point you may know what the product is, you should know the product inside and out.
Customers these days can know a lot about a product thanks to online help articles or articles about it in general on the Internet. This means that they may have already thought of questions about the product and how it can help them and their business. With this in mind, you too want to know your company’s own products. Know them so well that you could sell it to anyone in any industry. Now, there will be times where you are caught off guard by a very good question. In cases like this, do not be afraid to be open and honest that you do not have an answer for the company at that moment. Tell them that you will speak with the design or technical team to find the answer. Be sure to then get back to the company with that answer.