Cold calling can be a challenge, even for experienced sales professionals. That’s why it’s never a bad idea to brush up on your sales call skills with a helpful list of tips and best practices. But it’s also helpful to understand how you can pair those tips with expert sales data to ensure your cold calls are as effective as possible.
7 Best Practices for B2B Cold Calling
1. Ask Open-Ended Questions
During a cold call, when you ask a yes-or-no question, it often leads to a dead-end in the conversation. When you ask more open-ended questions, you create opportunities to continue the discussion. This can help you find more pain points to follow-up on and allow you to lead the conversation toward the products or services you sell.
2. Focus on Solutions
When talking about a product or service you offer, don’t just focus on its features or tools. Instead, focus on solutions and how the product or service could directly benefit the prospect. Focusing on solutions allows you to answer questions on how your product or service is a better option compared to the competition. It also helps your prospects understand how what you’re selling can provide them with answers to their problems or pain points.
3. Make It About Them
A lot of salespeople often have a practiced speech they’re ready to whip out from the start of the conversation. But immediately jumping into the “sales” portion of a sales call can make the discussion feel very scripted and might cause the prospect to lose interest. Instead, use the time to connect with the prospect and learn more about them and their business. In fact, it’s been shown that opening your cold call with “How’ve you been?” has a higher success rate of booking a meeting versus jumping into what you’re selling.
Show interest in what their business does and the current projects they’re trying to accomplish. Let them know that buying your product or service is more than just making a purchase, it’s the start of a strong and beneficial relationship with your company. It’s also helpful to take note of what the prospect says about their life and their business using a CRM. If the sale doesn’t go well in the first call, you can always call back and use your newfound information to show them you were listening during the last conversation.
4. Keep Your Pitch Short
During a sales call, especially for B2B, it’s important to be respectful of your prospect’s time. Afterall, they have a business to run too. Keeping your pitch short and sweet, outside of the natural flow of conversation, can show them you care about their busy life. Most often, you’ll be able to tell fairly quickly how interested or uninterested a prospect is in the products or services you’re offering. So, if you notice they aren’t biting, try using the remainder of your time to build rapport, or politely and quickly end the conversation and try again on a different day.
5. Recover When It Doesn’t Go Your Way
If a sales call doesn’t go the way you hoped, that’s okay. Take the opportunity to learn from the experience and see if the prospect might be willing to tell you more about their decision. Are they not ready to buy at this time? Was there something you could have done differently to better sell the product or service? Asking questions in a way that doesn’t make your prospect defensive and conducting a short survey can help you improve your selling efforts and make sure the next call is even better than the last.
But it’s also important to keep in mind that a missed sale might not always be directly related to your approach or sales pitch. Sometimes when a cold call doesn’t go your way, it’s due to other factors that you can’t foresee or control.
6. Follow Up
Following up with your prospects might seem like “Selling 101” but it’s still overlooked. In fact, over 35% of leads aren’t followed-up on after initial contact. If you send a follow-up email or phone call a little too late, or forget to do it at all, you might miss out on more lead nurturing opportunities or on closing the sale entirely.
Afterall, 90% of the buyer’s journey is done before a prospect even talks with a sales representative. At that point, it often comes down to who reaches out first. In fact, 38% to 52% of the time, a sale goes to the first salesperson who responds. Send a follow-up and keep your products or services top-of-mind, so you can finalize the sale and block out the competition.
7. Research Your Prospects
Researching your prospects ahead of time allows you to steer the sales conversation more effectively. Don’t simply unload all the information you learned about the prospect, but naturally move the conversation using data and pointed questions.
Steering the conversation toward the products or services you sell can help you create your own opportunities to talk about the solutions you offer to your prospect’s pain points. For example, when you research a prospect ahead of the call, you can learn what type of brands they already own and when they tend to make purchases.
Using this information, you can create an advantage for your sales call and direct the conversation toward the brands or services you provide that directly relate to your prospect’s wants or needs. You can also better understand revenue opportunities, so your sales team can prioritize their visits or number of touches.
Find The Right Data for The Job
If you’re hoping to research your prospects ahead of time, you’re going to need up-to-date, accurate information to get the job done. Randall Reilly offers data products, like EDA and RigDig BI, that can help you with all your prospecting needs.
If you work in industries like agriculture, construction, or trucking, you can use our products to learn more about your prospects before making a cold call. That includes where their business is located, what brands of heavy equipment they currently own, and what time of the year they tend to make purchases. Contact Randall Reilly today to see how you can boost your sales prospecting and make the most of your cold calls.