Cold calling can be stressful. You may be hearing “not interested” from 95% of the people you call. It tires your throat and drains you emotionally. To avoid this situation, you may be working on your cold call scripts. Some of you who have worked harder may have 2-3 different scripts that you have tried. But alas, the results remain more or less the same.
Now you will start thinking that maybe this cold calling does not work. For the large percentage of tele-callers, sales executives and business development executives, this experience and the feelings of failure are just the same.
We, at NeedleMover, dug deeper to understand why the cold calling failure rate is so high.
We found that there are mainly 3 reasons behind the majority of the failure:
1. Wrong choice of target customer profile
2. Wrong mindset of the sales executive
3. Lacking a good framework to have an effective cold calling script
Reason number 1 has to be rectified by the senior management in the organization.
But as a sales executive, reasons number 2 and 3 are completely in your hands. So let us find a solution for them.
Which are the 2 mindsets that greatly hurt your cold calling results? Which changes in them help?
We found that in cold calling, mindset plays a huge role in the eventual success of the sales executives.
In a team that we monitored, we have seen polar opposite results between the sales reps. Many of those reps were booking 2-3 appointments in 120 calls while a few of them booking 5-6 appointments in just 40 to 45 calls. This is a difference of almost 500% in the efficiency of cold calling!
So what was crippling those booking just 2-3 appointments in 100+ calls?
1. Deep down sales executives believe that cold calling sucks and it does not work!
This can be obvious considering most of these sales reps did not take the sales profession out of choice. When they started working, no one cared about them or their work. Everyone always asked them only about their results.
This hampered their self-esteem, which eventually made them wonder if cold calls really work. Every time they got an appointment, it was more about their luck than their skill.
If you are one of those disgruntled sales executives these are highly motivating statistics for you –
Among prospects who are willing to hear from sales representatives, 71% say the earlier the better – during the information-gathering stage of a new project.
62% prefer sellers to call when they are actively engaged in solving a business problem.
49% when they are analyzing their situation and its causes,
54% when they have decided to buy and are selecting a provider,
and 30% in response to a request for a proposal.
– RAIN Group
What does this tell you?
This means cold calls are important and they help greatly even in modern sales. So know that your work matters and if you do it with strong intent, you will not be treated as a nut and bolt in your company.
2. 99% of the sales executives make calls to make their sales targets, instead of giving value to their prospects.
Yes, you read it right. If you are one of them, do not feel bad. It is obvious considering the environment that you work in.
Here is the biggest learning for you – even in the first call with a stranger, you “can” give something valuable to them. It can be insight about selling, or their business or something new which is useful for them which they may not be aware of.
A simple question will help you understand the importance of this mindset –
“Will you want to speak to those who are interested in themselves or those who are interested in you?”
When your calls start with the mindset of giving instead of taking, you will see that more prospects want to speak with you.
Now that we have covered the mindsets needed, let us see what happens with the cold call scripts.
Why do companies create cold call scripts?
Here are a few important reasons to have cold calling scripts:
1. It helps in training new sales hires
2. Once properly practiced, they help sales reps focus on the client instead of what they have to say. It works like muscle memory for them during the call.
3. It keeps all the key points to talk about in the conversations handy or easy to remember for the sales executives.
Cold calls give you a short window of few seconds to a minute to create initial rapport and get a conversation flowing with the prospect. So being clear about what to say is critical. Scripts make it easy for you.
That said, most scripts fail because they are about the seller rather than the buyer. They put very less thought into what the prospect may be looking for and what value can you provide to them.
This is why every company needs an effective framework to create a powerful cold call script.
Josh Braun, a famous sales trainer has shared a very useful framework for this.
What is the 6 Phase Framework for Cold Call Scripts that make the prospects talk?
Let us dig into those 6 phases.
Phase 1: Ask for the prospect’s Permission. Talk about your Trigger behind the call.
“Hello Raj, this is Amit. We have never connected before but I came across your LinkedIn profile and was hoping that you may be able to help me out for a moment.”
This is when, you have made the prospects a bit curious, which can open them up to listen to you further.
The specific triggers you have talked about behind your call to them, can make them think – “Hmm. Interesting. I want to understand why he is reaching me.”
Phase 2: Establish your Credibility
“Great, thanks! 527 clients in the SAAS industry have increased their sales by 17% solely due to our software.”
All of us want to speak with those who are “worth it”. A quick and small snippet about your credibility immediately after your introduction tells the prospect – “Maybe this person will not be a waste of my time. I will give him a chance.”
One insight about the things you say here – Remember – “Specific is Terrific!” See how specific the numbers are in the line above. Avoid being generic which can make you sound like a typical salesperson. This is your first chance to stand out!
Phase 3: Set the Context for the call
“So I saw that you are in charge of the sales function for ABC.”
Every problem and benefit has a context. In fact, every conversation needs context. Otherwise, it will sound vague. If the context is relevant to the prospect, they will be open to listening further.
None of us likes spending time on things we do not relate with or that do not concern us.
Phase 4: Connect the Context with your first value bomb (presentation, white paper, slide deck) to provide an initial value. Then, invite them to speak with you with reference of questions you would like to ask them.
“I’m calling because I have a case study I wanted to share with you, which is about 15 steps that increased sales closure rates by 150% for our enterprise client. I am wondering if I can ask you a couple of questions to understand if it might be relevant for you.”
This connects with the empowering mindset we mentioned, which helps in cold calling. It is the mindset of giving right from start and in all the touch-points with the prospect.
If what you give, is valuable for the prospects, you are on the verge of making them getting seriously interested in knowing more about you. This is because what you are going to give them connects with some pain or frustration they have.
Phase 5: Bring the Problem up, that you want to focus on, in the conversation
“Many sales heads I speak with tell me that their sales conversion ratios are under 5%.”
This is your chance to bring up the biggest pain that “you” can solve – the topmost frustration that “you” can help them overcome.
If they have this problem, this phase will get them focused on you.
Phase 6: Use a powerful question, that makes them think about this problem in their function/ company.
“By the way, how does that stack up with your experience so far?”
“So, when you faced this in your company what was your experience? What happened after that?”
This is your time to poke the prospect with a powerful and genuine question. Only if you are truly curious about them, it will come out as genuine.
After this pause, even if the prospect seems to be taking some time.
Have the courage to be calm, especially because this is the critical moment at the start of the cold call when the conversation can get going!
Those who connect with your context, pain, and question will respond.
Those who have faced the pain will be most likely to open up about what they faced.
This is a very carefully crafted 6 phase framework for cold call scripting.
It will take some time to carefully develop it, but once done it will make you and your sales executives far more effective.
They will generate more meetings or next steps, in fewer calls. They will feel less tired and more motivated.
What can that do to your sales numbers?