The COVID 19 pandemic has negatively impacted sales for most businesses. How can you adapt your cold calling strategy for a successful rebound in 2021?
The COVID 19 pandemic has drastically changed how we do business. At its onset, and in part to conform with restriction protocols, companies adopted digital selling, virtual meetings, and conducting business over the phone.
These measures may have been considered temporary, but they have now become the new normal in running a business as the situation drags along. As businesses lose their bottom lines to the pandemic due to lockdowns, sales managers have to be more innovative than ever before.
This includes utilizing all available sales techniques, including social selling, referrals, email marketing, direct sales, and yes-cold calling. Most sales reps admit to feeling intimidated by cold calling. Research shows that 53% give up easily when cold calling, and 48% of sales reps are afraid of cold calling. One of the reasons for this fear is the nature of cold calling. This sales technique involves calling up prospects to interest them in a product or service.
The obvious issue here is that those prospects have not asked to be contacted and may not be interested in what is being sold. As a result, most customers consider cold calling intrusive and even annoying. Cold calling as a sales strategy has been heavily impacted by digitization. Statistics show that over 80% of consumers now conduct their research online before making a purchase decision. This means that they may not find value for random sales calls from hopeful sales reps.
Similarly, unless businesses embrace digitalization and change tact in sales prospecting, they will continue to hit a brick wall. According to Forbes Magazine, cold calling is only successful 2% of the time.
How can a business then embrace this sales strategy to stay afloat during the pandemic?
Here are our 5 best tips on how to adapt your cold calling strategy to 2021: Research your prospects In the past, sales reps spent the day dialing number after number in what came to be known as the ‘spray and pray technique.
This means that they kept calling numbers in the hope that someone would show interest. This technique will not work in a digital world. Instead, we recommend that sales managers carry out thorough research of their target market or prospects. This will allow them to understand their customers better, including their needs and challenges. They will then customize their offer as a solution to these needs, giving value to customers. Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are good places to start when researching a prospect.
Use a cold calling script
You may have come across pundits who argue that cold calling scripts are robotic and have no place in 2021.We disagree. For many sales reps, making a cold call is daunting enough in itself, particularly if you are new at it. Now imagine trying to call a total stranger without any guide or reference. You may easily forget what you wanted to stay, go off-topic, or worse, go quiet on the call. A cold calling script is crucial as it will keep your conversation in check, guiding you on what to say next.
It can also help you answer some of the frequently asked questions regarding your product or service. That said, we do not advocate that you read your script word for word but rather use it as a guide. After making several cold calls, we recommend that you optimize your script based on customer responses throughout the conversation, fine-tuning it and making it more effective for even higher chances of success.
A cold call is not a sales pitch If you are calling prospects and immediately trying to sell them something, you will probably not get the results you want. The aim of a cold call should not be to make an immediate sale but rather to understand what the prospect needs in relation to what you have to offer.
Instead of bombarding them with a sales pitch, ask thoughtful questions about their pain points and tailor your offer as a solution to their needs. The goal of a cold call should be to get more time with the prospect in the form of another call, email, or even a meeting.
Automate your sales efforts
One of the ways that you can take advantage of technological advancements is by digitizing your cold calling campaign.
Gone are the days when sales reps spent all day dialing one number after the other for hours. Today, customer relationship management (CRM) tools make the job more efficient and effective. For instance, it is possible to make hundreds of calls per day using automatic dialers. Sales reps can also consolidate sales, prospect data, social media, and other marketing techniques to stay on top of their campaigns.
These tools also record calls, which is crucial for improving the next conversation. Figure out the best time to call There are several theories regarding the best time to make cold calls, and it doesn’t hurt to pay attention to them. Imagine calling a prospect and catching them during their lunch, as they sit down to dinner, or in the middle of a thick report. They will definitely not give you the attention that you deserve. If you are calling a prospect in a different country, account for the time difference. As a rule, pick a time that is best for your customer, not for you.
According to Hubspot, the best days of the week to call prospects are Wednesday and Thursday, while the worst are Monday and Friday. This is understandable as on Mondays most people are preoccupied with planning the week. Similarly, most people are already entering weekend mode on Friday and will not be keen on a sales proposal. The study also shows that the best time to make cold calls is between 11 am-12 pm and 4 pm-5 pm. Of course, these guidelines are not absolute. As you continue making cold calls, you will start to understand the days and times that work best for you. Image Source: