Cold calls are probably one of those marketing strategies that you are ambivalent about. You may have received cold calls yourself and been annoyed by them. So you must be wondering whether this method is effective to build a B2B network.
To answer this question - yes, cold call is still an effective method to build your B2B network.
Cold calling is often the first—and possibly the most important—step toward creating possibilities to make people aware of your offerings. A cold call's purpose is to make the first contact with a stranger who fits your target audience profile, explain your business or offerings briefly, and see if there's enough interest to proceed. When done well, it works like magic.
The primary purpose of cold calling is to qualify leads. After all, you need to determine whether or not it's worth your time to pursue a lead swiftly. You need to be able to move on to other leads if they aren't going to buy. Through cold calling you can classify your lead as someone who is interested in a specific offer or at a particular time. Or someone who is not interested in your offer at all.
To ensure a higher success rate in cold calls, you just need to keep a few things in mind:
Spend the majority of your time doing research: There’s a saying, “If you have to cut the wood in 6 hours, spend 5 hours in sharpening your axe." Similarly, spend a major portion of your time knowing about your target audience. By knowing your prospect better, you can make them feel special. You can add value to your pitch and draw their attention. Talking about their recent social media post, referring to their specific comment or maybe a special event like when they won an award or got a huge response on their blog, are good examples of customising your call. This will give them a feeling that you're interested in them, you're putting effort into them and it will make them like you. And as you know, we buy only from that salesperson that we like.
Know your audience: The research will also help you to understand how well this person fits into your audience. Very often leads are collected from a campaign or event. Not everyone on the list will match with one type of audience persona. Knowing which category this specific person fits into, will make it easier for you to have a conversation that is useful for them. As an example, a sustainable cosmetic solopreneur will have different types of customers - price conscious, brand conscious or review conscious. When she talks to her leads, she will have to classify them so that she can pitch her product to them appropriately.
Have a script ready: Unless you are someone who is extremely comfortable talking to strangers, you need a script. Remember, the script is not for you to learn by heart. You don't need to repeat the script word to word, just pick the bullet points to cover. Use it as a guide to help in conveying the important points in your message.
Prepare a strong opening line: Ever received a call where the person rattles off their script without pausing for breath? Don’t make this mistake when you’re calling your leads. Even if they don't hang up, they'll lose interest after about 10 seconds. So put some effort in the opening line; the first few seconds are going to decide whether they'll hang up or talk. Here are some examples:
Hi Jhanvi, this is Pallavi from 26 Technology Services. You signed up for a workshop of mine and I’d like to talk to you about it. Is this a good time?
Hi Aditya, this is Pallavi from 26 Technology Services. We've never met but I was on your website / social media and have a quick question. Is it a bad time to talk?
Hello Nidhi. I’m Pallavi. Anshuman gave me your number. Is it a bad time to talk?
Practice: Don't be in a rush, go easy. Before dialling the first number rehearse it with your colleague or partner or just in front of the mirror.
Referrals are best: If you have found their number through a referral, don't forget to mention the source. People are more likely to talk if you come through a known source.
Call at the right time: The right time to call varies depending upon geographies, industries and type of audience. For me, post 5pm works best. I am able to speak to more of my leads once they are done with their work day. You need to experiment with your audience or put yourself in their shoes to know when they are likely to have the time to talk to you.
Fact: Rejection is part of sales. Only 1-3% of cold calls are going to the next level.
Cold calling can help you find new prospects and build a relationship with them. The agenda of cold calling is not to sell on the spot. Try to understand their situation, challenges and take this as an opportunity to book a meeting for further discussion where you can offer your solution. So get started with setting a weekly goal to call your leads and don’t stop before hitting the goal!