It’s one of the toughest games in the business to crack, so let’s give it the glory it deserves. The industry as a whole needs to reimagine the role of the cold caller – and amp up the sport.
Joke question: Who is the only person who hates cold calls more than the one receiving them? Serious (no-joke!) Answer: The person making it.
Don’t get us wrong. This is only a fraction of the total figure. This means there’s an equally compelling fraction of CCR’s (cold calling rockstars) who live for the adrenalin and ecstasy that every ‘dart-in-the-dark’ (that’s cold calling for most of us, isn’t it?) fetches. But it’s the other fraction – the one that considers the task a drudgery – that needs a reality check. They need to be reminded that reality doesn’t always bite. If you know how to sink your teeth into its art and science, it can be a joy.
In the age of Big Data, cold calling can help your business land prospect information and customer data that is gold. Poor data, on the other hand, costs businesses in the U.S. $3.1 Tn per year. So in an age where coding, Artificial Intelligence, and robotics are what every dad and mom want their children to be when they ‘grow up,’ it’s time to grow up to the power of Sales (the superset of the cold call) – and give that Grand Daddy of all vocations another shot.
After all, without sales, there is no business. Mastery in the domain brings other benefits too. It is a tested molder of character, and great Sales personalities are often stellar role models, be it in the red-blooded-courage, presence-of-mind, or being-human department. And with its grueling and exacting nature (complemented by untold spoils of victory), cold calling is one of the truest litmus tests of cales(wo)manship, separating the adults from the chaff.
How do you attract a cold calling rockstar into your fold? Simple. Set the role on fire. And make it bragworthy.
So here are the best cold calling sales techniques…
5 Cold Calling Sales Tips For Turning Cold Calling Piping Hot1. Power Them Up
Cold calling can be a highly rewarding exercise that, if nurtured well, can blossom into a lifelong passion and a fulfilling vocation. However, it can also be an acquired taste at times (a bit like wine and cheese, perhaps?) – one that needs some guidance and initiation, especially in young professionals who are just starting.
And with stats claiming that Cold Calling boasts a success rate of only about 2%, it makes sense at several levels for leaders to institutionalize a cold calling training program for best results – one that features the following pillars:
- A script that cold calling teams can refer to while introducing themselves and charting the conversations forward.
- A list that is broken down into VIPs (big-ticket, high returns), Hot Leads (prospects who have shown a high level of interest at some stage of the funnel and have a high propensity of conversion – this may include your existing and loyal customers too) and B&B’s (Bread-and-Butter’s: The regular everyday stuff that keeps the ‘home fire’ going). As per studies, cold callers armed with a prioritized prospect list can make 49% more contact attempts and extend their discussion time by 88%.
- Set behavioural action-templates: With research suggesting that Cold Callers only have about 5 minutes to convince prospects, you must lay down a psychological map for your teams on not only WHAT to say, but HOW, WHEN, and HOW FREQUENTLY to say it, too.
- Prepare them for rejection: This is a big part and parcel of cold calling and a tough one to get over, especially if one is not accustomed to taking NO for an answer. Deploy a ‘Psycho 101’ type instruction framework that ensures expectations are realistic and trains teams not to miss the wood for the trees: In other words, to take the little losses bravely on the chin and stay on target for the big wins.
- Assign them a coach: One who knows the game well, possesses oodles of patience, and is available for help when they need it most – in other words, in real-time.
- Introduce them to technology: Latest products and innovations in technology have turned managing the nitty-gritty not just easier but more efficient, freeing up vital resources, and letting teams re-focus on the real task at hand – the Cold Call. Integrate a customized tech infrastructure into your workflow system and rev up your cold calling army… digitally.
Action Point: Institutionalize An Intuitive And Granular Cold Calling Training Program
Add the Meaning
Cold calling can be a cold place when the only thing to look forward to is a snub from the other end. Even a successful call is, at best, a clinical tick on a thankless to-do list. Add the warmth of belonging to the equation. Make them feel a certain closeness with the job. Start by reminding your cold calling army what they are fighting for. In other words, start with WHY.
For instance, tell them that they aren’t just the frontlines faces of the business battle but commanders and stakeholders who can sway the fortunes of war with a single gesture or word. Give them sufficient freedom to operate their way by adopting an entrepreneurial, impact-matters-details-don’t approach to your extended worker ecosystem (including telecallers and back office teams0.
Convince them that they are equal pillars of the organization superstructure and equal stakeholders of the big dream. Aka, attach every action they take to the organization’s journey and turn the two synonymous. There is little a soul can’t achieve when it is fired with the zeal of ‘belonging.’
Action Point: Map Your Cold Calling Targets With The Larger Business Goal.
Make It The Start Of Great Beginnings
With notable exceptions, cold calling jobs – be it at a call center or in-house back-office – tend to come with a future bleaker than the Alaskan winter. Let’s redesign that growth curve, then?
Let’s make sure learning and growth are steep by integrating seniors as coaches in real-time. Let’s add meat to the profile with innovative responsibilities at strategic points along the journey, turning it into a multidimensional leadership role. Let’s bring out the champion within by stoking healthy competition through gamification. Let’s take data to make sure performance is measured accurately and appraisals meted out fairly. Can we give the opinions and ideas of our Cold Calling Salespeople a greater ‘say’ in boardroom decisions? No harm trying.
Give them a choice, give them flexibility, give them a chance. Reimagining the career narrative inside-out (with a clear progress path) turns the USP’s (Unique Selling Proposition) of the role into UBP’s (Unique Bragworthy Proposition), which is a far stronger allure for candidates – thereby ensuring the organization attracts a deeper and more diverse palette of salespeople.
Make a start by creating a pedestal for the role. Cold calling is no easy task, so let’s glorify the rockstar traits – be it mastery of human psychology, gift-of-the-gab (great speaking and influencing skills), or monk-like patience – that go into the oven. Storify it on social media, applaud it in R&R evenings and celebrate it an everyday day with, if nothing else, a ‘Well done, mate!”
Action Point: Add Vertical & Horizontal Growth To Your Cold Calling Career Model.
Wake’em Up From Within With Intrinsic Motivation
While money is critical to a worker, there’s something more important: The ‘Calling.’ Aka our inner impulses, desires, and drives. While the first is an extrinsic (moored in the ‘external society’) motivator, the latter goes by the epithet of intrinsic motivation. Much like the proverbial tip of the ice-berg, which can turn us blind to the much larger fraction swimming below the surface, intrinsic motivation – the hidden essence of our being – tends to get swept aside by materialistic, extrinsic compulsions of livelihood, remaining in the blind spot of leaders.
This is a shame because there is research to back up the claim that it is intrinsic motivation which – if wielded right – can be the more powerful driver of action. The reason is simple: While extrinsic motivation (wealth, rank, prestige ) goads us to run after spoils and indulgences that make us ‘look good,’ intrinsic motivation (fulfillment, contentment, bliss) encourages us to seek moments and experiences that make us ‘feel good.’
While the sensation these two types of motivation produce are distinct, the activities they dictate aren’t always mutually exclusive. This means that the same task can be triggered by either extrinsic or intrinsic motivation, depending on the individual’s personality. Herein lies the cue and clue for leaders who want to leverage the power of motivation. If they can manage to align the personal goal with that of the business, then the same ‘task’ will satisfy both the worker and the organization. The result can be a happy explosion of creative spark, positive vibes, and amplified productivity – the holy grail of all commercial pursuit.
Action Point: Look Beyond Money And Perks And Get Intuitive With Incentives
Recognize Selflessly, Reward Generous
Whether we are extrinsically charged or intrinsically motivated, we all work with a goal in mind. And in that mental picture, there’s always a reward of some kind. Yes, even if we are intrinsically motivated, the reward merely – but importantly – reinforces the sensation of fulfillment. So if you are going to turn your cold calling roles hot, your task is cut out: Make sure your rewards are hotter.
There are a few factors that influence the ‘perfect reward.’ First, it must be commensurate. In other words, do justice to the magnitude of the achievement. If your cold calling team has brought a large Fortune 500 clients into the fold, don’t gift them a coffee mug.
Don’t just stop there – crank up the moment by giving the reward publicly (unless the individual prefers to keep things discreet). Second, a reward must be attractive. However, no two wish lists are the same, are they?
This means that, yes, one will need to do the homework and decode the individual’s persona to arrive upon a reward that resonates with nature. Third, a reward must be instantaneous. Much like justice, a Bravo delayed is a Bravo denied.
Action Point: Reward Generously, Adequate, Quick
You either have it, or you don’t. That’s right – cold calling is like singing or painting: Yes, you can train to get better at the craft, but it’s essentially a gift one is born with. Let’s celebrate it by giving back our cold caller Sales kings and queens their crown.