Let’s be honest – Nobody like cold calls! Cold calling refers to the act of reaching out to prospective customers or clients by telephone in an attempt to generate new business opportunities.

Commission only sales people don’t like making them, prospects don’t like receiving them. They’re seen as an irritation at best, so why do sales organizations keep using them? It’s simple, cold calling is still effective. It’s one of the main ways salespeople can get your product or service in front of customers.

The problem is, it’s just not very efficient. On average, sales teams making cold calls can expect around 0.3% of them to turn into appointments. That means for every 1,000 calls made, around 30 will lead to further interactions with the prospect.

Time to Hire says: That’s a pretty low success rate, but at least it’s something.

cold calling

Unfortunately, for many salespeople, an 800 pound gorilla called “FEAR” is sitting on the handset they’re about to pick up. There’s little we can do about this. Despite the best efforts of HR professionals or sales hiring managers, salespeople will tell you what you want to hear.

They can be charming in an interview, highly social, and very convincing (that’s their job, after all!) They’ll tell you they have no problem cold calling and closing sales. Unfortunately, once they get to the front lines, many will freeze up and let the fear of sales rejection prevent them from making the sales call.

Even when they do start cold calling, they can sound stilted. It’s simply unnatural to pick up the phone, call someone at random, and try to sell them something. This is especially difficult for millennials. They’re less inclined to make phone calls and instead rely on email, text, mobile apps and social media sites for their daily interactions.

Time to Hire says: While everyone has a mobile phone today, many people still have phone phobia!

It doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom.  There are several cold calling tips and best practices you can take right now to help out your sales team, increase their efficiency, and make your sales calls more likely to succeed.

Research and refine your prospects list

Cold calling people at random, or off of some pre-defined list is one of the worst ways to go about selling your products via cold calling. It’s much better to:

  • Go through your prospects list one line at a time
  • Understand each prospect and how you could specifically help them
  • Find individuals in the business and learn their name, call them and ask to speak to that person
  • Personalize the approach for each prospect
  • Research social media to find out who works with the person you want to get to
  • Interact with their colleagues on social media
  • Talk to someone else in the business first and see if you can get a referral from them (referrals significantly increase the chances of making a sale)

This helps you to develop a hot prospect tip sheet. Up-front research is a simple cold calling tip that can increase your chances of getting someone to say yes many times over.

Time to Hire says: Using some of your sales team to carry out research and “soft” contact will significantly increase your chances of making a sale.

Show them, don’t tell them

You can’t just tell a salesperson that following a process or a script is going to work, you have to show them. Have successful salespeople within the organization share their cold calling best practices, experiences, how they overcame their fears and what the financial benefit has been. Provide training and support where it’s needed.

Get a mentoring / buddy system in place

Incentivize your top performing salespeople to mentor your new hires. Give them a little more commission if they help to close sales. This provides many benefits as a best practice, the right approach, and dealing well with prospects will be better understood throughout your teams.

Prepare a script or call outline

Many people don’t like using scripts – It makes them feel they sound like a robot. If it does come off that way, it’s normally because the script is bad. A good script or outline should use natural language, directly address your prospect’s problems, and highlight how your products or services can solve them.

Salespeople don’t need to be completely bound to their scripts, but they can act as useful guidelines, provide key talking points, and lets salespeople practice the ideas and wording. A good sales cold calling best practice is to try out several different sales scripts with your salespeople and see which ones work best.

Time to Hire says: Remember to support and prepare your sales reps for the inevitable .

Perfect practice makes the practice perfect

Another simple sales cold calling tip is to let your salespeople “warm up” before making live calls. You don’t want to waste your leads and prospects because a salesperson is nervous, unprepared, and doesn’t want to dial. Give your people the support and confidence they need and let them make practice calls before they start speaking to real leads.

Time to Hire says: It’s normal for new hires to be nervous about sales cold calls – It’s vital to recognize this and gently support them, rather than making unreasonable demands and damaging their self-confidence.

Share your metrics, performance, and targets

Sharing your metrics is one of the simplest and most effective sales cold calling best practices to manage expectations in your sales teams. When salespeople can see how your business is working as a whole, it means they can understand how they’re contributing to that success.

One example would be showing (on average) how many “cold calls” it takes to make a sale. Once salespeople can see that, they can look at their own performance and know how they are doing.

When you can also show how this relates to commission and reward, it’s a further incentive to get your people back on the phone, making sales cold calls, and ultimately winning you more business.

Want us to find the best commission only sales reps on your behalf and reduce your time to hire?  Get in touch now.