There is no shortage of content out there proclaiming that COLD CALLING IS DEAD. They're all right. We have too many tools at our disposal for that not to be true. Instead, sales professionals must drop the cold call mentality and instead turn to warm calls.
A warm call is when there is some previous connection established between the salesperson or company and the prospect being called. The stronger the connection between yourself and the prospect, the warmer the call is.
Sick of making cold calls? Here are 5 ways to never make another cold call again:
One of the most obvious things a salesperson can do to warm up a cold call is to arm themselves with as much knowledge about the prospect and their company as possible. You can do this by visiting the company website, social media pages, and checking the Google news section. Here are a few things you can look at on the prospect's website to gather the necessary information to warm up your cold call:
- Get a solid understanding of what the company does
- Check the news section
- Check the blog
- Sign up for the company newsletter
We've had a bunch of success in getting into warm prospect conversations by referencing a recent news article or blog post by the company, especially if it closely relates to the topic you are calling about.
Many of our clients will opt to do a round of calls (yes, cold calls) to collect industry information from their target market. We try to keep these as short as possible for the prospect but gather the most detail we can for the client.
This type of approach allows us to do two very important things:
1) Warm up the conversation for the follow-up call
While the initial survey call will likely be a cold call, it's an easy way to get your company's name in front of the prospect so it's more recognizable the second time around.
2) Gather information to guide the follow-up conversation
The aggregated data from the survey helps to paint a picture of the target market's pain points. That information allows the salesperson to be very knowledgeable about what the prospect is facing and speak very specifically about how to solve it.
In our experience, this is one of the best ways to increase your sales call connect rate. By emailing your prospect ahead of calling them, you've instantly added one more touch point that can help familiarize the prospect with your name and company ahead of the call.
An even better outcome follows when the prospect has read your pre-call email, familiarizing themselves with the actual offer. Many times prospects will not allow a salesperson to even get to a description of their offer on a sales call, but when the prospect is pre-exposed to some of the details of the offer ahead of the call, they will often times allow the salesperson to get to the point of the call much faster, leading to higher efficiency and effectiveness.
One extra tip regarding sales emails - if you've recently left a voicemail for a prospect and are following up with an email, use a subject line that alludes to that. When we've used the subject line 'Voicemail from [INSERT SALES PERSON'S NAME],' following a voicemail versus something less directly referencing that previous touchpoint, we've seen significantly higher open rates.
LinkedIn is one of the best tools for sales professionals trying to warm up their cold calling, a favorite for our Business Development Manager, Timothy Serafino. There are several different kinds of engagement actions you can take, but the most effective are the ones that create some kind of notification for the prospect:
- View their profile (make sure you aren't doing this anonymously)
- Add as a connection
- Like their activity
- Endorse one of their skills (this one can get a little creepy in my opinion)
A few months ago I got a call from a salesperson that had just looked at my LinkedIn profile and sent me an email. With a notification on my browser, a new email in my inbox, and a phone call in quick succession, I was convinced to pick up and talk to the salesperson when I otherwise would've ignored the ring.
What about just cutting out cold and warm calling all together? Fully committing to the inbound marketing methodology might get you there, depending on the type of product or service you're selling.
If you're selling a B2B product or service that requires consultative selling, inbound marketing may not be enough to free you from all sales calls. In our experience, inbound marketing is the best long-term approach for growing your business but, and this is a big but, it works best when paired with warm calling.
Did your prospect just download a piece of content from your website? Why not follow up with a call asking if you can answer any questions for them? Has one of your prospects visited your website 56 times in the last two days? It might be worth reaching out with a quick call. Skipping these kinds of opportunities in the name of inbound marketing is leading to lost opportunities for many organizations.
What other ways are you effectively warming up sales calls?