5 Cold Calling Mistakes To Avoid in 2021

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(Newswire.net — April 10, 2021) — Making sales calls is a big part of any business strategy. A good percentage of these calls will be cold calls, as businesses must keep reaching out to new customers. However, making cold calls in 2021 is vastly different from how it was done in the 1990s. Then, customers were happy to pick calls from random salespeople and buy what was being sold. 

Today’s customer is much more discerning and is unlikely to entertain cold calls. Advancements in digital technology have also changed dynamics in how people buy. Statistics show that a staggering 81% of buyers do their research online before they venture out to make a purchase. This means that if a sales rep is making a cold call, they will likely meet an informed buyer who is high in the sales funnel. In response, businesses must change their sales techniques to align with these dynamics. 

In this regard, how then can sales managers conduct a successful cold calling campaign in 2021? For starters, they can do this by avoiding common cold-calling mistakes that only result in rejection and hang-ups. These mistakes are outlined below:

Mistake 1: Calling blindly

One of the biggest pitfalls to avoid when making a cold call is calling a prospect that you know nothing about, like its 1990. Digitization has provided us with numerous avenues to research prospects, such as websites and social media accounts. Before you pick up the phone, ensure that you know whom you are calling and whether they will benefit from your product/service. That means that they should fall under your target market. This also means knowing the name of the person you are speaking to and their position. 

Similarly, you should have a good idea of the prospect’s pain points or challenges, as this will help you fashion your offer as a solution to their particular problem. Finally, having some general information about the company, such as recent events, could instruct your call. For instance, has the company opened new offices as part of an expansion program, or is it downsizing? Having such information will help you figure out how to proceed with your cold call.

Mistake 2: Trying to sell on your first call

If you design each cold call as a sales pitch, then you are probably putting off your prospects long before you can interest them in your product or service. When you try to sell in the first call, the customer feels cornered, making you lose credibility. The prospect may end up feeling that you don’t care about them, and all you care about is making a sale. This can quickly take away a chance to create a meaningful relationship with the prospect.

Instead, treat the first call as a discussion where you are genuinely trying to determine the prospect’s pain points and challenges. Ask thoughtful questions and allow them to respond. In doing so, you will establish a rapport and start building trust. In return, this will earn you a second call or even a meeting where you can now demonstrate how your product or service can solve the prospect’s problems.

Mistake 3: Rigid Script Reading

A cold calling script is vital, particularly if you are new to cold calling. Understandably, making cold calls can be daunting, even for the most experienced salespersons. Using a cold calling script can help you reduce anxiety as it guides you on what to say and when to say it.  It also enables you to stay on topic and achieve your goals for the call. 

Unfortunately, if you are reading your script word for word, you are making the wrong impression. Cold calls have an advantage over other sales techniques in that you speak to a  person live, as opposed to cold emailing, for example. Rigidly reading your script can make you come off as robotic and cold, which can ruin any chances of having a genuine conversation with the prospect.

Similarly, as a sales rep, you should avoid using a generic cold calling script for all your prospects. Doing so may deny you a chance to interact with them in a meaningful way. For instance, if the company you are calling just won a major award, you should have enough wiggle room in your script to congratulate them. This can go a long way in showing that you are genuinely interested in the prospect and their success.

Mistake 4: Failing to track performance

How do you keep track of the cold calls you make per day? How do you measure your success? Regardless of what tool you are using to make cold calls, one of the pitfalls is failing to track and measure. 

Thanks to technological advancements, the market is saturated with performance tracking solutions that will help you manage your cold calling efforts. This includes recording the calls, managing your calendar, sending automated voicemails, registering calls per day, setting reminders for callbacks, and so forth. 

Tracking your performance is vital if you want to improve. For example, recording your calls can help you identify any weaknesses in your cold calling script that you can rectify and improve. Some tools enable you to take notes as you speak to a prospect which is helpful in making a follow-up. 

Mistake 5: Bad telephone etiquette

Imagine how you would prepare if you were meeting your prospect face to face. You would probably dress the part, be courteous, and in your best behavior. Making a cold call should not be any different. Some sales reps make the mistake of being over-familiar with the prospect. Even if you have done your homework and learned quite a bit about them, this is not the space to ask personal questions, use casual language and crack inappropriate jokes. 

Similarly, failing to pay attention, barely speaking, or interrupting the prospect might all come off as bad behavior. A successful cold call is one where you are firmly in charge but polite, asking thoughtful, open-ended questions that will provoke the answers you seek.