Does cold calling apply in the modern B2B sales development space? Considering that more than half of C-level execs want sales professionals to reach out to them via phone, I’d say it does. But how can you use this method to maximize sales? That’s where my B2B cold calling tips come into play.
C-level executives might prefer phone calls, but that doesn’t mean they’re sitting around waiting for your team to give them a call. You’ll need a solid strategy to reach the right contacts at an organization and to get—and keep—their attention and trust.
This post will go over my top seven B2B cold calling tips. By the time you finish reading, your fingers will be itching to dial up your next cold call, and try these tips out for yourself!
B2B Cold Calling vs. B2C Cold Calling
Cold calling doesn’t just apply to the B2B space: I’d say it’s alive and well. This is particularly true when compared to its counterpart, B2C cold calling.
There are a number of differences between B2B and B2C when it comes to cold calling that are worth recognizing. In a B2B cold call, you are calling a contact to schedule a meeting, knowing you will need to include more people in the future. When you call B2C, you are more likely to be speaking to a person who can make a decision, with the possibility of a spouse or partner weighing in on any decision.
At one time, you would know more about a prospect calling B2B, in large part because you can find their profile on LinkedIn, where professionals give you a glimpse of their history. You also know what outcomes someone in their position is responsible for when it comes to results. However, the social channels now allow a B2C salesperson to know enough from their social activity to get a sense of the person.
One of the larger differences you find in the B2B buying model is that oftentimes, the person you are calling is not spending their own money. They’re spending their company’s money. In B2C, the person you are calling is going to have to spend their own money, making it unavailable for other things they may want or need. There tends to be more emotion in a B2C sale.
At the beginning of my sales career, I spent six months making cold calls, starting at the letter A in the Columbus, Ohio Phonebook. I dialed every business I believed might benefit from what I sold, until I got to the letter M. I dialed from 8 AM to Noon each day, went to lunch with friends, and dialed from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. I dialed thousands of numbers before I had a list of targets. Over time, I cracked the code on getting a meeting.
Let’s go over my top seven tips!
My first tip is to pay special attention to your call research. Prepare for the call by researching the organization and the contact you’re planning to call. I once watched a salesperson ask their prospective client what their business does. It was a very short meeting, as he expected his client was there to teach him what he needed to know.
Before you make a cold call, you want to know what the company does, something easy to discover by navigating to their website. You also want to look at the contact’s LinkedIn profile to learn something about them without using the information to create rapport on the cold call, unless it is your intention to try to create and win an opportunity on the telephone.
Is the contact the decision-maker for their organization? You may or may not be able to discern whether or not the contact is the decision-maker, even though you will find most large B2B sales require consensus. You want to make sure you are calling on people who will care about the better results you can provide them.
Lastly, you’ll need to know when enough is enough: Don’t over-research. Over-researching is when your research is mostly call reluctance. You are not an FBI agent, and there is a point when you know enough to confidently call and ask for a meeting.
2. Script the Conversation
My next tip is to always approach your conversions with a script. Working with a script helps you move through the stages of the conversation confidently.
First, you’ll need to hook their attention with a transparent introduction. The person on the other end of the phone doesn’t know you, but you know them. The best way to make the short conversation less awkward is to introduce yourself by sharing your name, the company you work for, and why you are interested in speaking to them.
RELATED READ: Everything You Need to Know About Sales Scripts
Next, highlight your value early to help them see how you can help them. The best way to gain an agreement to a meeting with a contact is to propose an agenda for a meeting that is valuable to the contact. This means eliminating the offer of learning about your company and learning a little about the contact’s company. In an age where people are time-starved, you need a strong value proposition for a meeting.
You need powerful talk tracks that allow you to succeed in gaining a first meeting, as well as the language to respond to the common objections and challenges you will hear during a cold call–and all the conversations that follow. Sales Accelerator has hundreds of talk tracks to speed the acquisition of good and powerful language.
3. Prepare for Common Objections
My third tip is to make sure you’re ready to overcome common objections. Let’s go over some of the most common objections you’ll hear in B2B cold calls:
The price objection. (It’s too expensive): Zig Ziglar may be the first person to teach salespeople to ask the client “is it the price, or is it the cost?” Most of your contacts in B2B will be aware of the fact that the price is what they pay, the cost is calculated by the outcomes you deliver. You want to help your clients make good decisions, one of them is not confusing price and cost. See Elite Sales Strategies: A Guide to Being One-Up, Creating Value, and Becoming Truly Consultative for a course on Triangulation Strategy that will solve any price problem you encounter.
The features objection. (You don’t have the right features): The best response to this objection is one where you explain to your prospective client that you explored developing that feature, but soon discovered a better way to produce even greater results. Then ask the contact if they would be open to looking at something that might improve their results.
The timing objection. (They don’t have time to speak with you): This is the easiest of all objections, one you can dispatch by telling the client you called to schedule a meeting for later in the week. You can say, “I didn’t expect you would be available for a conversation now. What do you look like on Wednesday afternoon?” There is really only one real objection to a meeting, and that is the client’s belief that it isn’t worth their time.
4. Don’t Neglect Your Mindset
Tip #4 requires you to look inward—this tip is to take care to cultivate the right mindset.
Dealing with rejection and failure is difficult, but you need to remember: Your client is not rejecting you. Instead, they are rejecting the value proposition you offer when you ask for a meeting. Cold Calling is a high impact, low yield activity. You should not worry about the calls you make that end without you acquiring a meeting. Two or three confirmed meetings are enough for most B2B sales organizations to recognize no other approach provides the same yield.
You’ll also need to know how to deal with aggressive or rude prospects. You are going to call people who are grouchy. Know that they are not unhappy that you called them, they are unhappy for dozens of reasons that have nothing to do with you. A few of them are not happy unless they are unhappy. Move on to the next call without worrying about the rare angry and stressed-out people you sometimes bump into while making calls.
The Sales Accelerator platform may be the only development platform with a large segment of courses on mindset. You get speed to results when your sales force is confident and competent, and even better results when they have the right beliefs and behaviors.
5. Nail the Voicemail
80% of cold calls go to voicemail. That’s why my fifth cold-calling tip is to learn how to leave a compelling voicemail that encourages the prospect to pick up the next time you call.
To leave a voicemail the right way, introduce yourself, and include your value proposition. Voicemail is a chance to identify yourself as a value creator, someone who is not a time-waster. You want to leave a message that suggests you have something valuable to share with them.
Don’t expect them to call you back—tell them you’ll follow up, then follow through on that promise. It’s not your prospective client’s responsibility to call you back.
6. Track the Right Metrics
There is a tendency for sales leaders to look only at the number of calls and the number of meetings booked. While those show a sales team’s activity and their effectiveness, you need to look at the real yield from cold calls, including the number of opportunities that result from cold calling, the average deal size, and the number of deals closed. Many B2B sales organizations find their largest and most strategic opportunities come from picking up the phone.
RELATED READ: Using 4 Common Sales Metrics to Reach Your Goals
If you aren’t tracking the right metrics, it will be difficult to know if the changes you’ve made to your B2B cold calling efforts are successful.
7. Have the Right Conversation
My last tip is to make sure you’re having the right conversation on your cold call.
Don’t do discovery on the first call: You haven’t earned that yet. First, you need to show them how you can be of value to them. The contact that engages in a conversation on a cold call is often trying to disqualify the salesperson. If you need a meeting, secure the meeting for the discovery call, a conversation that improves your chances of creating an opportunity.
Come into each call with a goal and steer the conversation toward the goal. For example, if your goal is to book a meeting, don’t allow yourself to get distracted from that goal.
How to Maximize Results of B2B Cold Calling Tips
Cold calling has an unpopular reputation, but with the right processes, it doesn’t have to be painful for sales staff or their prospects. Following the tips outlined above will give you the tools you need to confidently jump on any B2B cold call, steer the conversation, and advance the sale.
To increase your team’s close rate, you need more than just tips: You need lessons, scripts, and practice. The good news is that I can help you with all of those things. Check out my Sales Accelerator program. Through this program, your team will have access to dozens of modular training sessions and materials that can improve their sales skills, mindset, and more. Look into the Sales Accelerator today to see how I can help your team make it to the next level!