To say that cold calling is one of the most dreaded parts of the sales process is an understatement.
Many think of it as the red-headed stepchild of inside sales: neglected, unwanted, and often despised. Though it’s really a diamond in the rough. There was a movement to get rid of it altogether a few years ago with Sales 2.0.
Its basic premise is that interruptive selling, particularly cold calling, is becoming less effective in creating sales, and that Web tools, inbound marketing, and social media are better.
While those tools do help and have their place in the sales process, absolutely nothing can replace cold calling.
Uber credits its fast growth to nothing other than basic cold calling. The company reached $17 billion in value in just five years. In fact, The CEO of Uber promotes this method of getting business: just pick up the phone and dial!
A study in RainToday concluded that cold calling is only second to referrals as the number one lead generation tactic. Despite facts about cold calling, many companies still avoid it.
And even if they’re for it, it’s difficult to motivate sales reps to do it.
So, how do you motivate sales reps to want to do cold calling?
It’s much easier for managers to achieve success if they are not constantly fighting against streams of negative energy. There are several ways to motivate sales reps to be successful at cold calling.
- Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Cold Calling Motivation
- 1. Acquire and Distribute Targeted Leads
- 2. Do Your Research
- 3. Anticipate and Handle Potential Sales Objections
- 4. Prepare Ahead of Time with Logical Branch Scripting
- 5. Start with a Positive Attitude
- 6. Have Goals and Sales Will Follow
- 7. Make Cold Calling Easier with Automation
- 8. Rewards Drive Results
- Still the One
Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Cold Calling Motivation
We’ve already established that cold calling isn’t many salespeople’s favorite activity. But, all your efforts to make it work will be in vain if you make some of these common mistakes:
- Your opening sentence is weak. Remember that you have no more than a couple of seconds to captivate your prospect’s attention, which means you need to make an impression. A strong opening sentence will help you cut through the noise and instantly connect with the person on the other end of the line. Here’s a suggestion – refer to your prospect’s recent professional accomplishments or something they posted on social media, but don’t just regurgitate it. Add your thoughts to it to add some value.
- You’re not listening actively. It’s crucial to let your prospects speak and never talk over them. Generally speaking, talking too much is one of the worst things a salesperson can do. You should be there to guide the conversation in the right direction and entice the prospect to share their opinions. That way, you can learn a lot about them and understand their needs better. Here’s a suggestion – repeat back to them what you understood them to say to ensure you’re both on the same page.
- You’re not engaging your prospect. Never go more than 30 seconds without engaging your prospective client. Involving them in the conversation will ensure that your prospect feels included and engaged, and you’ll get valuable feedback about what they think. Here’s a suggestion – use probing questions like “Any questions?” or “How does this sound?” to pull them back into the conversation.
These mistakes can alienate your prospects and turn your cold calling attempts into underwhelming experiences that will leave you unmotivated to continue.
1. Acquire and Distribute Targeted Leads
Just because your sales reps are cold calling doesn’t mean they have to shoot in the dark.
The old-school method of picking a random contact from the yellow pages is passé. It’s simply not an effective way to get sales, and the lack of suitable prospects will deflate your sales team’s motivation.
After all, if the prospect has no need for your product or service, the rest is pointless. You wouldn’t want them trying to sell remodeling to a janitorial service. Do some research and target your list before distributing it to sales reps. Define your list to target prospects most likely to buy your product.
An easy way to distribute leads is through effective sales CRM software with progressive dialing and queue-based routing. You can send all sales reps the next-best lead through a queued routing system and a headset, enabling them to create momentum, by getting the next best lead as a pop-up as soon as the current call is finished.
This ensures that reps aren’t cherry-picking leads that have little chance for success, and also speeds up the dialing process, all of which subsequently boosts your team’s cold calling motivation.
2. Do Your Research
Showing up to a meeting unprepared looks unprofessional and minimizes the odds of connecting with your prospects and getting them to take your proposal into consideration.
Research plays an important role in making sure your cold calling efforts are worthwhile and that you’re not simply wasting your breath trying to pitch someone you know very little about.
By obtaining relevant information about the prospects you plan on calling, you’ll deliver value and keep them engaged. It’s crucial to show the person you’re talking to that you understand their needs, pain points, and interests and that you’re invested in finding the best solution for them.
With such a personalized approach, you can expect your prospects will be open to your suggestions and ideas.
Besides, this important step will make you more confident because, let’s face it, cold calling motivation heavily relies on the idea that you know what you’re talking about and that you believe in your product or service, and that it’s the best fit for your prospect.
That’s how you’ll be convincing enough and attract the attention of the people you call.
3. Anticipate and Handle Potential Sales Objections
If I had a dollar for every time someone said, “Great products sell themselves,” I’d be rich, which we couldn’t claim for those who believe in this common sales myth.
So, yes, having an awesome, user-friendly, super useful solution increases your odds of winning a sale, but it won’t always go so smoothly.
Some of the most common sales objections include:
- Your product is too expensive for me
- I need an X feature.
And you need to think all this through and prepare yourself for dealing with these and other potential objections. Now that we’ve mentioned these two that are most likely to occur during your cold calls, it’s crucial to come up with the right answers and practice them in advance with a coworker.
Instead of dreading sales objections, think about them as opportunities to show the real value of your product or service and disqualify prospects that aren’t the right fit.
When it comes to the pricing objection, one of the surefire ways of overcoming it is focusing on the benefits your prospects will get if they decide to give it a chance. The key is in identifying these benefits for every individual prospect and tailoring your pitch.
But, is there anything you can do if a prospect says something along the lines of “You don’t have that feature, and I need it”?
First of all, try to see whether you have a similar feature that can bridge the gap and provide your prospect with the needed functionality. If it’s not the case, you can ask your existing customers for their feedback and determine whether adding that feature will improve your product.
If you decide to upgrade your product, let your prospect know about this and tell them that you’ll reach out to them once the feature is available. This will give you a reason to follow up and stay in contact with them.
4. Prepare Ahead of Time with Logical Branch Scripting
Your sales pitch to prospects is more of a science than an art, contrary to the belief of many inside sales managers.
This means that if you say the same things to prospects every time, you’re likely to get predictable results. That’s where dynamic scripting comes in.
Through VanillaSoft’s logical branch scripting you can take scripts from top performers that have previously produced the most sales, and have them guide all sales reps on your team.
Managers can build branches in the scripts to successfully handle different sales objections so sales reps don’t try to wing it, and are never at a loss for the right thing to say for different sales situations.
Logical branch scripting takes the sting out of cold calling by decreasing the awkwardness of trying to sell to prospects and increasing the likelihood of success.
Sales reps who use it feel more confident and prepared because they have a tried and true way to handle objections.
5. Start with a Positive Attitude
Before sales reps start a new call, they need to be in the right frame of mind.
Many people bring their personal lives to work with them, and if they’re not positive, it will affect performance. When reps feel good about their jobs, sales will follow. Train your sales reps to be positive before making a call because just like yawning, attitudes are contagious.
If the sales rep is pessimistic it will be evident in the tone of the sales call and the prospect will pick up on it and most likely be uninterested. The prospect will hear the sales rep’s lack of enthusiasm and energy in every word. Of course, you can always tell sales reps to be positive, but actually being positive for some may take practice.
So how do you overcome this?
There is a physiology to optimism. Your attitude, body, and mind are connected. If your body is slumped; if you’re frowning; if you’re feeling down; that physiology will be reflected in your attitude. Here are some tips to help sales reps stay positive during sales calls:
- Pep Rallies – Start the day with positive affirmations to pep up sales reps before making calls
- Smile and Dial – Smiling during a call will promote positivity that prospects will pick up on
- Good Posture – Sit up or stand when making calls. This injects energy and vitality into the conversation
- Use a Headset – Freedom in movement helps sales reps express themselves easier
- Take Regular Breaks – Sales reps need breaks to clear their head and renew energy
6. Have Goals and Sales Will Follow
The saying that sales is a numbers game is especially true for cold calling.
More calls = more sales.
Define goals for your inside sales team. Keep track of how many calls your sales team completes compared to how many sales you acquire over a given time to measure your success rate.
Cold calling on average yields close to a six percent success rate. You should expect close to this average for your team. To determine if your team is performing optimally, take the number of calls your sales rep makes per day and the number of days, and divide by the number of customers sold.
For example, if a rep makes 80 calls, five days a week and closes 24 customers, the success rate equals 6%. The equation is 24 customers divided by 400 calls equals a 6 percent success rate.
Let sales reps know what you expect of them, and even go a bit higher, because sometimes when you tell reps the exact number you’re looking for you may fall short.
Of course, you must start with a reasonable expectation in order to achieve success.
If you tell them you want a 6% success rate, some may not reach it. However, if you tell them the goal is 8% when you really want 6%, you’re more likely to get more sales reps to reach 6%, and some will achieve 8% or higher.
It’s all about raising performance by setting higher expectations. But don’t set goals that are unrealistically unreachable, because you will demotivate your team.
Be sure to monitor your sales rep’s performance on a regular basis. An easy way to keep track of your sales results is to run reports with an automated sales CRM software.
7. Make Cold Calling Easier with Automation
You’ve probably heard this from time to time: “cold calling is hard.”
That doesn’t mean it has to be that way. Automation is one of the ways to make it easier. According to a recent study by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), automation will boost the morale of sales reps.
Let’s face it, no one likes doing simple, repetitive tasks over and over again. When the tedious tasks in your team’s operations are handled by an automated sales CRM system, it energizes sales reps and increases momentum by relieving them from the pain of having to complete these low-level tasks.
Sales reps can concentrate more on higher-level thinking skills that will help them communicate with prospects and close sales.
Some of the repetitive tasks that sales CRM systems like VanillaSoft can help with are auto dialing, email marketing, nurturing, and voice drop.
When sales reps have systems that dial the next lead for them, send automated emails from templates between calls, instantly leave prerecorded voice messages, and schedule and remind them of callbacks at the right time, it saves time and effort, enabling them to operate at their full potential.
8. Rewards Drive Results
An effective way to improve your inside sales reps cold calling motivation to sell is to reward their accomplishments. Everyone wants to feel appreciated.
Besides compensation and bonuses, rewards are the best way to do this. There are many ways to reward your sales team, such as contests for cash, prizes, days off, etc. The best way to find out what your sales team likes is to ask.
What works for some may not work for others, so a general consensus may be necessary. You can even give sales reps a choice of rewards for achievement. For example, maybe the top-performing rep or team with the highest sales for the week gets to choose a gift card, afternoon off, or concert tickets.
Other types of rewards for your sales team are passive rewards. Passive rewards are not tied to an accomplishment, but just show appreciation for your sales reps’ efforts.
Things like free snacks and drinks in the break room help sales reps stay energetic and give them something to look forward to, especially if they’re not having a good day. Some sales managers pass out Hershey’s kisses at random times during the week.
But passive rewards don’t have to be just food, you could have massage Mondays, or tell-a-joke Thursdays. The idea is to get imaginative. Maybe your team can play games or have a movie during lunch hour.
The bottom line is to keep your sales team positive, especially if they’re not doing well. Passive rewards give them something to look forward to. Think of it as the theory of random acts of kindness: they create a contagious positive ripple effect that will spread throughout your team and prospects to help motivate reps to work more productively and drive results.
Still the One
So, despite the latest sales crazes, the marketing innovations, and lack of enthusiasm, cold calling is still the one to help your sales team produce record profits.
With these tips, hopefully, you can motivate your team to sell more with a smile, and challenge themselves to achieve more, seeing that cold calling is a way to greater success and a jewel in inside sales.