You did it. You’ve got your first job as a new sales development rep (SDR). Congratulations!
I’m sure you’ve already gotten a few important things out of the way, right? A full cup of coffee? Check. LinkedIn profile in social-selling shape? Check. A terrific email signature set up? Check.
Your cold-calling game face… check?
If your not sure you can answer that question positevily, don’t worry. A lot of us have been in cold call reluctance mode before. You aren’t alone.
Even the most experienced members of a sales team can feel stressed, frustrated, and even intimidated when it comes to making cold calls. As a new SDR, maybe you feel too inexperienced. Perhaps you’re afraid you won’t meet quota. Maybe picking up the phone puts you outside of your comfort zone.
These cold calling tips and techniques can help you master the art of the cold call.
- 1. Shadow a Successful SDR
- 2. Quickly Follow Up With Inbound Leads (Just Not Too Quickly)
- 3. Be Persistent With Your Follow Up
- 4. Call Throughout Various Times of the Day
- 5. Focus on Call Durations
- 6. Prepare Yourself for Every Call
- 7. Focus on your Prospect’s Needs
- 8. Learn to love “no”
- 9. Use other touchpoints to warm up calls
- 10. Embrace technology to help you make more calls.
1. Shadow a Successful SDR
Your sales manager likely put you through onboarding and training. Maybe your new boss even sat with you on a few calls.
If you still find yourself struggling or feeling anxious, set up some time to shadow one of your peers. Listen in to learn how they pull off so many successful conversations, and ask questions afterward to learn why a specific approach works.
2. Quickly Follow Up With Inbound Leads (Just Not Too Quickly)
If you want to baby-step your way into the role of the cold caller, contacting inbound leads is a great place to start. After all, these people filled out a form on the company website. They are interested.
When calling these prospects, you need to get in touch with them sooner rather than later.
Telfer School of Management from the University of Ottawa found that when it comes to the inbound leads, “the best odds for first contact with a lead are between 10 – 60 minutes of a query and not the first five minutes.”
3. Be Persistent With Your Follow Up
You should never treat the contacts on your call list to the old “one and done” method. Most of the SDRs, even the new ones know that.
But are you calling more than four times? Only 10 percent of sales are closed after four follow-up attempts while 80 percent of sales are closed after five – 12 contacts.
Not all of your five-to-12 attempts have to be phone calls, but you do need to ensure that calling is one of your touch points and that you remain persistent in your efforts.
4. Call Throughout Various Times of the Day
Telfer School of Management found that all business days and business times have a similar response ratio from leads.
Instead of avoiding certain times or searching for ideal calling windows for your industry, distribute your call attempts throughout the day. It’s beneficial to vary the timing of follow-up calls to accommodate individual schedules and eliminate any scheduling conflicts.
However, don’t overly rely on recommended “best” calling times, as they are likely to be popular among other callers as well.
5. Focus on Call Durations
Another tip when it comes to sales reps making cold calls: keep the decision maker on the phone for as long as possible, within reason, to build rapport and improve the likelihood of a win.
Telfer’s finding is that for every increase by minute in call duration, you increase your odds of success with the lead by 6X.
6. Prepare Yourself for Every Call
You have mastered your product or service knowledge completely. You are prepared to make calls and impress people with your sales charm, but have you taken enough time to familiarize with your cold call script?
A lot of salespeople hate scripts, but you don’t have to read them word for word. Think of your script as a guide. Don’t memorize — use the points to help you have a natural conversation.
Another prep tip to consider has to do with getting to know your prospect. Now, you may know every potential pain point the typical buyer persona has, but what do you know about THIS person whom you’re about to dial?
A quick review of someone’s social profiles can provide you with some useful information to help you build rapport or home in more quickly on a real point of pain for the contact or a recent trigger event for the person’s business.
7. Focus on your Prospect’s Needs
Tip seven can be a tough one for people who are new to the sales development game. After all, you’ve got a quota to meet.
Your manager expects you to set a certain number of appointments or qualify a certain amount of leads per month. You’ve got a goal, a MISSION.
But it’s important to remember that your customers have their own objectives and priorities. It’s highly unlikely that listening to you extensively promote your product or service is their highest priority. However, when you shift your focus to them and their needs, people are more likely to pause and pay attention.
Don’t start your call spewing off product features. Ask questions that help you get to know what someone needs and how you can help them get what they want through your brand’s offering.
8. Learn to love “no”
Unfortunately, you will hear many shutdowns as an SDR: “no, “not interested,” “we already have a solution,” “we don’t have the budget,” as well as just the silence of unreturned calls.
All that NO can be a little disheartening if you don’t learn how to love it.
First, learn to love the hard “no.” A firm “no” where the prospect sees no value or has absolutely no interest is freedom. You can leave disqualified and disinterested prospects in your rearview mirror and move on to the next contact in search of a “yes.”
Second, learn to live with some silence. As I mentioned earlier in this post, only 10 percent of sales are won after four follow-up attempts. You need to make eight or more attempts for success, meaning you’ll be sitting with a lot of unanswered calls and emails. Be persistent. Don’t give up until you’ve made enough tries to count a lead out of the running.
Third, learn to overcome objections that may merely be deflections. Not every objection is a hard no, so don’t take them that way. Find out why someone isn’t interested when they say “not interested.”
Ask questions when they mention that they already have a solution. When is the contract up? What if you could offer comparable or better services?
9. Use other touchpoints to warm up calls
So you aren’t terribly fond of cold calling? Lucky for you, you can use other touchpoints to warm up your cold calls. Try engaging with a prospect on social media before calling or sending them an email.
Share a relevant blog post, comment on a prospect’s update. Be authentic and friendly, but don’t get all stalker-y or spammy.
10. Embrace technology to help you make more calls.
There are tons of terrific sales tech options to help you be more effective and productive in your sales job.
One such technology that can significantly enhance your cold calling efforts is sales engagement software.
With sales engagement software, you can automate various aspects of your cold calling, such as lead routing, auto dialing, and appointment setting.
It allows you to track and analyze call metrics, providing valuable insights into your performance and helping you identify areas for improvement.
Ready to Cold Call?
The tips above should point you in the right direction if you’re new to the world of sales development and cold calling.
However, don’t forget that you’ve got your sales manager, peers, and a ton of sales resources online to help you improve, too. Continuously seek knowledge and refine your skills to become a more confident and successful SDR.
By implementing these cold calling tips, embracing technology such as sales engagement software, and staying focused on your prospects’ needs, you can navigate the world of cold calling with more confidence and achieve greater success in your sales endeavors. Good luck!