- Blog post
More cold calls in less time: 10 Strategies to boost your prospecting efficiency
One of the best ways to increase your sales numbers is by increasing your cold-calling efficiency. Because prospecting sits at the top of your sales funnel, the results of higher efficiency can be dramatic, notes prospecting guru Art Sobczak.
Say, for example, it usually takes 20 prospecting calls to get an appointment. If you can change what you do to get just one more appointment out of those calls, you’ve doubled your cold calling efficiency all the way down the line.
Consider these ideas to get more out of each prospecting call:
- Set two objectives for every call that you make. Your primary objective, of course, is something that actively moves the sales process forward – for example, have the prospect agree to a meeting. Your secondary goal is something that you’ll have a reasonable chance of achieving even if you can’t get to the primary objective, such as “Get permission to put prospect on our mailing list.” This way you can enjoy success on nearly every call and maximize the value of your prospecting time.
- Know why the decision maker needs to speak to you. You know why you want to reach the decision maker – because you want a decision! But your reasons don’t matter to the buyer. Be prepared to answer the gatekeeper’s unspoken question: “Does this person have anything of interest or value to offer my boss?”
- Make every call sound like the only call. Nobody wants to feel like they’re an item on someone’s to-do list. Even when prospects know you’re cold calling, they need to feel that you’re focused on them and their needs. So avoid seller-focused openers like, “I was just calling people in your area.” The buyer could care less about who else you’re calling.
- Use “modest” words. In sales, we’re trained to sound confident. In cold calls, too much confidence too soon could cut a conversation short before the buyer even considers what you’re selling. The reason: Buyers will (rightly) assume that you know little or nothing about their needs. So how could you know whether you can save them money or solve their problem? Words like “might,” “maybe” or “possibly” open the door to asking some questions, and tend to disarm skeptical prospects. For example: “Depending on what you’re doing now, I have an idea that could possibly reduce your company’s health care costs. May I ask a few questions to see whether this idea might work for you?”
- Don’t present from a “benefit list.” On a cold call, you don’t really know whether your benefits are actually beneficial to this prospect. In fact, some benefits could actually be liabilities. Instead, use your benefits list to create questions that can help determine whether those “benefits” are truly of value.
- Don’t make prospects think too hard. When you initiate a call, keep in mind that the prospect’s focus was probably somewhere else. Questions that are too general – such as “What do you look for in a supplier?” – require way too much effort. Specific questions are easier to answer: “Has your company been affected by rising workers compensation costs?”
- Be confident in your questioning. You can’t be confident in offering a solution, but you should be confident about the questions you ask. These questions reveal your expertise to the prospect.
- Prepare questions that demonstrate your intimate knowledge of the prospect’s industry or role. For example: “Many companies have adopted just-in-time inventory management. Has your company gone that way, or not?”
- Know where you’ll go with the answers – even if you don’t get the answer you expected: “You’ve managed to hold the line on workers comp premiums? Wow, that’s pretty unusual. What’s your secret?”
- Ask for feedback. “Do you feel this is something that would work for you?” Some argue that these questions create an opportunity for a prospect to say no. True – and that’s a good thing. If the prospect doesn’t see value in what you’ve suggested, now’s the time to find out, so you can fix it.
Source: Art Sobczak is president of Business by Phone Inc., www.businessbyphone.com