What’s the first image that comes to mind when you think of B2B cold calling? Jordan Belfort peddling penny stocks? Or perhaps those annoying people that always miraculously seem to call during dinner time.
B2B cold calling, when done right, is neither pushy nor irritating but a massive driver of sales. In fact, according to HubSpot, 78% of decision-makers polled have booked an appointment or attended an event that came out of a cold-call.
So, without sounding too pushy and Jordan Belforty, we urge you to read on because you’re going to need to learn these top 15 B2B cold calling tips. That is of course only if you want to smash your sales targets and become king of the cold call.
1. Avoid stranger danger
Your prospects will respond better to a random stranger calling them if they have some level of familiarity with you or your company. All thanks to the exposure effect (Google it), we feel warmer toward those we know. This is why we recommend you follow your prospects and their company on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Like their posts or retweet something you enjoyed on their Twitter, so that by the time you pick up the phone to say “This is Pam from Dunder Muffin”, they’ll know who you are.
Additionally, you can utilize the time spent on your prospects’ social media to learn more about your prospect and discover some small yet meaningful details. We’re not recommending you become a Lakers fan if you don’t know a thing about basketball, but if you notice something on their profile that aligns with your hobbies or values, feel free to throw it into the conversation. This is a sure-fire way to make yourself more memorable and make the conversation more enjoyable on both ends.
2. Study your prospect
B2B cold calling is all about addressing pain points and adding value, so make sure you know as much about your prospect’s company as possible before you pick up the phone. Here are some key points of information to learn:
- Product or service offerings
- Company size
- Number of employees
- Industry verticals
Tip: If the idea of doing extra homework puts you off, we recommend doing it the easy way with a lead enrichment tool like Lusha Contacts. Lusha is a multi-browser chrome extension that works on websites like LinkedIn, Owler and Gmail to instantly find important company information. In just one click, Lusha does all the prospect research for you, and revealing important data points you’ll need to know about a company pre-cold call.
3. Master your opener
You could have the best B2B cold calling pitch in the world, but if your opener sucks, you’re going to get hung up on, that’s just the way it goes. Here are some do’s and dont’s:
DONT: “Did I catch you at a bad time?”
(openers like this have a 0.9% success rate)
DO: “Hey how are you?”
(3.4X higher likelihood of booking a meeting with this opener)
DO: “The reason for my call is…”
(Beginning with a proactive reason for your call increases your success rate by 2.1X)
DO: The Winning Opener: “How are you doing?”
(Increases success rate by 6.6X)
4. Marie Kondo your data with a CRM
In order to become successful at B2B cold-calling, you need to store a lot of information about your prospect and their company. Keeping an endless pile of scribbles, notes, google docs, and excels is a surefire way to let leads fall through the cracks, which is why you need a CRM (customer relationship management) tool. A CRM is an intelligent hub where all of your sales and customer information lives. We recommend an awesome CRM tool like Hubspot to keep track of everything, such as:
- Customer profiles
- Interactions history
GAME-CHANGER: Lusha Contacts helps you find the personal phone numbers and email addresses of your prospect, and then exports all the data straight to your CRM of choice. This is going to keep your CRM clean and tidy, and also make prospecting a breeze because you won’t waste time manually entering data.
5. Dial decision-makers, every time
If you’ve been following along with us so far, you’ll have done your prospect research and figured out which decision-maker you need to contact. The next step is finding their correct phone number, which can be more difficult than you think.
Sure, LinkedIn and Google can provide you with some office phone numbers, but it’s pretty unlikely you’ll be able to reach a decision-maker using those dead-end office numbers. Lusha Contacts instantly reveals your prospect’s personal cell phone number and email address. With Lusha Contacts, you’ll be able to spend more time on the phone selling to decision-makers, and less time googling their phone numbers.
6. Ask happy customers for referrals
Wouldn’t you rather answer a call from a company you’ve heard great things about, rather than a complete stranger? Research shows the 91% of B2B purchasers’ buying decisions are influenced by word-of-mouth. Embrace referrals, ask satisfied customers to mention your name in conversation with a colleague, afterall 91% of customers say they’d give a referral but only 11% of salespeople ask for them. Don’t be shy, you have nothing to lose!
7. Learn to overcome common objections
Like it or not, hearing ‘no’ is just part of B2B cold calling and is something you’ll need to get used to hearing. It doesn’t mean you’re bad at your job, you can’t be everyone’s cup of tea so don’t take it personally (hey that rhymed). Here’s some common objections and how to respond to them in order to nail the sale (rhymed again):
Objection 1: “Send me an email”
Response: “I can certainly do that, what’s your email address and what information can I include in the email to make sure it’s most helpful to you”?”
Objection 2: “Now is not a good time”
Response: “No worries, let me know when’s a better time to have a three minute conversion. I’d like to first make sure we’re even a good fit before we talk at any length”
Objection 3: “Let’s talk next month, I cant make a decision now”
*This objection might sound like they’re letting you down easy but in some cases, they may just need time.
Response: Follow the objection up by asking questions about what needs to be done before the call next month, and make sure to schedule it over the phone and put it in your calendars. Try asking:
- Where will this meeting take place?
- Who will be involved?
- Can I be a part of that meeting, if even over the phone?
- What material do you need in preparation for that meeting?
8. Bounce back like a champ
Awful B2B cold calling experiences are just part of the job description. There’s always going to be someone who you caught on a bad day, who’s taking her anger out on you because you sound jolly and are an easy target, and because her son forgot to defrost the chicken. Well, here’s NOT what to do after a nasty call.
Don’t: hang up and complain to your entire team about what a jerk that caller was, you’ll ruin their focus and productivity, and it won’t help you feel any better.
- Get up from your desk
- Go for a walk/ get some air
- Grab a coffee or a snack
- Do something nice like listen to your favorite song, watch a funny youtube video
- Get back in the ring! Pick up that phone and try again, you got this.
9. Don’t talk about money too soon
Timing is everything! With B2B cold calling, the time at which you introduce certain topics into the conversation can be the difference between a hang-up and a sale. You wouldn’t propose to your girlfriend on the first date right, so don’t bring up pricing in the first minute.
The best reps only talk about pricing later in the call, the trick is to establish value first before you get into numbers. Superstar sales reps work in pricing three-quarters of the way into the call, once the prospect is hooked and interested.
10. Ditch your script
B2B cold calling static pitches are so over, remember that one of the main goals of a cold-call is to develop a customer relationship and to build trust. You can’t build trust if you sound like a robocop. Plus, if the conversation veers off and you only know one script, you’re doomed.
Don’t believe us? Cloud-based call center software contactSPACE noticed an entire 50% increase in contacts per hour after ditching static, boring scripts. That same team grew from 10 sales reps to more than 50 in just one month!
Your cold-call should be an exchange of information, have your main talking points and questions ready, plus your objection handling responses. Make sure you can demonstrate the product’s value in numerous ways, and tailor your value proposition to the individual client and vertical.
11. Use powerful language
All words are not created equal, some words have the power to transform the way a person is feeling. Words can make you feel confident, strong, trustworthy, all feelings that lead to a ‘yes’ from your prospect. Add this language into your B2B cold calling strategy and prepare to win sales:
- Your prospects’ name- This makes prospects feel respected and important, who doesn’t love the sound of their own name?
- Successful- Because everyone wants to succeed, this word is very compelling to prospects.
- We- Use “we” language as it helps sell your company as worthy of setting up a meeting with, it also builds credibility.
- Imagine– This word commands feelings of possibilities and will increase your prospects’ desire for the product.
- Decisive language- Use words such as, “certainly” and “definitely”, and phrases like “we can do that”, to demonstrate your confidence in what you’re selling. This confidence will give off an air of authority and make your prospects trust you more.
12. Talk about competition sooner rather than later
Talking about your competitors when B2B cold calling is something many sales reps either dread or put it off entirely. Alternatively, sales reps tend to wait to talk about competitors, until they feel secure that their prospect is going to say yes. This is however counterproductive, because when you address the competition and tackle the topic of how you stack up against your competition early, it makes the prospect feel more confident, and can assist in forming their opinion about your product. According to Gong, The odds of closing a sale decrease the longer you hold off talking about competition, so don’t be afraid to talk about it.
13. Say less, listen more
You probably got into sales because you’re a personable, talkative, out-going person. While these are all wonderful traits that will help you win sales, B2B cold calling should be about listening not talking. We’re talking therapy-grade listening skills here, according to Gong, top sales performers have a 46% to 54% talk-to-listen ratio, meaning that they speak less than half of the time! Remember though that there is a difference between being silent and actually listening.
Why do we recommend listening more than talking? Well, the more a prospect talks, the more important information you’ll learn in order to develop a connection with them. Listening will also keep you from rambling. Let your prospect pause without jumping in, if you let them think and speak again, they may offer up more valuable information that can assist you in closing the sale.
14. Remember you’re selling value, not features
You need to remember the big picture, you’re not just selling a technical product or service, you’re selling something that is going to add value to your prospects’ life. The best B2B cold calling reps spend more time talking value than features. After all, if someones letting go of money they need to know that it’s going to improve their lives. Here are some examples of value-related subjects that you should spend time talking about:
- Prospects’ pain points
- Return on investment
- Prospects’ business challenges
- Projected agendas and timelines
15. Sell in teams
There is incredible data that shows having more than just one participant from your company makes you 248% percent more likely to close a deal than if you were flying solo. We recommend asking someone from your team to jump on the call with you, it can be anyone from CEO to sales manager, sales engineer or another rep. When you invite more experts on the sales call, you’re telling your prospect that they are important and worthy of multiple peoples’ time. It also gives your prospect more chances to understand the product and how it can benefit them, they can ask more questions and have a deeper more meaningful sales call.
Feelin’ ready to jump in the ring?
We hope these tips have been helpful, and as a final note, we want you to remember that B2B cold-calling is about forging connections and relationships. Forget the product and its fancy features for a second, and remember that at the end of the day, that first call is about trying to click with a prospect. Always lead with kindness and respect, your 5-minute call has the opportunity to make someone’s day.
When you’re ready to dial, remember to download Lusha Contacts to instantly find your prospects’ personal cell phone numbers and email addresses. The tool is totally free, and you’ll be amazed at how much Lusha simplifies the entire cold-calling process.
Here’s some extra information that’s going to help you crown yourself as the best B2B cold-caller in the biz:
- Strip away the fear out of B2B cold-calling with these hot tips
- Prospect like an absolute pro on LinkedIn
- Build sales FAST by answering these four questions