Few phrases strike fear and loathing in the hearts of sales reps more than “cold calling”. In fact, more than 40% of salespeople consider prospecting – particularly via cold-calling – the most challenging part of their work. And with good reason. Consider these statistics:
- Reaching a prospects requires 8 to 18 cold call attempts.
- 80% of sales require five follow-up phone calls, yet 44 percent of salespeople give up after just a single follow up.
- The average sales representative makes 46 calls a day and can spend up to 40% of their time looking for someone to call.
- 90% of CEOs admit they never return cold calls and upward of 72% of cold calls never reach any human
- The average sales person generates roughly one appointment or referral from every 209 phone calls.
But if these stats have you and your payroll sales staff ready to hang it up, think again. Despite the challenge, a whopping 92% of all customer interactions happen over the phone and 41.2% of salespeople say their phone is the most effective sales tool at their disposal. That means cold calling is still among the most viable tools in your sales arsenal – if it’s done right. Here are five top tips to help your reps ace the cold call:
- Start with a quality contact list: Randomly calling the main line of a company, particularly one with a larger staff, and hoping you’ll get connected to the right person will only prove a time waster. Research your prospective client companies to pinpoint key decision makers, then do a bit of due diligence on them individually. A quick look over their social media profiles may lend a sense of their personalities and values, which can help you tailor your approach.
- Ask as much as you tell: An analysis by Gong, a sales research firm, of 519,000 discovery calls showed that asking questions is key. Experts recommend asking around 11 to 14 questions peppered throughout the call, focusing on the prospect’s business plans and objectives. Also, note that top performing sales professionals are 10 times likelier to use collaborative words such as “we,” “us,” “our,” and “together” over “you,” “I,” “me,” and “your”.
- Timing matters: Research shows that a cold call early on a Monday morning when people are ramping up their work week plans and Friday afternoons, when they’re likely already mentally checked out for the weekend, will be ignored and may even backfire. Wednesday and Thursday mornings and afternoons have proven most effective. If you must leave a voicemail, speak clearly and quickly, limiting your message to 8 to 15 seconds. And if you get a voicemail or email in response, act swiftly. An analysis of more than 2,200 US businesses revealed that those who attempt to reach leads within an hour are nearly seven times likelier to have meaningful conversations with decision makers than those who waited even sixty minutes.
- 50-in-150: Top performing sales pros often use this approach. The goal is to make 50 cold calls in 150 minutes. Be sure to take five-minute breaks throughout to help keep your energy and enthusiasm up.
- Don’t give up too soon: A recent marketing surveyed showed that 80 percent of prospects say “No” four times before they say yes – yet 92 percent of sales professionals give up after the fourth call. Just one more call would have made the difference.
Apex HCM offers a full suite of payroll software and service solutions to help your sales staff convert those cold-call prospects into long-term, paying clients. Call 877-750-2739 or request a demo of our products and services today.