If your outbound sales staff is struggling to cold call and set appointments, your department is not alone. Cold calling is a strenuous task that often has a low success rate. The goal is supposed to be nurturing leads in an effort to transition them into a sales conversation with your reps, yet getting that crucial first appointment is quite challenging. Let's take a look at some appointment setting tips and smart ways to improve the cold calling abilities of your salespeople. Arm your team with this knowledge and you'll see a boost in their cold calling production.
1. Research Targeted Prospects
It's all about converting those initial conversations into appointments. Pick out the best prospects who likely have an interest in what your company has to offer and your team will be on the path to success. If your reps can establish a rapport by identifying customers’ needs and potential challenges, they’ll have solid footing during the call. Sales reps should know the company's name, the contact's title and the general industry in which the prospect works. If the rep can find out any more detailed information, it could come in handy during the course of the call as it adds context and proves to the customers that they are going to be treated as individuals. Ideally, the cold callers will know the answers before the customers can respond so they can set up their next questions or comments flawlessly.
2. Give the Call Meaning
The best cold callers give purpose to each call to make them feel legitimate. If the caller is enthused about the product and the potential to help the customer, it will come across clearly through the phone. Customers are skilled at deciphering levels of sincerity. Insincere sales reps will find that their prospects cut calls short without hesitation. So, give the call some meaning and speak with a sincere tone to win over customers who are initially on the fence.
3. Warm Up the Call
One of the best appointment setting tips is to “warm up the call” by way of e-mail or social media. It sets the stage and gives the target customer an idea of what you have to offer. Furthermore, it makes them familiar with the sales rep's name, position and company. A small effort such as an introductory e-mail, social media post or referral can make a big difference. The call won't seem as abrupt and unexpected if it is prefaced by at least one preliminary message.
4. The Call Should Revolve Around Solving Problems
Train your sales reps to speak in a solutions-focused manner. They should make overt attempts to limit their “sales” tone of voice and speak more about solving problems. The typical decision maker doesn't have more than a couple minutes to consider how the product or service can improve his workplace's efficiency. So keep the pitch from 60-90 seconds and don't let it digress to anything outside of how it can solve problems. Develop a distinct angle that customers can't find online and it will become quite easy to set a good number of appointments. Customers are looking for unique insight that explains how the service can benefit their business.
5. Don't End the Call Without Asking for a Follow Up
It is imperative that the sales rep ends each cold call with a request for a meeting. In many instances, a face to face meeting is ideal. Reps should offer to provide more information about how their products or services can solve a business's problems and impact the bottom line. Reps must also get into the habit of signing up cold call targets for a mailing list. The conversation needs to continue in some manner, so engaging in an e-mail or social media interaction will always prove beneficial. However, the establishment of a meeting with the client in a traditional sit-down manner or another phone call is the end goal of the cold call.
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