How To Convert More Cold Calls Into Sales Meetings? 8 Experts Share Their Advice
If You’re Not Yet Converting 5%+ Of Cold Conversations Into Sales Meetings, Consider Employing These Tips From 8 Sales Experts At B2B Lead Generation Companies
Even with substantial changes in the way buyers buy today, cold calling remains a core channel consideration for any outbound sales strategy.
According to research, for some, cold calling is still an effective way to acquire new leads and accelerate sales. In a survey conducted by ValueSelling Associates, B2B sales people rated phone calls as their #2 most successful method for reaching prospects.
Here are some of the statistics, according to RAIN Group…
- More than 50% of decision-makers prefer to be contacted over the phone
- Over 71% of buyers say they want salespeople to reach out when they’re researching ways to boost their business
- Up to 50% of sales go to the business that makes the first move and reaches out to the potential buyer
Although there are sales professionals having success with cold calling, the average success rate for getting an initial appointment from cold calling is a dismal 1-3%.
So, we asked 9 sales experts from Lead Generation Companies about their #1 tip for converting more cold calls into sales meetings and are sharing them in this article in hopes that you will be able to use one or more of the tips to boost your cold call conversions over the 5% mark.
If you’re a business owner, sales manager, account executive, or sales development representative struggling to get your “cold call-to-sales meeting” conversions above the 1-3% average conversion rate.
Read on to see what they had to say.
Cold Calling Tips
How To Convert More Cold Calls Into Sales Meetings
"There isn't a number one tip more about mental aptitude - keep going!"
Prospects’ initial reaction to being interrupted — usually a not-so-friendly brush-off or reflex response — feels like a rejection.
It’s human nature to dislike rejection; which is why very few sales people actually enjoy cold calling and many of them, in fact, try to avoid it.
It is not the “cold” call that is hard…it is the rejection.
However, the first step to converting more cold calls into sales meetings is actually picking up the phone and making the cold call.
With most sales reps tapping out after just 2 attempts to get in touch, your probability of getting a prospect into a meeting goes up just by you just continuing to dial.
"Perfect your list. So many companies start with a poorly targeted list or one with bad contact information. Give your SDR's the opportunity to shine and generate great appointments for your AE's by making sure they are targeting the right prospects and have the right data at their fingertips."
You can’t improve your cold calling reach rate if you don’t have highly accurate phone numbers for the people you’re trying to connect with in the first place.
Data in your CRM or purchased contact lists is constantly decaying, so you need to establish a system that ensures you continuously have accurate contact record data.
When reps can spend less time researching prospects and more time reaching out to them, sales meeting conversion potential is higher.
"The Dialer. Cold calling isn't for everyone. It takes a special person who can be "felt" during the engagement. The person receiving the call should feel the person’s interest and genuine ability to want to connect."
Getting past gatekeepers, the people tasked with ensuring only the most important calls get passed to the person with whom you’re likely trying to connect, is among the top obstacles standing in a rep’s way when it comes to converting cold calls into meetings.
Many salespeople focus on getting past the gatekeeper, but there is no secret formula for getting around gatekeepers, so what if you tried getting along with gatekeepers instead?
Here are a few recommendations that can help you increase the probability of getting get this person on your side and improving your odds for getting your calls connected to more contacts on your prospect lists:
- Be polite, warm and welcoming – they will likely reciprocate
- Refer to the person you’re trying to reach by their first name
- State the purpose of your call confidently and in plain language – without too much jargon
- Try calling before or after regular business hours. Chances are your prospect will likely work longer hours than the gatekeeper.
- Even if they don’t put you through, trying to remember something about them for the next call, even if it’s just their name will go a long way.
"Tone, pace, and pitch. Get your pitch out quickly with a positive tone and you'll have success."
Tone is especially important when you are selling over the phone.
In person, you have the added benefit of being able to communicate non-verbally, so you're able to physically and visually connect with your potential customers.
However, when you're selling over the phone, all you have is your voice.
Speaking too slowly may cause their interest to taper off, while speaking too quickly can make prospects feel like you’re being loud and pushy. .
But, tone is about more than just speed.
The tone of voice here refers to the pitch, volume, speed, and diction - choosing the right words to achieve a desired result - you use when selling.
Use your tone of voice effectively on cold calls and see your sales meeting conversion rate go up.
"Call those who have engaged with your content, to get warmer conversations relevant information needs to be leveraged"
When a prospect engages with the emails and content, s/he demonstrates a level of interest, or behavioral intent. A new term has been coined to describe a buyer who frequently interacts with your content: a highly qualified lead (HQL).
Once a person becomes an HQL, you can choose to “cold call” them knowing that, based on their level of engagement with your content, you’ll have a higher probability of booking them into a sales meeting.
"Approach the call with the right mindset. Your mindset when going into the call shouldn't be to book a meeting, but instead to uncover if this prospect has a problem that you can solve. If they do, great book the meeting, if they don't, no worries move onto the next one. This removes the desperation from your tone and gets you focused on asking questions instead of pitching.”
According to sales guru turned motivational speaker, Dan Lok in an episode of his podcast The Dan Lok Show highlights “sorry to bother you” or “I know you’re busy” as one of the 27 words to avoid in sales. You should be calling prospects because you have a solution that may save them stress, time, and/or money.
"Listen. When calling most focus on the script, however, we must listen to the prospect in order to align and build the trust to book a meeting.”
A natural inclination in selling is to focus on getting through your script so you can book the sales meeting or close the sale.
However, when you stop listening, you’re likely to give an impression that your prospect’s needs don’t really matter – which is most likely to have the opposite effect.
Regardless of the stage of the sales cycle, listening should always take priority over “pushing the deal,” otherwise buyers might feel like you are trying to sell them something they don't need.
"Follow up! Then follow up some more!!"
After making cold call after cold call and being viciously rejected and told to "never call back" by gatekeepers and prospects, it’s only natural to stop dialing and/or say “it’s not working.”
However, it’s well documented that most sales efforts are abandoned before they can bear fruit:
- 50% of all sales happen after the 5th contact, but most reps give up after just 2. (InsideSales)
- 72% of all sales calls aren’t answered. (Baylor University)
- 92% of sales pros give up after the 4th call, but 80% of prospects say no four times before they say yes. (MarketingDonut)
In Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount, he says that it can take 20 - 50 touches to engage a prospect who does not know you, your company, or your brand.
So, to convert more cold calls into sales meetings, plan to call the same prospect until they convert into a meeting or tell them to take you off your prospecting list.