8 Tips for Productive Cold Calls

Sales is a numbers game. The more potential clients you reach, the more sales you're likely to make, but this doesn't mean you can ignore quality in favor of quantity. As you get better at cold calling, you may find that you have to make fewer calls to get enough appointments to meet your sales quota – or even to exceed it. Here are some phone sales tips to help you refine the art. 

Get Their Attention in 15 Seconds or Less

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Fifteen seconds – that's how long you have before your prospect realizes that this is just another lousy sales call. If they don't actually hang up on you, this is where they stop listening. Maybe they've still got the phone to their ear, but their dog has just stolen their kid's favorite toy and you're the last thing on their mind.

Your opening statement should grab their attention and give them a reason to keep listening. It should make them think, "OK, I can buy another toy later. I want to hear this."

Create Excitement

Think yourself into this mindset: You have a fantastic product that will greatly improve your customers' lives. You're about to give the person on the other end of the line a huge gift by telling them about this wonderful product. Make sure that energy and enthusiasm come across in your tone of voice, but don't overdo it. Sounding like a carnival hawker can turn them off. Aim for conversational, like you're sharing a great tip with your best friend over coffee. 

Mirror the Prospect

People are most comfortable dealing with other people who are just like them. Jot down a few words or phrases that your prospect uses as you're talking. Now work them into your pitch. Yes, this involves a bit of multi-tasking, but it will be worth it. Try to match your potential customer's volume, speed, and their tone of voice as well, but not to the point of caricature. If you cross that line, you become insulting. Sale lost. 

Use Their Favorite Word

Studies have shown that a person's favorite word is their own name, so get your prospect's name as soon as possible and jot it down. Now use it at least three times during the call. It may sound silly, but this will help you build rapport with your prospect.

Don't Take No for an Answer

Many prospects will reflexively say “I'm not interested” or “I'm busy” the second they realize they've just picked up the phone for a cold call. They'll shut you down before they hear what you have to offer. Don't hang up. Jump in with an open-ended question instead, something that will jumpstart the conversation. Go for a question that will make your prospect stop and think before disconnecting. Possibilities include “What is your biggest problem right now?” or “What are your goals?”

Use Emotion

Inspire emotion in your prospect – happy feelings about your product, bad feelings about not having it. Storytelling is very effective, so toss in an anecdote or two about your other customers and how your product improved their lives.

Provide Value

Offer your potential customer something useful, even if they don't end up buying your product. This can range from a free sample to a no-strings-attached trial period. Giving something of value to your prospect creates a feeling that they “owe” you.

Close Every Prospect

As a last resort, ask for a better time to call back. It's possible that you really did call at the exact moment that Labrador took off with the person's kid's Frisbee. They know they're in for a miserable night if they don't get it back. This moves you into the last place on their to-do list. If you don't get the chance to make your phone pitch, try to find out when you can call again, or – better yet – meet with them in person to make a full presentation. 

Ending the Call

Close every single call, even if the prospect seems completely uninterested. Don't just hang up. Wish the prospect a good day. You really have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. They might be more receptive to your call if you decide to make contact again.