12 Worst Cold Calling Mistakes and How to Fix Them
There’s no one right way to ensure successful cold calls. Your sales team has a difficult job to do, and mistakes are naturally more common than you may think. But if your sales reps are often faced with rejection, it’s time to make a change.
Even if customers aren’t outright hanging up in the middle of a call, there is still a likelihood some of them don’t pay attention. This could happen because they genuinely don’t need your services, but it’s more likely because of cold calling errors.
This guide will identify 12 of the worst and most common mistakes your team might make and the best cold calling methods in 2019.
1. Weak Introductions
Making a good first impression is critical to winning over new clients. That said, your introduction may be one of the most essential parts of your cold call script.
Some of the ways you can go wrong include trying to be too nice, coming across overbearingly, using “I” more than “you” and not knowing the person to whom you’re speaking. Being overly sweet or controlling is off-putting to the client, and you need to demonstrate that you’re invested in their company’s success. This may seem like a lot for a few sentences, but you need to nail your opening every time.
In your introduction, you should explain who you are with your first name and company, then tell the client why they should care about what you have to say. Generally, you can do so in one sentence that shows how your solution helps their business. If you can, include details about the prospect’s business, so they can tell you’ve done your research, and ask if they have time rather than assuming.
Throughout the intro, you need to sound cool and confident without seeming like you’re boasting. The best way to get it right every time is by developing a script that works and customizing it to fit each lead.
2. Pitching Instead of Discussing
Too many sales reps approach cold calls as if their only purpose is to sell whatever service or product their company offers. If your team’s mindset is stuck in sell mode, they are bound to sound like they’re delivering a pitch. But that’s not always the point of a cold call.
Pitches sound insincere, pushy and like your agents only care about what they have to say, which can ruin any chance of striking up a relationship. Every cold call should be treated like a genuine discussion between two peers. There should be a healthy give and take, rather than a one-sided conversation.
When your team goes into their calls expecting to have a discussion, they’re more likely to treat the interaction less like a pitch. This is essential to generating conversions, as the point of a cold call isn’t always to close — it rarely is. Instead, it should be about potentially beginning a relationship and leading to further conversation.
3. Not Listening to the Customer
Customers can tell whether or not you listen to what they say. If they hear that you aren’t, they are much less likely to want to continue responding to your agent. And whatever happens, you should never interrupt a customer while they’re speaking. It’s one of the fastest ways to turn them away and make them feel disrespected.
When callers don’t listen to the customers, not only is it offputting and obvious, but your sales rep may miss a few golden opportunities. Allowing prospects to answer questions and ask theirs means you have more information to work with. If you pay attention or take notes, you can edit the script as you go and cater to their individual needs better.
When the prospects ask questions, your agents need to answer them, even if they aren’t in the script. If they actively listen and come well-prepared, they should switch from the outline to improvising with ease.
4. Rigid Script Reading
While you should use a script or outline to help keep the conversation focused, you shouldn’t come across like you are. Many under-practiced reps stick too close to what they have written down and sound like a robot. The interaction ends up feeling impersonal and cold, and the client is less likely to strike up a genuine discussion if they feel like they’re just another lead on a list.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should toss out the script, either, as winging it could garner worse results. But your agents need to be aware of how they sound and practice reading through as a warm-up before making calls. They should speak like an actor — not to monotone, not too expressive. Again, the interaction should go like a casual discussion.
The one exception for going off-script is on voicemail messages, in which 90% of cold calls end. If your agents get sent to voicemail, they need to have a script that’s brief, clear and to the point. They’ll only have about 20 to 30 seconds to speak, so sticking to the predetermined outline is a must.
5. Lack of Prior Research
If one of your reps has ever called a business and asked to speak with someone in charge, they’ve already made a mistake. Not knowing at least your point of contact’s name and position within the company looks bad and shows you haven’t cared to do any research.
Before you touch the phone, you need to gather information about your targeted client and their company’s potential needs. The most significant way to waste your own time and the client’s time is by going into calls underprepared. At the least, you should know your point of contact’s name, how to pronounce it and their position.
With the prevalence of social media sites like LinkedIn, there is no reason not to have this information. Even a five-minute Google search will put your agents in a better position. Ultimately, though, they should have a list of questions related to the client’s company at the ready.