17 Tips for B2B Cold Calling
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Using a variety of sales strategies can help businesses reach a range of potential customers. B2B cold calling is a common way for sales professionals to identify new leads and promote their products or services to other companies. If you're in sales or interested in becoming a salesperson, you may benefit from learning how to handle B2B cold calling successfully. In this article, we discuss what B2B cold calling is and provide 17 tips for making B2B cold calls.
What is B2B cold calling?
B2B, or business-to-business, cold calling refers to one company calling another to sell products or services without interacting with the company beforehand. A "cold call" means that the person calling does not have a relationship with the company or a scheduled meeting. Instead, they are calling without warning, hoping to inform decision-makers about their product and close a sale.
Read more: What Is the Difference Between B2C and B2B?
Tips for B2B cold calling
Here are tips you can use to improve your B2B cold calling:
Create a strategic list
Brainstorm the types of businesses that are most likely to show interest in your product. Narrowing down your list of prospective leads to companies that can benefit from your products or services can increase your chances of making a sale through cold calling.
Select call times carefully
Choose when to make your cold calls with your recipients' schedules in mind. Research the best times to call managers in your industry or area. If you're making long-distance or international calls, be sure to check the local time where you're calling to ensure it's within traditional business hours. For example, if your office is in Miami, Florida, and you're calling a business in California, remember to account for the three-hour time difference.
Call from a local number
When making B2B cold calls, use a local number if possible. This is especially helpful if you are calling other businesses in your area. When companies receive your call, they may be more likely to answer if they see a familiar area code rather than an out-of-state number. Similarly, avoid blocking your number because this can be a deterrent to businesses answering your calls.
Use an introductory script
When a manager or stakeholder takes your call, you will have a limited time to make an impression. Create a script for how you are going to introduce yourself and your company when you make cold calls. This can help you organize your thoughts and focus your answers to the most important information.
The goal is to gain the listener's attention immediately, so knowing what you're going to say can help you engage the other person from the start of the call. Using a script with facts, product information and a sales pitch ready can also help you appear confident and knowledgeable.
Practice ahead of time
Before making a cold call, practice your greeting and responses on your own or with a friend or colleague. This can help you become more familiar with your script and information, which can help you sound more natural and confident when speaking to prospective buyers.
Follow a template
In addition to an introductory script, consider creating a template that lays out how you can reply to common responses. This can help you provide the specific information to address the listener's concerns quickly. With a template ready, you have a plan for directing the conversation where you want it to go, helping you stay composed and in control, despite the questions the other person may pose.
Ask for the person in charge
When you cold call another business, it's important to speak with the right person. This usually means someone who can make decisions about product purchases. Often this is not the person who answers your call. Before cold calling, try to identify who you need to speak with at each company. This information may be available on their website. When you call, ask for that person by name. If you can't locate a person's name, consider asking for the manager or business owner.
Speak slowly and clearly
Because the receivers of a cold call will not know who you are, it's important to make a good first impression. They may be confused about your call at first, so be sure to speak slowly and clearly when you introduce yourself and explain the reason for your call. Be friendly and repeat yourself if the person does not understand you.
Provide adequate information
You should provide listeners with enough information to make them interested in your products or services. Determine the key background, features and explanations that will help other businesses connect with your product, but avoid giving too much information at once, which can be confusing and time-consuming.
What you need to share with prospective buyers depends on your industry and products and services. For example, if you're selling scheduling software to restaurants, you don't need to explain how the developers created the system. You might simply say, "Our program uses patented technology unlike anything else on the market."
Discuss value before price
Many prospective buyers want to know the price of your products or services before moving on with the conversation. Try to steer the discussion away from price at the outset so that you can first talk about what makes your product or services unique. Share how your product can benefit the company and the value it brings before mentioning price. This helps create interest and a sense of necessity before revealing the cost.
Ask questions and listen intently
An effective cold call involves asking thoughtful, revealing questions to the person you're speaking with and actively listening to their responses. This helps you share the information most relevant to their business and build a genuine connection. When you understand more about the business and their needs, you can better match specific products and services that can improve the company's processes or solve a problem.
Many sales professionals may find cold calling to be a challenging task. Taking steps to reduce your anxiety about cold calling can help you feel more confident and prepared. Consider the following ways to reduce nervousness before making cold calls:
Research the companies thoroughly.
Familiarize yourself with your script and call template.
Practice deep breathing.
Exercise in the morning before work.
Listen to soothing music.
Clear your desk of distractions.
Consider prerecorded voicemails
To save time, consider using a prerecorded voicemail service when you need to a leave a message. In addition to allowing you to move on to your next call while the voicemail is recording, prerecorded voicemails also ensure your message states exactly what you want to say in the way you want to say it, without the pressure of a real-time voicemail.
Invest in a sales dialer
A sales dialer takes your call list and automatically dials the numbers for you, saving you time between calls. Many companies use sales dialers to speed up the cold calling process, allowing the sales team to make more calls during the day. Consider researching different options to find the program with features most helpful for your business.
Recover from poor calls quickly
Managing rejection is a natural part of the sales process. When a call doesn't end with a sale, it's important to move on quickly so that you can make more calls, which will improve your chances of making a sale. Remember that companies are not rejecting you personally. Consider a quick post-call routine that helps you recover from a poor call and prepares you for the next call, such as doing 10 jumping jacks, reading an inspiring quote or looking at a picture of your family.
Experiment with texting
As the business world becomes more reliant on technology, new sales methods are emerging. In some cases, texting may be able to replace B2B cold calling. Consider experimenting with texting your leads to see if you receive more responses and more interest.
Monitor your metrics
It's important to track your sales call metrics to know what strategies are most successful. Statistics can identify trends, such as calling in the afternoon, that lead to more engagement and more sales.
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