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Cold call prep: how to do it well

September 10, 2021

Congratulations, you’re marrying your prospect!

“Wait, what about my partner back home?” you might be thinking.

Well, you’re not exactly tying the knot…in the literal sense.

But it can help if you think of your relationship with a prospect like it’s a marriage.

Together forever, in sickness and in health?

No, that doesn’t quite work in B2B sales!

But look at it this way - you’re engaged to your prospect and if you want everything to go smoothly, you’ve got to plan the wedding.

And in this case, your wedding prep is your call prep.

Follow all the tips 👇 to ace cold call prep and live happily ever after with your prospects!

Before the call - how to prepare | During the call - how to use your prep to your advantage | After the call - what to do next | Tracking and improving performance | Improve your cold calling strategy

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Before the call - how to prepare ✍️

When cold calling prospects, you’re trying to talk to someone with whom you have no rapport and no trust to engage with you.

So, how do you get to the “They said, Yes!” moment?

With a strategy, of course!

For each call, you need to prepare by doing your research.

You need to focus on and define your goals.

And, most importantly, you need an end goal and a plan for how you’re going to reach it.

If you don’t have a plan and a goal you’re working towards, you shouldn’t really be picking up the phone.

Here’s where to get started with your call prep:

Become the prospect

You’ve got to get into your prospect’s mindset if you’re going to qualify them effectively.

You need to focus the call entirely on the prospect and not on yourself. And that means you have to do your research.

At this point in your call prep, remember the internet is your friend! Use LinkedIn, Google, and the prospect and company social media pages to find out more about who you’re talking to.

Keep all of this information in one place and have it open when you start the call. This will ensure you have a clear picture of who you’re talking to and what you can say.

Then, take some time to figure out their potential pain points, so that you can offer your product as the solution on the call.

The best way of doing this is to listen and talk to as many people as possible.

Talk to clients in similar industries. Talk to your teammates who’ve worked on similar accounts.

If your sales team records their cold calls, play back a few of the most successful ones. Make notes on how other reps resolved customer pain points.

Then, plan out every single question you want/need to ask the prospect.

Start by writing down topics you’d like to engage with, then follow up with a list of questions.

This research phase is crucial to your cold calling success!

Ensure you’re mentally prepared

This step begins with knowing your metrics.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • “Do I need to make 100 dials?”
  • “How many dials do I need before I get a “'Yes”?

Then, start preparing for all the “No”’s you’re about to hear. Remember not to take them personally.

Cold calling rejection can take a huge toll on you mentally.

Your team can offer you support but at the end of the day, it’s activity more than anything else that leads to success.

The more calls you make, the more confident you’ll get - and the more meetings you’ll book.

Understand your product/service better than anyone else

This one might seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s incredibly important!

When you’re on a cold call, you need to be absolutely clear of the value of your product/service.

You need to be able to convince your prospect why it’ll solve their pain points.

To ensure that understanding before the call, take a deep dive into your company’s case studies.

Choose a few that are relevant to the prospect’s business. Note down key stats, quotes and industry knowledge.

Take advantage of this info. Create use cases that are relevant to the prospect.

Remember, you’re approaching them with a solution that will add value to their business.

Once you’re prepped, you need to think about what you’re going to do on the call itself. 👇

During the call - how to use your prep to your advantage 📞

Now, it’s time to hop on the phone and start dialling.

It’s no use having done all your prep beforehand if you’re not going to use it on the call.

All the information you’ve gathered has to be nearby and ready to be used.

But, how exactly do you do this?

Well, remember you’re not married just yet, so you actually have to listen to the prospect when they talk! 😉

The greatest way to use your call prep to your advantage is to keep your prospect relaxed.

Focus your attention on them and ask the questions you’ve prepped, but don’t stick to your questions like a script.

Be flexible; remember you’re having a conversation with someone, not talking at them.

Prospects are aware you’re cold calling them! Your job is to make them forget this.

Next, don’t simply push your product.

Yes, you’re armed with use cases and stats but you can’t just throw them at the prospect.

Rather, get the prospect to mention their pain point to you. Then, gently weave in the information from your call prep in your response.

If your prep is inaccurate or you feel the call isn’t going well, always remember to:

  1. Ask open-ended questions.
  2. Practice active listening.

And, once your call is over, you’ll need to take action 👇

After the call - what to do next 📋

Ooh, those wedding bells are ringing closer!

Now that you’ve spoken to your prospect, you’ve got to follow up with them.

9 times out of 10 in outbound sales, the early bird catches the worm. So don’t leave it long before you catch up with them!

Follow these steps for successful cold call follow-ups:

1 - Always send a follow-up email

If you’re worried about overworking the lead or leaving it too long, take heed of Pat Connolly’s advice:

“If you have a call on a Friday morning and the rep waits until Monday morning to follow up, you’ll forget what the call was about over the weekend. So, if it’s a Friday morning call, following up on the Friday afternoon, while they’re still fresh in your mind, is ideal.”

2 - Connect with them on LinkedIn

This is incredibly time-sensitive. You should connect with the prospect immediately after your call.

This is because:

  1. They now know what you look and sound like and you’ve built rapport.
  2. It opens up another channel of communication between you and the prospect; you can reach out to other people at the same company if need be.

3 - Always give them a follow-up call

Again, this is about staying fresh in your client’s mind. It’s likely that they won’t remember who you are if you leave it for too long.

As soon as the first call ends, jot down a date to call the prospect for a second time. This follow-up call should be within a week of your initial call.

And, once you’ve followed all your checklists for cold calling your clients, you need to review your process and make improvements.

Starting right here 👇

Tracking and improving performance 📈

There are 3 key metrics you’ll want to keep an eye on if you want to get more prospects down that aisle...towards your happily ever after. 💞

And here they are:

1 - Your activity

Keep tabs on how many dials you made, how many conversations you’ve had and how many emails you’ve sent.

Missing or exceeding your target will help you to re-evaluate how you spend your time and where you’ll need to improve your cold outreach.

2 - Your call quality

To assess the quality of your calls, every week you should review:

  • How many decision-makers you've reached.
  • How many prospects you spoke to were qualified for your product.
  • How those numbers compare to your total number of dials.

The answers will tell you whether you’re pursuing the right prospects or not.

🔥 Hot tip: Save yourself some time by using intent data to find prospects who are actively looking for your product 🔥

3 - Your conversion rate

This will help you to assess whether your pitch is working or not.

A strong pitch typically leads to a higher number of conversions.

If your conversions are low - i.e. few of your prospects went on to start a free trial or purchase your product, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board.

You can refine your call prep process at any time, in fact, it’s incredibly wise to do so if your metrics are low.

So always track the above and if you spot an issue developing, take steps to rectify it.

Improve your cold calling strategy with Cognism 🚀

Want to become your company’s next cold calling champion?

Cognism’s got you!

Download our B2B Cold Calling Handbook to improve your calls and book more meetings 👇

B2B Cold Calling Handbook

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