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How To Resuscitate Cold Sales Leads

Updated on September 9, 2015

Approaching cold leads — potential clients who you've not reach out to before — takes courage. So what's the best way to approach a cold lead to increase your chances of making a sale?

Target your ideal customer

The more clearly you can niche your prospect, the better chance you'll have at gaining access tokey decision makers. New sales reps (and even mid­career sales reps) often gloss over the foundation work of clearly targeting leads who are right for their company's services. The result is a fragmented sales strategy which wastes everyone's time and money. Until you can identify your exact target audience, don't make a single phone call.

Warm them up before you call cold

A quick, personal and useful introductory note before the call will often increase engagement with prospects. Keep it simple — "I'd like to introduce myself. I've got this product/service, I specialize in your market and I'll call you soon." Give it two days after you've sent the note and then make your call.

Play nice with the gatekeepers

Irritating, frustrating or speaking rudely to executive assistants will get you nowhere. When you're nervous or focusing only on the prospect, you can come across as brusque to the people whose job it is to guard the inner sanctum. Being friendly, helpful and remembering names and details will only help your efforts.

Focus on client problems

Seasoned sales reps have their issues too, and often it has to do with being stuck in a "this is how we've always done it" mindset. So they do the same old tired PowerPoint presentation or use lean too heavily on their brochures and marketing, without having a good idea of what exactly the client needs. Instead, identify the exact value your product or service brings to their most pressing problems, then communicate that clearly to the prospect.

Write a good script (then use it!)

Very few people can just wing it in the moment. Although you may be passionate about your products or services, effectively communicating exactly what it is you offer takes practice. If you know you'll likely only have a few minutes on the phone, a written document helps you focus on your key selling points without getting distracted. Make sure you explain both what you offer and why the prospect should buy it — and only then should you move on to benefits and features. Obviously you don't want to read it word for word, but a list of bullet points is an excellent way to prepare yourself for the conversation. Think about things like how you want to be perceived, what reactions you're looking for and what exactly you want the prospect to do. It might also be helpful to think about what objections the prospect might raise, and how you'll counter them with statistics or case studies.

Practice makes perfect

The more cold calls you make, the better you'll be. Think of it as a numbers game: if you make 100 calls this week, you can expect to talk to 15 people, and of those 15 people you might get 3 who agree to a meeting (and that's likely being generous). Rehearse your script out loud — even better if you role play with a colleague. Researchers have found that standing during calls gives your voice power and energy. Smile. Do whatever you need to do to infuse warmth and confidence in your voice. You might even divide your leads by priority, practicing on the lower ranking prospects before moving on to your top prospects.

Tailor your delivery

Once you've got the core of your message down, don't become too attached to the language. Once you've set the foundation, customize it for each prospect, since every client has unique needs and preferences. Keep your conversation fresh with industry news and innovations. You want to sound knowledgable whenever cold calling. Calling total strangers to persuade them to set up a meeting can be incredibly difficult and intimidating. Use these strategies to help make it easier, and you'll have those cold leads resuscitated in no time.

Cold Calling: Tips

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