• Is Cold Calling Really Just a Numbers Game?

    The other day someone said to me, “When it comes to cold calling, it’s really just a numbers game. By reaching out to 100 people per day, there’s bound to be someone who says yes.” The comment took me by surprise and I thought to myself, “Wow, do people really think that’s all there is to cold calling? Do they really think of it as ‘mindless’ dials that will eventually lead to someone who says yes?”

    While there are certainly metrics that show x amount of dials will lead to x amount of qualified leads, there’s a lot that goes into those success metrics aside from simply dialing the phone all day. We expect that for every 100 dials, one should have about 10 conversations and from those conversations, they should result in a 3-5% lead rate. However, the leads don’t magically appear and there’s a lot of expertise that is necessary to reach these metrics.

    In my opinion there are three key components to a well-oiled cold calling machine aside from simply the number of dials. The crucial elements listed below are key when it comes to prospecting into an organization and reaching the success metrics you are striving for:

    • Determine a Call Plan. In order to be successful in cold calling, you need to establish a call plan. Running through a list of 100 names and never returning to them again is not going to get you the traction you are looking for. There should be a method established for the frequency of touches you make as well as the number of touches. A tip? Call a prospect once and leave a voicemail if they don’t answer, and send an email right after. Use your CRM to set a follow-up task for two days out and send another voicemail and email on that day, and repeat the pattern for about two weeks. Then disposition them to a nurture bucket if you don’t hear back. You have a much stronger chance of hearing back if the prospect sees repetitive behavior coming from you and your organization, so stay in front of them consistently!

    • Train Your Reps. The phrase, “When it comes to cold calling, it’s really just a numbers game,” only applies to reps who might not have the necessary training before hitting the phones. With the correct training program in place to enhance the knowledge and expertise of employees, this phrase is void. Make sure your team is trained on your product or service (they don’t need to be experts on all features and benefits – moreso on the challenges and pain points your solution addresses). More importantly though, make sure they are trained on the basics: how to introduce themselves, how to overcome objections, and how to combat competition. Without appropriate training, it does become a complete numbers game versus a strategic calling process.

    • Create Probing Questions. Without the use of probing questions, I’d say the sales rep that told me he thought cold calling was a numbers game would probably be correct. How many times can you think of an instance when a prospect came out and said, “I’m all set with what I have,” or “We’re all set with our homegrown solution?” An untrained rep that wasn’t armed with probing questions would probably let this prospect hang up and they would miss out on what could have been a great opportunity. Prospects like these are clearly just looking for a way to get out of the phone call as quickly as possible. However, if you arm your rep with probing questions to ask after responses like these, odds are they can really get the prospect talking, and hopefully turn them into a “yes.”

    Cold calling is a lot harder than you think, and it takes a lot of work to uncover opportunities like following a strategic call plan, hours of training, and being armed with the right probing questions to keep prospects from hanging up. It’s not just countless dials in hopes of magically reaching the low hanging fruit that say “yes.” While we at AG Salesworks believe a calling campaign should include both calling cold and warm leads, using outbound and inbound, it’s important to understand the importance of this part of the process. What do you think? Do you believe cold calling is just a numbers game?

    Laney Pilpel is Manager, Client Operations at AG Salesworks.  To view all company blogs go to AG Salesworks blog site.

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