Struggling to get clients and now resent picking up that phone? Don’t worry, I’ve been there too. Luckily for you that can all change with the right strategy & mindset, that’s why in this post I’m going to show you ten simple things you can implement today to convert cold calls into sales.
The initial step to improving your sales technique is to first acknowledge that it can be improved, hopefully by clicking on this post you’ve already recognised that. Understand that sales isn’t about you, it’s about your product (or service) and how it can help your prospective client. As ever in business, the basics boil down to the problems that your client is facing, and how you can provide the answer to those problems.
With that being said, there’s going to be occasions where you realise that you can’t help that client that you wanted to work with, or they’re just not the right fit for you, in that instance it’s likely that you’ll have to walk away – which is fine! A lot of new business can be acquired from the referrals of existing customers, so make sure that you’re working with the right ones.
Let’s dive into this list shall we?
#1 – Warm them up
The scariest thing when trying to convert cold calls into sales is that you feel like you’re interrupting the other person, which to be fair you are, and that’s why it’s often beneficial (but not always necessary) to warm up your leads before contacting them directly.
Clients can sit at various points on the heat scale, with cold being that they have no idea who you are, and hot meaning that they’ve called you. In order to get more of the latter, you’ll need to implement successful marketing strategies to funnel your potential clients into booking a consultation with you.
The more that the client feels like they trust you, the easier it becomes to convert the sale. You can reassure your potential client indirectly, by consistently putting yourself out there on your blog & social media. Build up a positive pre-conception of who you are – in the mind of the buyer. If you need help putting together a marketing strategy & acquiring more clients, feel free to contact me here for a free consultation.
At the same time, your marketing strategy should work to filter out people that are going to waste your time. A lot of time can be saved by qualifying your leads to ensure that they’re the right fit for you, hence why I’ve included things like “what is your budget for this project?” on my contact forms. Little things like that can save a lot of time, which is essential as sales is often a numbers game.
#2 – Believe in the product
Confidence is key in sales, and that comes from understanding the product and how it can help the client. If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, then how can you expect the client to?
What are you offering? can you explain it within a sentence? Does it sound convincing? These are all things that you need to be 100% sure about before you pick up that phone, because if you go-into the call half-hearted then you’re going to start making stuff up on the spot, which can be very difficult to pull off.
Remember that there’s going to be hundreds if not thousands of people trying to sell the same products or services, so you need to ensure that you’re doing whatever it takes to be better than all of your competitors. Put in the research & time, the clients will appreciate it.
#3 – Focus on helping, not money
This doesn’t mean to freely answer every question under the sun, after all you do have bills to pay. Instead it means that you should have the mindset that you’re selling this product (or service) because you truly believe that it can help the client to achieve positive results.
When you start thinking “oh shit I need to pay the bills” you begin to take on clients that just aren’t the right fit for you, and in turn you end up failing them. Bad service can ruin a business, especially as it’s a quick way to cause burned bridges & burnout in general.
Not only does focusing on money lead you to take on the wrong clients, it also makes you sound desperate, especially on a sales call. You need to relax and focus on helping people, you’ll feel much better for it!
#4 – Speak with the decision maker
I’ve seen too many episodes of the Apprentice whereby the candidates would talk the socks off the person behind the counter, only to then be shut-down at the close when they realise that they’re talking to the janitor. Sales is a numbers game, ensure that you’re saving your time by going straight to the person who’s got the authority to make a deal with you.
There are going to be times where you’re greeted by a receptionist on the phone, which can often be unsettling for newbies, but don’t worry. This is where you’ve got to put your acting skills to work, in which you confidently say “Hey it’s Mike, is John there?” or something similar.
Notice how I didn’t give this whole spiel about how I work for X company and do Y thing? That’s because it just reeks of sales. Instead I came across as if I knew John, and that we’re on first name basis. Why would the receptionist stop a friend from calling through? Right?
#5 – Follow a script
You need a script. That’s not me saying that you can’t do it without one, but i’m telling you it’s stupid if you don’t. If you’ve watched The Wolf of Wall Street you’ll notice that even Jordan Belfort was creating & using sales scripts. Why? Because they work.
Not only do sales scripts help you to guide a call towards a certain direction, they also become highly useful when trying to scale your results. You see, it’s near impossible trying to scale results when you’ve not got a tangible process to dissect.
By trialling a script over 10, 20 or even 100 calls, you can quickly understand what works and what doesn’t, giving you the opportunity to improve the script and convert more cold calls into sales. With a physical script to follow, it becomes easier to outsource sales-work to others, as they just have to follow what it says on the script – as opposed to winging it.
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#6 – Be direct
Do you know what the purpose of the cold call is? Well it should be to schedule a second conversation, either in person or on the phone, when they’ve got more time to speak in detail. With that being said, it’s a wise decision to ‘pre-frame’ the conversation at the beginning of the call to force a Yes or No answer when you come to close.
What do I mean by pre-frame? I’m talking about setting the tone for the end of the call – at the very beginning. You can do this by saying something along the lines of…
The end of the call will either go one of two ways, either you can say “Yes” and we agree on how to move forward, or you can say “No” which is completely fine also. However I can’t accept a “Maybe” or “We’ll think about it” as that just usually means “No” – does that sound fair?
(Un)surprisingly they tend to agree to those terms, and it subconsciously tells them at the end of the call that they can not give you a lukewarm answer, they are forced into the binary Yes or No, which you’ve already said is fine either way.
The reason for doing this is to save you waiting around for a response that you’re never going to get, as 9 times out of 10 a “we’ll think about it” usually translates to a “no”, so take it off the table completely.
Dan Lok has a great video covering this very point, you can watch it here.
#7 – Keep it short
Following on from the previous point of being direct, one thing you’ll have to learn in order to become a successful salesman (or saleswoman), is to manage the time that you spend on calls. Not only that, but your prospect is likely to be a very busy person (as you should be too) – so just agree not waste each others time.
That’s why it’s a good idea to be up-front with your prospect about it being a short call. “Can I have 30 seconds of your time?” can be the difference between them hanging up right away or at least considering what you have to say. If you then get them hooked after 30 seconds, you can always ask for more time – if they agree to the ‘extension’ then it shows some signs of their interest level.
So for the sake of saving time, cut out all of the bullshit like “My name is Mike from mikewalterz.com, I’m a marketing consultant and I do XYZ…”. Save it, nobody cares. Like I said, these are busy people that you’re dealing with so avoid droning on about yourself, instead…
#8 – Talk results, not services
We touched on this earlier on in this post, on how it’s not about you. Clients could care less about how things work or what services you offer, they just want to know what sort of results you can get for them.
I mean think about it, does a personal trainer pitch you on how they’re going to “stand next to you, hand you the weights, work out your macros” etc etc? No. Good personal trainers sell you on the results.
For instance, if you told me i’d drop three jean sizes, feel healthier & have more success with the ladies, I’d be much more inclined to hire that trainer.
#9 – Ask the right questions
Seems odd that I have to include this on the list, but I will. When you’re trying to convert cold calls into sales, you’ll want to ensure that you’re asking the right questions that will best help you understand your client & their business.
Ideally you need to learn what their pain-points are and how it makes them feel, from there you can put yourself in a position to decide whether or not your product is going to be helpful to the client.
The reasons why you do this is because you’re not just trying to ‘win’ the client, instead you’re looking to establish a long-term client, and to do so you need to get as much useful information as you can. What are they struggling with? What have they tried thus far? What do they aim to achieve?
Questions like “how much is a client worth to you” can also help you figure out your pricing for such a product, as you can pitch it in a way that that they can relate to.
#10 – Pick up the phone
If you haven’t figured it out by now, in order to complete steps two to eight, you’ll have to pick up the phone. I know it can be a daunting prospect to ring a stranger and interrupt their day, but at the end of the day you’re only calling because you believe you can help them.
After a while you’ll shake off your nerves and actually start to enjoy the process, especially once you start implementing the points above. Just know that sales is a numbers game. There’s going to be people that tell you “No”, and that’s fine. You’ve got to understand that they’re not rejecting you (as a person), they’re rejecting the product – so don’t take it personally.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” – Zig Ziglar
Improving your sales technique comes with preparation and experience, it’s going to be daunting for everyone when they first start out but you do get used to it. You can vastly improve your sales calls by preparing a sales script, being more direct & focusing on results rather than yourself.
Do you find it easy to convert cold calls into sales? Let me know in the comments below!