Cold calling can be a very draining experience for salespeople. The process of going through a long list of hopefuls or “maybes” takes forever, even if you narrow down your prospects beforehand. Though the stereotype of a salesperson looks something like a well-dressed professional slamming down a phone, more often than not, salespeople are on the receiving end of the dial tone.
The worst part? Only 2% of cold calls lead to an appointment. For most experienced salespeople, that means 7.5 hours of cold calling to get one qualified appointment--not even a sale.
Thanks to social media and the internet, salespeople have a better, more effective alternative to the cold call. Warm calling involves using another network or form of communication, like LinkedIn or email, to introduce yourself to your lead before you make a call. Warm calling gives you the ability to warm the prospect up, research their needs and tailor your pitch. Nurturing leads not only prepares you better for the conversion process, it also results in more successful sales.
Know Your Lead Before The Call
But how exactly do you make a warm call? The secret to any good warm call is research, research, research. After finding your lead’s email address or LinkedIn page, don’t send them a message just yet! Thoroughly check out their profile, website or blog to understand who your lead really is. Learn about their industry, business and niche. How old is their business, or how long have they been at their job? What are their business and personal needs? Does their business or everyday life have any obvious hurdles that your product or service can help them navigate? How does your lead present themselves online? Do they seem open to humor, or are they more formal? What can you offer them? The more research you do, the more impressed your lead will be. Prove to your prospects that you are trying to help them find the best solution to their problems.
Research is also a great way to see if you have any other “ins” at a company or with a specific lead. If you have any LinkedIn connections in common with your lead, have your mutual connection introduce you before you call. Better yet, see if they can refer your business!
Craft a carefully-worded message to intrigue your lead.
Think of your first message to your lead as an elevator pitch: let them know what you can offer them, and why they should want to follow up with you. If you send them an email, make sure to keep your subject line brief and to the point, and don’t make the body of the message any longer than a paragraph or two. Link to any related web pages and your LinkedIn page for credibility. Check out this article for more email-writing tips and tricks. If you message them via LinkedIn, you have the added benefit of already being on a business-related platform, but your message will have to be even shorter. Simply let your lead know that you offer a product or service that they might be interested in, and you’ll be calling them later in the week to explain more.
Make a plan for the call itself.
Decide if you want to call the prospect, have them call you or if you’d prefer to leave a voicemail message outside of office hours. Always have a voicemail message script available in case no one answers the phone and a script for the opening of the call in case someone does. Have a plan for working around a lead’s assistant or receptionist. Be friendly and clearly state your reason for calling--you want to make them feel like it would be a mistake not to pass you onto their boss.
Warm calls also lend themselves to a friendlier tone. Your lead already has an idea of who you are and expects your call, so make sure to talk to them in a more casual, conversational tone than you would a formal presentation. Avoid sounding controlling and pressuring the lead to stay on the phone. As always, listen attentively, ask questions, help your lead identify problems and explain how your business will be able to help.