So, you finally managed to build an impressive database of leads to call.

Still, the fear of hangups, rejections and clients seeming uninterested makes you afraid to pick up the phone?

Don’t worry; you’re not alone.

Sales calls seem intimidating to many salespeople, especially when they’re not warm. It leads them to search for much-needed tricks to step up their game.

Look no further because we here at NetHunt have compiled a list of handy sales tips for cold calling that will help you start closing deals!

What are the different types of sales calls?

Before you start revving that sales engine and picking up that phone, it's essential to know all the types of sales calls you will be regularly making. You should collect all the necessary information you have about a prospect, depending on the type of call you want to make.

A sales call is a conversation held between a salesperson and a prospect to form a business relationship between the two parties.

There are four main types of sales calls that can be identified…

Cold Call

A cold call is placed without any previous arrangements or introductions.

Cold calling is an excellent way to find and reach prospects that otherwise might not have found out about your company. These people can significantly broaden your customer base. The primary point of this call is to understand your prospective client’s needs better and develop an understanding of who the decision maker is.

Another benefit of cold calling is that it lets you collect information that otherwise might not have been available to you if you chose to contact them via email.

However, suppose a cold call isn’t prepared with due diligence.

In this case, it has a high probability of appearing intrusive or annoying to a prospect. They might dismiss your offer… even if it is valuable.

Sufficient preparation is necessary.

➡️ Check out our guide to cold calling to understand how cold calls work with tips and tricks!

Warm Call

A warm call is a call made after a previous introduction or by referral from an existing customer.

For example, you might want to call someone who has signed up to your newsletter, visited your webinar, or submitted a Contact us form on your website and talk to them about trying the product.

Prospects you reach out to via a warm call have a much higher chance of conversion than those contacted via a cold call.

While planning for a warm call, you should have some information about your prospect readily available. This opens up the space to do more groundwork and pre-call research on your customer's needs and desires. If not, and if a sales representative isn’t serious enough about a warm call, it can seem “robotic” or uninformative to the prospect.

All this leads to a missed opportunity.

Sales appointment

Generally, this is a call made through a previous appointment. It’s where a salesperson and a decision-maker discuss the formalities of the sales process, such as the prospect's requirements etc.

Follow-up Call

A follow-up call is a call that is usually made after some sort of progress has been made. This could be after the trial period has expired or once the prospect has had time to think about your offer.

A follow-up call should track a clients’ progress after implementing your products or services, establishing a potential for repeat, further business.

Of course, we’d only want to work with warm calls and clients who have already reached out and shown interest in doing business. Unfortunately, that’s a privilege reserved only for a chosen few. The rest of us are stuck making hundreds if not thousands of cold calls.

But don’t worry.

Cold calls aren't as scary as they seem. With enough planning and tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be ready to heat up the hotline in no time.

Why is sales call planning essential?

If you want to start winning calls, the most important thing a salesperson has to do is make prospects realise the value that services or products provide to their work.

A salesperson should be a motivating force, showing actionable steps toward leads doing business with them. To achieve this, they must have the following…

  • An arsenal of information about prospects' companies and lines of work at the ready.
  • A developed understanding of customer expectations, alongside a mental map of the common ground needed to reach the prospect and progress the sales funnel.
  • The ability to identify and facilitate connections between you, as a sales professional, and your client. You can build rapport and come to a mutual understanding in terms of the client's line of work and the services you can provide for them.

9 cold call planning tips for high conversion

To make your sales life significantly easier, we've put together a list of the best cold call planning tips that will help you win the hearts and minds of your leads (and convert them into customers, of course!)

Establish the goal of the call

Obviously, the final goal of the call is to sell your services or products to a prospective client. Actually, it’s not quite that simple.

With some prospects, it's impossible to close the deal on your first call due to bureaucracy, financial constraints, chain of command restrictions, and other reasons that may arise based on your business model and your industry.

This is why you need to clearly understand what you want to achieve through every call.

In the case of a cold call, some goals that could be settled could be to…

  • Successfully introduce yourself and leave a memorable impression
  • Generate interest by focusing attention on pain points
  • Make commitments for the next step of the process

Get to know the competitors

To be confident and offer your potential client the best possible solutions to their problems, you first need to know your product inside and out.

Take the time to study your company's strengths and weaknesses and how they might affect your prospect's company.

This is done for you to be able to highlight facts about your services relevant to your prospects' line of work. As a salesperson, it’s your job to leave as little as possible for prospects to figure out by themselves.

Present them with the most relevant information possible.

It’s also highly beneficial to know your prospect-competitor's strengths and weaknesses. This helps to convey how your product lets prospects stand out compared to their competition and gain a better position on the market.

Some things you can do to study the competition are…

  • Determine which services or products the competitors offer and compare them amongst themselves
  • Perform a SWOT analysis on the competition
  • Analyse how the competitors market their products

Research your customers within the prospect's industry

Make sure you’re ready to present your prospect with relevant use cases. Show them real examples of how others within their industry have benefitted from becoming your customer.

After all, nothing speaks louder than results.

Help your potential customer see actual results that companies have managed to reach with your product. This might just provide the motivation needed for them to take the next steps towards giving your company a try. It serves as social proof, showing your prospect that you can relate to their challenges.

The numbers prove it.

Determine roles for every individual attending the meeting

In the sales process, everyone has a role to play. Knowing who does what gives you a massive advantage in communicating the need to become your client to the prospect.

The person you need to convince to give you a chance might not always be the most senior ranking member of the call.

You should plan for who in the meeting you need to reach a state of mutual understanding to get the people higher up the chain truly interested in collaboration.

A CTO might not be interested in hearing how a new webpage will bring more customers and engagement to their company. But, if a marketing manager is present in the meeting, this could be the point that convinces them.

Screen prospects’ LinkedIn profiles

It’s not unusual for prospects to have posted some challenges they’re experiencing at work, recent milestones that their company has achieved, or other information about the structure of their business.

An excellent place to look for information is the recent activity on their LinkedIn profile. Here, we can see whether the lead has shared anything of interest recently, such as promotions. This can help orient yourself within the potential customer work environment and figure out which pain points you might be able to target during the call.

This whole process can be simplified by using a CRM integrated with LinkedIn.

CRM for LinkedIn collates helpful information about your prospect, entering it directly into a customer record in CRM.

For example, with NetHunt CRM, which natively integrates with LinkedIn, you can add a prospect's profile to the CRM in one click. All available information will automatically be added to the customer record - First Name, Last Name, email address, photo, job title, info from their “About” section, and the rest.

Here’s what is worth checking on the prospect’s profile…

  • The “About” section, where you can see passions and life experiences
  • The “Featured Posts” section, where you can see significant news about their career progress and get introduced to some challenges they face
  • The “Activity” section where you can see what they were looking at and interested in.
  • The “Experience” section, where you can find your prospect's career achievements and responsibilities at their respective company

NetHunt’s Hot Tip

Keep an eye on where they have commented in order to see whether they have shared their challenges or discussed their interest in a certain topic or product.

Set the agenda for the call

The sales process is a journey, and who goes on a trip without a roadmap?

You need to be sure that you can take your client through the sales journey seamlessly, starting with an introduction and finishing with a closed deal and customer onboarding.

You should have a view of the general path that you will be taking a prospect on. This step usually involves deciding when to ask certain questions, when to point out certain issues, how to tie problem X to solution Y, and how to build rapport within the prospect's industry.

➡️ Read our article about sales strategies to get some inspiration for creating the structure of your next call.

Prepare for the discovery part of the conversation

The discovery part of the conversation is the backbone of any successful sales deal.

It is the part of the call where you and your prospect discover information about each other’s products and services, before working to establish common ground to push off from and further develop your business relationship.

Just as a well-executed discovery conversation can save a sale, a poorly executed one could throw the value and lead to you missing out on potential business.

Be sure to put in extra work in conducting your discovery call to ensure that you and your prospect hit it off the right way.

Anticipate objections

Objections are a crucial part of the sales process.

Not only do they test your professionalism as a salesperson, but also turn a prospect's worries into motivation… depending on how the conversation goes.

A good thing to do to anticipate your prospects' objections, is to put yourself in their shoes.

Think about what worries or questions would arise in your head if you heard your sales pitch. Try to prepare counters for them in a way that would make them see the actual value of your proposition.

Find clients from the same industry in your CRM and read the comments that you or your colleagues have left. This prepares you for what concerns or questions those clients had when purchasing your product, and how they were resolved in the past.

This is sure to make you sound well-prepared and confident on the phone.

Define the following steps

As a salesperson, you need to be confident in what you are selling and appear so to your prospective customers.

It’s crucial to define the steps to proceed further with your prospect and know when to end each stage of the call. Have a plan in mind for where to move to once a part of the call has been completed.

For example, figure out how to move on from objections to closing or how to get from discovery into your pitch. This will also help you end the call and build plans for a further call, depending on how the call concludes.

Finishing the call the correct way is as important as making the right impression in the beginning of the call.

You should be engaging with your prospect at the start, and you need to confidently and clearly  lead your prospects towards the next step after the end of your conversation.

This is why you need to clearly understand where you want the client to proceed after the call concludes.

With your newly acquired knowledge on planning for your next cold call like a true pro, all that's left for you to do is implement it and start reaping the benefits.

Time to go out there and start closing! And tell ‘em NetHunt sent you!

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