You've got your list of prospects and now it's time for the work most sales people dread - cold calling. Interrupting a stranger in the middle of their day to convince them that you and your company are that special something they've been longing for all these years. Sounds about as productive and exciting as helping your grandma set up a facebook page, right? Here's where the story gets unbelievable - follow these sales prospecting tips and not only can it be successful, it can actually be fun - for you and the person on the other end of that line.
1. Be Consistently Persistent
45% of leads will buy from someone in 12 months. Most sales people make the mistake of a calling a prospect once or twice and moving on. Assumptions and distractions are the main culprits behind this decision. Stopping attempts after a few tries because you assume no call back = no interest, or that they might find you annoying, is essentially doing their job for them. If they aren't interested, let them be the one to tell you.
I often leave 10-12 voice mails before I catch someone or they call me back. This does not mean they hate me and I'm driving them insane. Most people are apologetic for not getting back to me sooner and it's usually a matter of bad timing....there's interest, but they weren't ready to talk yet. Had I stopped trying after my third voice mail, the amount of qualified leads I'd lose would likely lead to me losing my job.
2. Use Humor
Prospects often listen to dozens of unsolicited sales voice mails every week. One of the best ways to stick out is to make them laugh. Simply stating what you do and asking for a call back is boring and will easily get lost in the shuffle. Making a lengthy sales pitch over voice mail will likely result in them hitting the delete button half way through your message. But getting them to laugh? This has gotten me more call backs then any other method.
I've had multiple people tell me they've saved my voice mails to play for others. I'm not saying this to boast - the key point is they called me back to tell me this. You don't need to channel Jimmy Kimmel and launch into a standup diatribe, but a well placed limerick can be cold calling gold.
3. Be Honest and Straightforward
Being honest and direct isn't exactly a unique and rarely used sales tactic. Yet after talking to hundreds of gatekeepers, many act as if I'd just done something extraordinary. They seem shocked when my answer to "what's the reason for your call" is simply, "I'm calling regarding xyz and it's a sales call." Rarely do I get a flat out refusal from an admin to put me through to someone. A lot of times they're my best resource for getting me in contact with the correct person, simply because I'm direct, polite, and ask for help.
I've heard stories of people outright lying about who they are or what they do in order to get someone on a call. Granted, sometimes getting the right person on the phone is about as easy as getting a direct line to the Dalai Lama. Being persistent and memorable usually breaks down that barrier - and it's a hell of a lot better for your karma.