Sales still involves cold calling, there’s no getting around it. But with all of the resources available today it no longer makes sense to go into a sales call blind. Cold calling tips are abundant, but it’s important to prioritize those that are most likely to turn prospects into lasting contacts.
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You can use research tools, social media, CRMs and more to make a lasting impression on that first call. A lasting impression can lead to a longer, more successful relationship.
Sales are about relationships more than ever. “The ‘hard sell’ approach doesn’t always work,” writes the Forbes Business Development Council. “Instead, you can craft a pitch that tells a story with your potential customer at the heart of it. You can engage that person and make your product or service the obvious solution to their needs.”
Knowing your prospect and their company ahead of the call is critical to making that unique pitch sound more like a story and less like a pitch.
These are four the things you should know before you pick up the phone.
Cold Calling Tip #1:
Make a Point of Getting to Know Their Personal Trajectory
With ad sales, you’re pitching an ad sales package but you’re talking to a person. Knowing their title or position within the company isn’t enough — you should do your best to get to know their story.
Make it personal from the outset. When relevant, use LinkedIn to see where they’ve come from and what they are passionate about. Use Twitter to look at what they engage with most. And use the company website to become familiar with their position within the company.
Resist the urge to turn these tidbits into talking points. Instead, simply use your newfound knowledge as a foundation for where to steer the conversation.
The one exception here is if you find something you have in common. You both know the same person working at Amazon, for example, or you both enjoy Twitter feeds filled with GIFs and pop references. People love to be seen and feel understood.
Cold Calling Tip #2:
Spend the Time to Research Their Company Efforts
Networking begins with a personal connection, but the personal touch usually isn’t enough to close a deal. It’s a business relationship, after all, and you’ll have to speak to how your inventory will meet their needs.
Use the research tools you have at your fingertips to identify how their company is spending ad dollars, where they are spending it and to what effect.
Choose an ad sales intelligence tool that can give you the most relevant, important and accurate information regarding your prospect’s ad sales. With this tool, take time to look at peak spending months, compare programmatic to direct buys, and know their overall spend and major product categories by heart. Knowing this will give your cold call a personal touch that is relevant to their business, which is exactly what you want to aim for with prospects.
Cold Calling Tip #3:
Identify a Specific Problem They May Have
Just a little bit of research can go a long way. By combining ad sales intelligence, company history, past campaigns and some basic information about their industry position, you should be able to put together some educated guesses about what issues they are facing.
Maybe they need a more effective ad spend or they’re dealing with budget constraints. Maybe they’d like to break into TV advertising or launch their first multichannel campaign. Think through how your offerings can help them address these challenges, even in part.
Putting in the work shows — and you don’t even have to be 100% on the nose all the time. “
Prospects respect the advance work you do, and so long as what you’re doing is solid, they’re happy to share how their situation is different,” writes Doug Davidoff at The Demand Creator Blog.
This approach will make the call less about selling ad inventory and more about solving the brand’s most pressing marketing challenges.
Cold Calling Tip #4:
Have a Tailored Value Proposition Ready
It’s useful to know ad spend and past campaigns off the top of your head, but less helpful if you can’t tie all of these things together into a unique value proposition.
You want your pitch to sound like a story, after all. And the story isn’t about you, it’s about them.
“Sales forces can get too focused on what they are doing,” concludes Jason Jordan in that Forbes Business Development Council post from above. “Unfortunately, these activities ignore the most important determinant of sales success — the customer. Obsess over the buyer’s needs and processes instead, then measure their success.”
Don’t make the mistake of trying to sell the value of your inventory. Instead, speak to how your position boosts their long term vision.