Are Successful Cold Calls Still Possible in the Digital Age?

As long as you have a thick skin and can form a relationship with a listener, you can still cold-call with success.

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By Danny Wong

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Now that everyone has caller ID and most people are weary of telemarketers, the question arises whether cold-calling is still viable in today's world.

Related: How I Made $24,000 in 4 Weeks of Cold Calling

As a result, companies are instead focusing on buying and maintaining email lists, and often sending out constant messages about a variety of news and offers. However, don't diss cold-calling so fast, because it gives you the opportunity to establish a personal connection in the digital age, which is something many of us so desperately need in today's faceless world. Here's what you need to remember about cold-calling so you have an easier time when you pick up the phone.

You need thick skin.

We're talking elephant-thick here, in order to muddle through the amount of voicemails, annoyed secretaries and busy executives who all seem to want you to go away. That's the nature of cold-calling, but even the best salespeople still get their feelings a little ruffled. The main problem of unsuccessful cold callers is that they give up far too easily and quickly.

Confidence can be a killer.

If you go into a call with the mindset that no one will want this product, that alone may bury the conviction in your sales pitch. And, if you go into a call thinking that everyone will want it, that can be just as harmful.

The latter happens when salespeople repeat the same things to every potential customer and continue to loudly extol why they've come up with an answer to a prospect's prayers even when that customer seems underwhelmed about the product's usefulness. Too much confidence can make listeners feel annoyed that the salesperson assumes he or she understands their problems without any context at all.

Your script is all wrong.

We all have a script in everything we do, whether we admit it or not. When we meet a new person or head to the grocery store, we have a set frame of conversation. Some cold-callers swear by scripts, but we fail to remember what we could gain from deviating from the standard sales script just a little. If you're working with words that don't sound like your own, listeners will be desperate to get off the phone.

You're fighting technology.

The people you call are used to working with a computer on a regular basis, so it's easy for them to ask you to send information via email. They're more comfortable turning to a machine in order to skip making a contact. This can be good because it creates an opportunity for you, the salesperson, to show listeners that you are a contact worth making and that by listening, they can achieve a better bottom line.

Related: 7 Tips for Cold-Calling Success

Your objective is lost.

Real selling isn't just about talking up a product, it's about forming a relationship with those on the other end of the line and then using that bond to introduce a way to actually help them. How can that objective not be confused when there are numbers to hit and bills to pay?

This is really the main reason that cold-callers get a bad reputation. One thing a company can really benefit from is by letting its sales staff contribute to the business's overall strategy, a move that can lead to a 15 percent increase in revenue.

Your contacts are confused.

We're all confused about sales. On one hand, we know that there are some products that absolutely can benefit us. On the other, we've all made purchases we later regretted. The customer's first instinct may be to get off the phone so as not to be tempted. This is not easy to deal with, but once you know where your client is coming from, you are more likely to tailor your conversation in a way that keeps this person engaged and hooked.

The list is wrong.

If a company gathers a wide variety of people to sell them all the same product, it's setting itself up for failure. When the cold-caller knows little about whom he or she is calling, getting the words right (especially considering any time restraints) can be difficult.

However, if your prospect list targets a limited range of contacts, the caller will know something specific about whom he or she is speaking with, thus making it easier to establish rapport and authority. On average, it takes 8.4 calls to reach someone, so making your list shorter can be extremely advantageous.

Related: The Rise of Inbound Marketing and the Death of the Cold Call

Cold-calling can be learned.

Some people are just great speakers and are electric enough that audiences want to stay on the phone. However, finding the perfect candidates to fill all of your sales roles can be difficult. Fortunately, charisma can be taught. With a dedicated team and the right resources, it is possible to teach effective sales skills so long as employees are willing to learn them.

Danny Wong

Entrepreneur, marketer and writer.

Danny Wong is an entrepreneur, marketer and writer. He is the co-founder of Blank Label, an award-winning luxury menswear company, and leads marketing for Receiptful, a platform to supercharge all customer interactions for eCommerce stores, and Tenfold, a seamless click-to-dial solution for high-performance sales teams. 

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