How to Make Prospects Feel Comfortable During a Cold Call
Even some of the best and most skilled salespeople dread making cold calls. Unfortunately, everyone has to reach out to someone they don’t know yet in order to make contact for the first time — it’s the very definition of cold calling. Since we all have to do it, we have a great incentive for getting better.
The most adept salespeople practice as much as possible and eventually improve their comfort level with the phone. They feel more confident initiating calls and know how to get better at engaging their prospects in natural conversation. However, that doesn’t mean the prospect feels as comfortable on the call as the salesperson does.
Do you often find that your prospects react in an unpleasant way when you catch them off guard with a call? Put yourself in their shoes: they don’t know you, and they don’t know what you want from them. You may need to focus your attention on making those people feel more comfortable and at ease so they’re not scrambling to get off the phone with you immediately. In this article, we’ll share some important tips for setting the tone of the conversation.
Prepare for your cold call by researching your prospect
One of the most effective ways to make a person feel comfortable quickly is to connect on a personal level by sharing a common interest. Before your call, take the time to research the person and see if you can find some interesting information about him or her.
Where did the person grow up? Where did he or she attend college? By reviewing the information, you may find a common interest or even a contact in common.
Check out their LinkedIn profile. There are nearly 700 million people using LinkedIn, so there’s a good chance your prospect at least has a profile. Sure, LinkedIn is great for researching job candidates, but it’s just as useful for learning more about a sales lead.
A LinkedIn profile is often bursting with conversation starters: Do they have any surprising or interesting jobs on their resume? Do they have an unusual skill? What kind of posts do they share most often? Do they “like” posts about sports, or professional development, or just funny memes? Any one of these answers could springboard a cold call into a friendly, memorable conversation.
With LinkedIn, just remember that the prospect can see that you looked at their profile. Not a big deal, but just be honest with the prospect if they ask you where you saw your “fun fact” about them.
Give them a quick google. Not every prospect will show up on a Google search, of course, but it’s worth a shot. Prospects with more generic or popular names may be downright impossible to search unless you know key phrases that might narrow the search down: their name combined with a business they worked at, for instance. Assuming you have more information on them.
When you finally jump on the call, try to immediately share that information with the prospect to set their mind at ease. Obviously, don’t just blurt it out — state your name and your reason for calling first — but a quick transition into, “Hey, I heard you’re into surfing?” might disarm them enough to start a real conversation.
Email your sales lead before the cold call
To make the call less “cold,” you can email your prospects first before reaching out to them by phone.
This allows you to introduce yourself in a low-pressure situation because the person can open your email at their convenience and then take the time to learn more about you before getting on a call. Maybe you’ll find them scouting out your LinkedIn profile, which is a great way for you to gauge their potential interest.
You’ll then have an easier time on the phone because you won’t need to completely explain yourself and your business offering.
Introduce yourself, and explain why you want to put a call together and what you have to offer. Try to hit on a pain point without being salesy. If you can incorporate any research you’ve done on the potential lead, as we discussed in the last section, you can really create a personal link before you’ve even picked up the phone.
And emailing your sales leads is just a good idea in general, especially when paired with an app or service that helps you organize, notate, and “actionize” your emails. This kind of attention to detail with leads will help build your CRM to reengage with lost or stalled prospects in the future.
Don’t be in a hurry to pitch your product or service
You may want to get to the point immediately since you know the prospect will likely want to get off the phone as quickly as possible. However, by moving too quickly, you risk sabotaging the entire connection. The prospect will feel even more pressure to make some kind of decision because you’re introducing your offer so aggressively.
Instead, spend the first few minutes of the conversation focused on listening to the prospect’s pain points so you can address them more specifically.
Have you tried any of these tactics? Did you find they made your prospect feel more comfortable?