If you’re making cold calls, there are some simple things you can do before placing those calls that will make them much more effective. The best salespeople take the time to research their prospects before they reach out even once. That way, when they get on the phone with a prospect, they’ve already got a personalized sales pitch tailored to that specific customer.
This article gives you some tips on researching prospects and using that information to create personalized cold call pitches and tailored sales pitches.
Identify Your Target Customer
Before you make any cold calls, you need to have a good idea of who you want to be talking to. In the sales world, we call this your target customer. Your target customer is the person who is most likely to buy from you. It’s important because too often salespeople will go after the wrong potential customers and try to sell them something that they just don’t need or want. You run the very real risk of wasting your time and even driving potential clients away from doing business with you.
To find your perfect target customer, follow these steps:
Step 1 – Who is your ideal customer?
The first step is to clearly define who your ideal customer is. It’s very essential that this is done in as much detail as possible so that you can be sure that when you do start making calls to potential customers, you are calling the right people.
Step 2 – What do they buy, and why?
Once you know exactly who your target audience is, then it’s time to do some research on what they buy and why they buy it. Get inside their head and find out exactly what their needs are and how you can use this information to sell them what they need, not what they think they want.
Step 3 - Create their profile
The third thing you need to do is create a profile of your perfect prospect. This should include details such as:
- What are their interests?
- What are their problems?
- What is their pain point?
- How much money do they have to spend now on your product or service?
- How old are they?
- Are they male or female?
Once you’ve developed this profile, come up with a list of people who fit most of the criteria. Remember, you’re looking for the perfect prospect, so don’t settle for less. This list will be used during your cold calls to help you ensure that the person on the other end of the phone line is a good match for your business.
Research the company, their product, and their competition
Cold calling is one of the most effective—and frustrating—sales tactics you can use. It’s effective because you’re literally reaching out to someone with a specific need on the other end of the line. And it’s frustrating because so many people fail at it.
So why do so many salespeople struggle to make cold calls? The answer is that they don’t know their audience and they don’t know how to connect with them. Cold calling has become such a lost art that many salespeople simply pick up the phone and say, “Hi, is Janet there?” That’s not a pitch, it’s a question (a terrible one).
If you want to improve your success rate, then you need solid information about your prospect. After you’ve identified your ideal customers and you’ve profiled them. You need to research who they are, their competitors, their products and what they care about. One of the best ways to do that is by reading their blog or social media feeds. That way, when you call them, you’ll be able to speak in their language AND relate to something they’ve already posted publicly.
Make a list of what they care about most
One of the important steps in creating a successful cold call is to make a list of what the prospect cares about most. This means taking the time to really understand why they are using your service/product, what their challenges are and what they hope to achieve as a result. Once you understand these things, you can help frame the conversation in such a way that they begin to see how you can solve their problems.
While it’s important for you to understand the problems your prospects are having with their current products or services, it’s just as important for you to identify the problems that only your product or service can solve for them.
Organize the information you found into a pitch
Organize the information you have about a prospect into a logical order. Presenting too much information at once can be overwhelming. A few facts about their business plus one or two questions about their challenges give you a structure for your pitch.
Your sales call is in progress, and you’re making good progress towards your intended goal.
After all the research you’ve done, you should have a very clear idea of what they are looking for. You can tailor your pitch to incorporate these details.
The best way to do this is to use questions as a framework for your conversation. Start off with the basics: who, what, why and how?
“Who” are they? What services or products do they offer? “Why” do they exist? Why should you purchase from them? “How” can they help you? How will you benefit from their business or product?
Once you know the answers to these questions, and more importantly why it matters to them, you can tailor your pitch to suit.
Also, anticipate objections to your offer and plan how you will respond. Aim for objections that are common but not deal killers – price, timing and so on. This takes some guesswork, but practice will make it easier.
Solve the problem from your prospect’s point of view, not yours!
“Hi, my name is John Doe and I’m calling on behalf of our company. We manufacture widgets, and I’d like to learn more about your business.”
The above statement is a typical sales pitch. Unfortunately, it’s also very ineffective. Most of the time it will get you nowhere. Why? Because the prospect doesn’t really care about what you have to say; he cares about how you can help him solve his problem. So instead of focusing on how great your product is, focus on how it will help solve your prospect’s problem or answer his question.
So let’s look at that same opening statement again:
“Hi, my name is John Doe and I’m calling on behalf of our company. I would like to learn more about the problems you are having with widgets so we can determine if there is a fit for our products.”
Now we’re getting somewhere! The only difference between these two statements is the focus – mine is on solving your problems/questions and yours is on what my company has to offer. You see how much better this latter statement reads? It shows a genuine interest in helping you solve your problems rather than just trying to sell you something.
When you can get past their defenses because you’re solving their problems with products and services that actually fit their needs, you will be able to build rapport quickly and have a much better chance at closing the deal.
Create a sales pitch that is more specific than “My product is better than your competing product”
It’s not enough to know that you’re selling widgets, or that your prospects are buying something else. You need to understand the real reasons why people buy from you, and what will motivate them to give their business to you instead of your competitors.
If you’re really well-versed in your product or service, this is easy. You should be able to articulate the key benefits and features, and even throw in some facts and figures without any preparation. But for many sellers, this is hard. It takes time and effort to really get familiar with what you sell and how it’s different from the competition.
Predicting how prospects might respond is harder still. It’s tempting to think that all prospects are motivated by price, but while cost matters, there are other factors at play as well (like product quality, delivery timing, ease of use).
This is excellent advice, as it’s crucial to research your prospective clients before reaching out to them. This will help you understand their needs and desires, and it will give you information that you can use to tailor your sales pitch to their particular business. Of course, the specific wording of your sales pitch is also important—but the information in this article still gives you a good place to start when you’re looking for someone new to do business with.