+44 (0) 1923 248200

Financial Services Sales
Boosting the Effectiveness of Cold Calling

As a sales technique, cold calling can be a pretty hit and miss affair. When not performed properly, calling a list of numbers, even if they are established leads, can be a scattergun approach that can be both unpopular and ineffective. However, quite often, salespeople and sales managers are not helping themselves by taking the wrong approach and making what can already be a difficult method of selling even harder. Correctly done, cold calling can be an effective sales technique, but just like any form of selling it requires skill, techniques and the right approach. Done incorrectly, and cold calling can be perceived as rude, intrusive and too impersonal.

Calculating the cost
Cold calling can be expensive, especially for businesses that have large call centres where dozens of people are going through the phone book and calling thousands of numbers a day. According to the Direct Marketing Association, even those companies that are good at it rarely have success rates higher than 5 percent. However, for those less proficient, the cost of phone calls alone could be astronomical and make cold calling as a sale endeavour pointless. Of course, cheap landline deals and lower tariffs during the evening can help save money, but even then, with only a couple out of 100 calls turning into a potential sale, this could still mean a company could be spending more on phone calls, paying staff and keeping the lights on than they are making in sales. This is one of the reasons that many businesses that rely solely on cold calling for their income, such as double glazing companies, have a reputation for being risky enterprises. However, by taking a more planned approach, you can maximise the potential success rate, and make the cold calling far more cost effective.

Timing
The thing about cold calling, particularly on the telephone as opposed to personal face-to-face canvassing, is that you never know if it is a potentially a good time to be approaching your intended customer. Somebody could be in the bath or otherwise preoccupied when you call. With cold calling, timing can be everything. When calling a business, making contact at lunchtime when somebody might be eating their sandwiches or calling late in the day, when people are getting ready to go home, is going to reduce the chance of making a sale. The same is true of domestic cold calling. Many cold callers prefer the evening when people are more likely to be home from work. However, this can often be a time when people are busy, preparing dinner or putting children to bed,

If it does turn out to be a bad time, simply trying to batter your way through with your sales pitch will get you nowhere. A good salesperson can learn to identify that it is an inopportune moment and switch the purpose of the original call from attempting to sell, to arranging an appointment to phone back at more suitable time.

The opening
The opening is by far the most important aspect of a cold call. It is within the first few seconds that you can either intrigue potential customers or completely alienate them, and if it is the latter, there is nothing you can subsequently do to change the situation. Many cold calling companies use scripts for their salespeople, and while these have their advantages, not all salespeople are great actors and so can’t be expected to sound natural or even human when reading a script or repeating well-rehearsed words. Either they sound as if they are reading, or they speak so fast it can be both difficult to comprehend or make them sound like a robot.

Sounding human, professional and warm, as if you are calling a colleague for chat rather than bombarding somebody with your sale’s pitch is by far a better approach. However, some cold callers go too far the other way and start trying to be too personal, such as asking how somebody is that day or evening. People see right through this. Nobody believes somebody on the end of the phone that they have never met is going to have any real interest in their health or wellbeing, so keeping it professional, saying good morning/afternoon/evening and introducing yourself is by far a better approach than trying to soft soap somebody.

The pitch
Once you have introduced yourself, you can start your pitch. While everybody has their own techniques and methods of explaining what they are selling or calling about one key ingredient is always essential: to the point quickly and succinctly. It may well be that the person on the other end of the phone will be interested in what you are selling, but by taking to long to get to the point, you risk frustrating them, especially if they are busy.

Another aspect of cold calling to understand is identifying when it is time to quit. While tenacity and perseverance can pay off, identifying a lost cause will save you from wasting your time. For instance, if you are selling double glazing and the person on the other end of the phone tells you they have had their windows done only six months earlier, there is nothing you can say, and no discount you can offer them that will entice them to buy.

As with all aspects of sales, cold calling is a skill that has to be learned and practiced. Perhaps the most important method of increasing the chance of success is to try new pitches and openings, and seeing what works and what doesn’t work for you. You have more chance at success by developing techniques based on your own personal experience rather than on some handed-down dogma that may be effective for one salesperson but not for another.

 



 



 
Dressing for Success
Its now time for your first appointment; you've got your prospects, you've made the appointment on the phone and you're going out to see your clients. Now one of the things you've got to think about before you even go out there is how important dressing for success is. Remember you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. You're out in the expat market, which a lot of the times is an executive market. You're going in there and they're buying trust, they're buying honesty; you must look like a bank manager, you must look conservative and I learnt a lesson many, many years ago.
Read more...
 
The Professional Introduction
Let me tell you a story. Many years ago in America, a large tobacco company's account was up for grabs and every big advertising company was after this account. There was a small advertising company owned by a fellow called Ben Duffy and he was also trying to secure this account. He was up against big competition; some of the largest companies in the Industry and it would be a coup to land such a large client. Ben Duffy thought to himself 'how am I going to get this account, I'm just a small unknown player with a small company, there's no chance.' He thought, 'let me put myself in the position of this chap that I am going to see.
Read more...
 
Presenting Solutions
It's time for your second interview. You've conducted an excellent first interview, gone back to the office, found the right product, matched the risk profile and you?re going to see your client for the second interview.
 
I've been out on a lot of joint calls with people in the offshore market. Some of them are extremely professional but others just take the application form and the illustration. Remember, you're dealing in the expatriate market and most times these are very professional people.
Read more...
 
StartPrev123NextEnd

What Leaders are Saying

Clive Chappell - Sales & Marketing Manager, MFH Group Of Companies

 

Just a quick message to thank you for the seminar you presented last week in Leeds. The content was one of the best (if not the best) I have ever had the pleasure of listening to.
Clive Chappell  -  Sales & Marketing Manager,  MFH Group Of Companies

Alistair Altham, Group Marketing Director, Johnson Fry Securities Ltd, London

 

"What an excellent presentation. It was unanimously claimed as the best session any of the team had experienced. Everybody is charged up and my only challenge is to ensure that we carry through the great ideas you provided."
Alistair Altham, Group Marketing Director, Johnson Fry Securities Ltd, London

Annick Devillard, Director, The Rooster

 

Thank you for making another inspiring talk – the feedback has been amazing, everybody loved listening to you.

Annick Devillard, Director, The Rooster

Jana Stansfield

 

Your program at NSA Colorado was incredibly helpful.  I have been singing your praises and marvelling that you would share that information so generously.
Jana Stansfield

W Mitchell, author of, It's Not What Happen To You, It's What You Do About It

 

Every time I sit in Frank's audience it’s like going to the bank - AND Making a Big Deposit. What do you need to learn to fatten your bank account?
W Mitchell, author of, It's Not What Happen To You, It's What You Do About It

Andreu Mateu Lamas, CEO, Dreams and Adventures, Spain

 

You are the king of the Easy, effective and on a shoe string marketing online.

Andreu Mateu Lamas, CEO, Dreams and Adventures, Spain

Keith Millard, Chairman—The Executive Council

 

You provided the group with a wealth of ideas, techniques and practices to achieve greatly improved sales. The group greatly enjoyed the humour that threaded its way throughout your presentation without allowing this to turn the morning solely into entertainment. The focus on attitude and attributes of sales people, both in recruitment and ongoing performance was ideal for our group

Keith Millard, Chairman—The Executive Council

Hans Poortvliet, Managing Director, HSMAI Nederland

 

While working on the details of our 2008 LEADERSHIP programme, Mr. Furness was suggested to us by various people. Were they ever right! After a brief, but very pleasant and ‘to the point’ telephone conversation, I was fully confident that Frank was definitely ‘our man’. Seen his extensive background in sales, we asked Mr. Furness to take care of the ‘HSMAI Leadership in Sales Event. Frank delivered that afternoon an upbeat, dynamic and cutting edge presentation on sales & marketing. Filled with humour, impressive facts, ‘speaking’ pictures and many, many practical ‘sales tools’. Afterwards he left the audience with several dedicated websites full of practical tools for their review and use. The feedback we got from our members was nothing less than superb! I therefore can only strongly advise any organization (looking for the ‘latest in sales & marketing’) to contact or even better: ‘secure’ Mr. Frank Furness for their programme.
Hans Poortvliet, Managing Director, HSMAI Nederland

Trudi McMenemy, Manager, Salters

 

I enjoyed it very much and found a lot of your stories awe inspiring, thought provoking and poignant.  You talked about a lot of remarkable people, yourself and family included and I have repeated a lot of these stories to my family, often with tears in my eyes!!
Trudi McMenemy, Manager, Salters
PTO

Paul Vittles, Director, ACNielsen Australia

 

“I’ve now seen Frank have an impact on three separate audiences from chief executives to people in their first sales role. He is always stimulating – with a great combination of practical sales knowledge, constant confidence-building, and an energizing presentational style”

Paul Vittles, Director, ACNielsen Australia

Franks YouTube Channel

On my channel I share tips, strategies and techniques
to help you achieve your goals. Click here to view »

Success Traits Ebook

by Frank Furness

Free download

Web Statistics