Sales Call Planning for Cold Calling, Key to Productive Cold Calls Blog Feature
Dan Fisher

By: Dan Fisher on January 20th, 2014

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Sales Call Planning for Cold Calling, Key to Productive Cold Calls

cold calling

cold_call.jpegFrom my experience, most IT staffing sales reps approach cold calling with a process and language that is at best, outdated and littered with old school cold calling tactics that lead to cold calling failure.  To be successful at cold calling today, sales professionals must:

  • Have a well prepared sales call plan
  • Have well prepared message or script for their target audience
  • Have completed an effective call plan
  • Understand their buyer's persona
  • Speak with confidence and conviction
  • Have a repeatable process or methodology for cold calling

Just like Derek Jeter who takes hundreds if not thousands of swings and ground balls per day and actors rehearsing their lines over and over again, sales people need to follow suit. Sales people not only need to be held accountable for sales call planning for cold calling, but also rehearsing their lines until they have internalized their scripts. 

Here is an example of today’s typical cold call.

Sales Rep:  "Hi Jim, John Smith calling from Hi-Tech Solutions, how are you today?"

Prospect:  “Good, how can I help you?"

Sales Rep: "My company provides  <insert broadcast message> and I wanted to schedule a 30 minute meeting with you to discuss how we can partner together.  How does your calendar look?"

Prospect: "I don't have time for a meeting now nor do I have a need for your services.

Sales Rep: "Mr. prospect, I promise to keep the meeting brief. I'd like to introduce you to my company and our service offerings and better understand your company and your future needs."

Prospect: "Really, I'm busy and I'm all set for now."

Sales Rep: "O.K. would it be O.K. if I stayed in touch with you in the future?"

Prospect: "Yeah, sure go ahead."

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cold calling

What is wrong with this cold call? A few things jump out:

It doesn't appear the sales rep knows much if anything about the prospect's business and that goes back to a lack of sales call planning. 
It doesn't appear the sales rep knows much if anything about the prospect himself (Jim).
The sales rep is  "pushing" himself and his service offerings on the prospect by asking for a meeting  (where did the prospect indicate interest in meeting)?  Where is the value-add for the prospect that answers the question, what's in it for me?


Consider The Following Sales Call Planning and Cold Calling Tips

First, there are a lot of things that are outside the control of the sales rep but sales planning and preparing your cold calling message and what you say is NOT ONE OF THEM. Step one is IT staffing sales reps must prepare a sales call plan. 

A well designed call plan requires sales people to set clear objectives for the call, what they intend to do on the call, anticipate how the buyer might respond and identify alternative actions in the event the call deviates from the original plan. This simple and straight forward plan can have a dramatic impact on the quality and productivity of your cold calling ,  So, if you want more client meetings and ultimately more business, it really starts with sales call planning for cold calling which means creating a sales call plan before making your cold calls.

Second, corporate buyers and IT hiring managers are more likely to open up and talk with salespeople who share relevant data points (research, analytics, bench marking studies, analysts reports) that are relevant to their job function and business operation than hearing a "pitch." By incorporating this into your cold calling call plan and building out scripts that incorporate this strategy, your cold calling results will change dramatically.  Just be sure that the data points you use are properly aligned with the buyer persona of the prospect you're calling.  Most importantly, make sure these data points are aligned with your service offering.  Again, all this research should get incorporated into your cold calling call plan. 

Your script could sound something like this.

Sales Rep: "Hi Jim, John Smith with Hi-Tech Solutions."

Prospect: "Hi John, how can I help you?"

Sales Rep: "Jim, I have been researching you and your company and understand your building a data warehouse for improved enterprise decision making for your business leaders."
Prospect: "Yes, that is correct, but I don't think I have a need for your service."

Sales Rep: "I'm calling because we're working with other IT executives like yourself in the data warehousing space. The purpose of my call was to share with you some of the key trends and benchmarks taking place including best practices, challenges.  Would you like to learn more and how this could impact your business?" 

In this example, the sales professional is accomplishing a few things:

  1. They're quickly building credibility by demonstrating that they did their research on the prospect and his/her business. The credit goes to creating a call plan.
  2. They're positioning themselves as a thought leader and source of value by offering relevant data to the prospect
  3. They're making it a conversation, not a pitch
  4. They're closing for the call by sharing something of value for the prospect

How do you prepare for your cold calls?  Do you create sales call plans?

Learn more about cold calling by downloading the white paper called "Cold Calling Tips & Best Practices 2.0" now.

Cold Calling Tips & Best Practices 2.0

 

About Dan Fisher

I’m Dan Fisher, founder of Menemsha Group. Over 400 IT staffing firms including thousands of sales reps and recruiters apply my sales methodology including my scripts, playbooks, job aids, tools and templates, all of which is consumed from our SaaS based sales enablement platform and our mobile application. I’ve coached and mentored hundreds of sales leaders, business owners and CEO’s, and I have spoken at a variety of industry events including Staffing World, Bullhorn Engage, TechServe Alliance, Bullhorn Live, Massachusetts Staffing Association, and National Association of Personnel Services. Since 2008 I've helped IT staffing organizations quickly ramp up new hires, slash the time it takes to get new reps to open new accounts and meet quota, get more high-quality meetings with key decision makers and help leaders build a scalable sales organization. My training and coaching programs are engaging and highly interactive and are known to challenge sellers to rethink how they approach selling. Ultimately, I help sellers increase productivity, accelerate the buying process & win more deals.

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