3 Ways to get a Prospect to Return your Cold Call
Whilst many in our profession may have put the final nail in cold
calling’s coffin, at IRD we maintain that, when done right, outbound calling and the much-maligned
cold call remains one of the most powerful tools in the box.
As we said in 5 ways to warm up a cold call, businesses that completely dismiss
the value that relevant sales calls can add are missing out on many opportunities to grow and
drive efficiency. The question is not whether to employ outbound phone tactics, but how to
develop a smart and targeted way of prospecting for business that will lead to a relevant
conversation between buyer and seller.
Whatever your position is on the outbound call debate, one thing
is for certain, a large proportion of your calls will inevitably end up with you being asked to
“please leave a message and I’ll get right back to you”.
And herein lies one of the biggest frustrations for many sales
people. Whilst gearing yourself up to make the call in the first place is one thing, arguably the
biggest challenge and productivity killer faced by the cold caller is getting their prospects to
return voicemails. It’s all well and good, embracing the phone, but we need to accept that more
often than not our initial call will land on an answer phone or PA rather than the object of our
attentions. Not only do we need to factor the voicemail rate into our overall activity metrics, we
need to ensure that we master the art of voicemail to ensure the maximum bang from our cold calling
buck. Simply put, getting the message you leave right can be a critical component of sales
To define the killer cold call, let’s pause for a moment and
reflect on why prospects don’t return your calls.
From my own experience, having replayed countless messages cold
callers have left on my voicemail, it is fair to say there’s 5 key failings that bring me to hit
delete quicker than you can say Jack Robins:
- Your voicemail is too
The phone message isn’t the time and place for a protracted
pitch. This approach tells me a lot about you. I know if I call you back and accept a meeting
I’d only be subjecting myself to more long winded pain.
- You don’t get to the point.
Your message fails to get to the point and I’m suspicious.
Anything but short, succinct plain talking destines you to deletion.
- I’m none the wiser as to who you
Unless you work for a globally recognised brand, chances are I
don’t know your business and what it provides.
- I don’t need your solution.
Whilst you might assume there’s a universal need for your product
or service, unless you’ve caught me at just the right time, you’re unlikely to catch my
Whilst this may seem obvious, the art of voicemail that have a
high call-back rate is no simple thing. At IRD we advocate a smart calling approach where every
opportunity possible is taken to turn a cold call into a warm call. With that in mind here’s our
three tips on how to grab attention, motivate a response and create a sense of urgency:
- Give a reason, Get a call back.
Bottom line is that without a compelling reason to return your
message, few prospects will take the time out of their busy schedule to get back to you. Make
sure to do your research so that you can demonstrate the challenges that they’re likely to be
facing, and flag that by calling you back they’ll be taking the first step towards easing their
pain. As will all sales calls, think in advance about how you add value to your prospect’s
business and communicate this succinctly. Focus the message on how you can help your prospect
and pique their interest by demonstrating that you’ve done your homework. Product features are
not relevant at this stage, so if it is all about you and your business, the message is going
to be deleted.
- Be upfront about the
The hierarchy of messaging in your message is a crucial
consideration. You’ve got mere seconds to capture the attention of the person listening to your
message before they open the trapdoor. Your prospect won’t be interested enough to call you
back because you are John Smith calling from “Well Know Brand X”. They’re a selfish bunch that
always want to know what’s in it for them. So, if your product or solution can fix an issue you
know they face, make sure you lead heavily, but concisely, with that proposition. Drop your
value proposition asap and leave the company backgrounder or your bio for another
- Build a connection.
From an early age, stranger danger is drummed into us. Human
nature is such that we build trust from the familiar, so never miss an opportunity to drop the
name of a mutual acquaintance or to flag a connection you have with your prospect’s company.
Mentioning the person who referred you or a mutual contact will set you aside from other
callers and will significantly boost your credibility and chances of a return call.
Whilst cold calling is ultimately a numbers’ game and the reality
is that a high percentage of your messages will not be returned, we know you’ll be pleasantly
surprised with the positive impact these three tips will have on the overall success of your cold