by Angela Delaney

7 tips for effective and successful lead generation

A successful business should always be looking to grow by constantly bringing on new customers. Generating leads through calls is still one of the best ways to connect and engage with potential new customers.

The term has been given a somewhat ugly name, “cold calling”, which has earned itself a bad reputation, with most people preferring to receive emails rather than have their day interrupted by a phone call. However, emails can be ignored or deleted, and an email doesn’t involve your most powerful sales asset - you.

By using your personality in the right way, in conjunction with our top tips below, you will have the opportunity to establish the essential groundwork of trust and rapport that is compulsory for converting all cold leads into a warm sale.

1. Call the right person

The cardinal sin of making calls to potential customers is not doing your research before contacting them. Find out exactly who you need to speak to within an organisation. It can be time consuming, but get the basic facts right so you don’t end up wasting your, and their, time.

And if you end up with getting through to the reception desk or a PA, make sure you give them the same amount of charm and consideration as you would their boss. Be polite, friendly and see if you can find out from them the best time to get in touch with your prospect.

2. Choose the right time to call

There are certain times and days of the week when contacting a potential customer is a no-no. Think about how you usually feel on a Monday morning when you’re getting yourself back into ‘work mode’ and are beginning to plan your week ahead. Friday afternoons are generally used for winding down and wrapping up before the weekend. It’s lunchtime and you’re hungry. Would you have the patience to engage with a sales call during those times? Probably not.

3. Personalise your offer

If you have a range of services or products to offer, make sure you sell the one most suited to the potential customer you are calling. If you’ve done your research this should be a piece of cake. Know your product or service inside and out and get to the point quickly on your call. Extended chit chat or small talk won’t win you any brownie points.

4. Approach every call as a warm call

Start your conversation with something that familiarises yourself to your audience and they will be much more likely to stay on the phone and listen to what you have to say.

Work into your call something that suggests a connection or relationship already exists between you, no matter how small that connection is. Examples could include, ‘I saw your blog post on such-and-such a topic’, or ‘I noticed we have a common connection on LinkedIn’, or ‘I believe we operate in the same area…’ and so on.

5. Use your voice

Your voice is your calling card and the way you use it can cause a lasting impression. Before starting your calls, warm up your voice with a couple of exercises to get rid of that ‘first thing in the morning’ dry creak. Work on sounding warm, bright, friendly, confident and authoritative.

A voice that sounds hesitant, nervous, unsure, bored or as though it is reading a script is a big turn off. One simple trick they teach in call centres is to smile while you’re making your call. Though your listener can’t see it, they will be able to hear it through the line.

6. Prepare and refine your pitch

Draft a script that sums up everything you want to say in a call and then practise, practise, practise until it sounds natural. Reading out an unrehearsed script sounds dull and lazy, which does not make for a great first impression. In an ideal world you’ll get rid of your script as quickly as possible, however there’s no harm in having bullet points next to you to help guide you through your calls.

Even if you think you’ve written the perfect script, make sure you keep trying out different things and make notes to assess what is working best. If your prepared pitch is getting no results, change it!

7. Listen, listen, listen

In an ideal world, the prospect would be talking more than you. Giving them an aggressive sales pitch or being controlling on the phone can back a potential customer into a corner, leaving them no choice but to make excuses or simply hang up on you. Instead, find out what their needs are, give them options and adapt your pitch as you go by following their lead.

By using these top tips for turning a cold call into a warm call, you will start off your relationship with a prospect on the right foot. By establishing a name, a voice and a personality behind the service or product you are selling, your potential customer will be much more inclined to take note of any follow-up calls or emails you make.

With this comes trust, and with trust comes sales, leads, recommendations to other prospects, and the beginning of a beautiful and long-lasting relationship.

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