Cold calling isn’t an easy game. It takes patience and persistence. Whether you are doing inside or field sales, your job is to make calls and hope a few of them result in meetings, demos or pitches.
It takes a lot of calls to get through to a decision maker: some studies suggest as many as eighteen. Often, getting through to the right person means combining emails, calls and social platforms as communication channels.
Building trust during a cold call
So when you do have a decision maker on the phone, or you were lucky and they picked up the first time . . . what do you say? How do you turn this opportunity into a consultative selling conversation? As stated in an article last year, there are five ways to turn a cold call into a successful consultative conversation:
- Do your homework. Research every company before a call;
- Start each call on a positive note. Smile;
- Don’t bad-mouth the competition, even if you’re trying to dislodge an incumbent contract;
- Always listen, then create tailored solutions for the problems mentioned;
- Qualify the lead. Don’t leave that to guesswork, or hope.
What happens AFTER that call: How do you build on the trust you’ve started to establish?
Salespeople are often in a trust grey zone. A potential client doesn’t have a reason not to trust them, but nor do they have a lot of reasons to trust them, yet. Getting through to a decision maker is part of the challenge. Agreeing another call, demo or meeting is the next step.
Here are four ways to bridge the gap further and build trust after a cold call.
Building trust after a sales call
#1: Timely follow-up
After taking days or weeks to get through, it can be tempting to put a newly qualified lead in the CRM, then take it easy. Focus on the next one. Except that would be a mistake. Make this lead your priority.
Undertake your follow-up actions quickly, and if you’ve got a demo or in-person meeting booked, make sure that isn’t too far into the future. If you’re waiting on them getting you more information, don’t wait too long. When it comes to qualified leads, don’t rest easy. Do follow-up as and when agreed, so that a potential client can get a sense of the service they should expect.
Time is everything. Quick follow-ups result in higher conversions.
#2: Demonstrate social proof
Do you have other clients in the same sector, or who’ve faced similar challenges? If so, now is the time to send testimonials and case studies as part of a proposal. The sooner you can bridge the trust gap, the easier it is to establish credibility and get closer to closing the deal.
#3: Counteract bad experiences
When speaking with your sales lead, did they mention any bad experiences with other vendors or service providers?
Now is the chance to demonstrate how you are different. A bad experience will make a buyer less trusting. But if they’re talking to you, they still need a solution suitable for the challenge they’re trying to overcome. Although it might seem counterintuitive, if you dig into what went wrong with another vendor, you can more effectively demonstrate the service your company provides and how similar bad experiences can be avoided.
#4: Trust them
Sales conversations are always a two-way street.
Buyers and sellers both need to demonstrate commitment to the sale. When the only one making any effort is the seller, there is a good chance that sale won’t happen.
One of the most effective ways to move a sale forward - providing they’ve shown commitment and interest in the process - is to trust them to take action. Known as the Pygmalion effect, Business Insider notes that “if people treat others in ways that are consistent with their expectations of them and therefore cause the person to behave in a way that confirms those expectations.”
So if you trust someone to do something when they say - and make this known to them - people try to live up to the expectations you have of them.
Building trust doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and work, from both sides. As a sales professional, your job is to follow-up quickly, demonstrate with social proof why your solution is the one they need, counteract any bad experiences and trust them to take action when they say.
Whenever possible on the first or second call, ask the prospect if they want to jump on a live demo. See your product or service in action. Sell more faster when potential clients can clearly see how you can solve a problem for them.