Most sales reps make cold calls when they feel like it. And that's too bad, because scientific research reveals that timing may be even more important than technique when it comes to cold calling success.
This post tests your preconceptions about timing your cold calls, and then provides you with scientific facts that can help you double or even triple your cold calling success.
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Cold-calling experts always advice sales reps to schedule a certain amount of time every week to make the cold calls. The idea, of course, is to make sure that the calls actually get made, rather than just thrown onto the back burner.
However, it turns out that all days are not created equal. Some days are much better than others, when it comes to getting results from you cold calling activity. Do you know which day is best?
The correct answer is Thursday.
Dr. James Oldroyd from the Kellogg School of Management recently examined the electronic logs of more than a million cold calls, made by thousands of sales professionals inside around 50 companies. He then applied statistical measurements to extract patterns of success and failure.
He discovered that Thursday is the best day to contact a lead in order to qualify that lead. In fact, it is almost 20 percent better than Friday, which is the worst day. All the other days fall somewhere in between.
OK, now that you've got the right day to call...
Just as some days are better than others, when it comes to cold-calling success, some hours of the day are better. Obviously, calling during lunch hour is a bad idea, simply because you'll probably not reach the prospect. But beyond that, do you know which time of day is best?
The correct answer is Early Morning (8-9am) followed closely by Late Afternoon (4-5pm).
Oldroyd's study revealed that the absolute worst time to call is right after lunch. In fact, an early morning cold call is 164 percent more likely to qualify a lead than one made from 1-2pm.
OK, now that you're calling at the right time and day, there's one rule that trumps everything else. If you're interested, read on...
HOW LONG BEFORE A HOT LEAD GOES COLD?
A special rule applies when you're gathering your leads in "real time." This usually happens online, when a potential customer visits your website, although it can happen when a customer responds to an ad or direct mail by giving your firm a call.
Obviously, you're more likely to qualify the lead if you get back to the prospect quickly. But how quickly is quickly enough?
HOW LONG BEFORE A HOT LEAD GOES COLD?
For most B2B markets, the correct answer is one hour, after which the lead is no longer "hot." It's still a lead, but it's no better than any old lead taken from a list.
Oldroyd's study revealed that, in B2B selling environments, the best odds of qualifying a lead happen within 20 minutes after interest is shown. However, calling within 5 minutes is 21 times more likely to result in a qualified prospect than if you wait half an hour.
Some industries aren't quite so time-sensitive. In financial services, for example, as long as you call a hot lead within 24 hours, you still have a chance to qualify the lead and move it into your pipeline.
But that's the exception rather than the rule, and calling quickly is ALWAYS massively more effective.
How to best use the information presented in this post. Easy. Based on the above, here's exactly what you do:
- STEP 1: Reschedule. Schedule your cold calling sessions early morning or late afternoon, preferably on Thursday, but avoiding Friday, especially Friday afternoon.
- STEP 2: Prioritize. Make your cold call selection based upon how "hot" the leads are. If they're streaming in from your web site ALWAYS make those calls first. For other leads on your list, call the most recently-harvested ones first.
- STEP 3: Adapt. Get focused on being effective when you cold call. If you want to qualify as many leads as possible, use "The Ultimate Cold Calling Tool" that I posted a few months ago.
- STEP 4: Measure. Keep a record of your success rate. You may find that your industry, or your region, is slightly different than the averages. For example, if you're a "night person" rather than a "morning person" you'll likely get a better response calling late afternoon than early morning.
If you liked this post, check out "The Ultimate Cold Calling Tool." It's an interactive blog post that can really help you increase your conversion rate.
The correct answer is THURSDAY.POLL #2
The correct answer is Early Morning (8-9am) followed closely by Late Afternoon (4-5pm).POLL #3
The correct answer is one hour.READERS: An easy-to-follow system for selling B2B -- including an improved version of this post -- is provided in my new book How to Say It: Business to Business Selling available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound.
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