So you heard about “outbound calling” from someone and now you’re curious – “Can it help me? How exactly?”
If you’re here, it’s probably because you’re stuck with low growth from your current methods (Bulk SMS marketing, receiving calls on personal numbers, referrals, etc. or you’re starting your career in sales and want to know if outbound calling can be the right career choice.
Whether you are starting your sales career or looking to grow your business outbound calling can be your answer. Because it’s the only channel where you can directly connect your prospects and pitch them with very little cost, overheads, or setup.
What exactly is the meaning of outbound calling, how does it work, what are the types of outbound calling, and the benefits what are the best practices you can follow, what tools to use, and most importantly whether or not it is right for you? that’s what we’ll cover in the rest of the article.
What is the meaning of outbound calling?
Outbound calling is when the sales agent of a company calls people to offer their products or services or to follow up on previous contact. The idea is to convince potential customers to take a desired action, such as making a purchase or booking an appointment. Outbound calling is often used in telemarketing, to provide customer service, and generate new leads.
So if you are running a business, basically you hire a sales agent who calls your prospects on your behalf to achieve these results. This frees up 70% of your time so that you can focus on the things that help you to actually grow your business. And, as a sales agent, it helps you master the art of telemarketing, providing customer service, and generating new leads over the phone.
Types of outbound calling and which one is the best choice for you
1. Cold calling
Cold calling is when you call a person you have never met before or who hasn’t asked you to call. It’s kind of like knocking on a stranger’s door and asking if they want to buy something. You don’t know if the other person will be interested but you still try to talk to them anyway.
It’s ideal for you if you sell low-ticket-size products that people buy after 1-3 calls. Cold calling can be hard because most people you call won’t wanna talk to you. But if you’re calling a relevant database, and you have a good pitch and practice then you can close a minimum of 5-10 deals on every hundred leads. This can be great for you as a new business that is looking for a predictable source of regular leads and sales.
As a caller, this gives you direct access to hundreds of leads, so this is the best way to get over your initial fears of calling strangers and asking them to buy a product. This can be a great starting point for your career in outbound calling
2. Warm calling
Warm calling is when you call someone whom you have already met and who has shown interest in your product or service. Here you already know a little bit about the other person and what he is interested in, so the conversation is easier.
As a business, you can only engage in warm calling only if you have a set of leads that are interested. As a caller, if you are more interested in getting to know people’s requirements and helping them get unstuck rather than just convincing them to go to closure, this is the best approach. Also, warm calling is what helps you move big deals forward because you cannot close big deals just through cold calling.
3. Lead follow-up calls
Lead follow-up calls are when you call potential customers who have previously shown interest in your product or service but haven’t purchased it yet. The intent here is to generate interest by establishing a personal connection, providing additional information, addressing objections, and then calling back to move the deal forward.
It requires product knowledge, communication skills, and persistence to convert leads into paying customers. Almost no one buys in the first call, which is why as a business, you will always have to take follow-ups on time. If you’re selling a low ticket-size product you might even close the deal within 1 – 3 follow-ups.
4. Appointment Setting Calls
If you are in a business where you need to meet the prospect face-to-face before they make the purchase for example – in real estate or education, you have to take a call to schedule an appointment where you can meet the prospect and make your pitch.
As a sales executive if you have strong communication skills, product knowledge, and the ability to persuade people in face-to-face meetings then appointments can become your specialty. It can give you a unique career edge!
Outbound calling best practices that you can follow to reduce effort and maximize results:
1. Pre-call preparation
On an outbound call, you’re calling someone for the first time, so you don’t want to go without a plan. If you are not prepared, one mistake can kill your chances of the prospect
Pre-call preparation ensures that you are well informed and confident during the call. Before making the call, research the prospect’s background, interests, and needs. This will help you build trust and improve the chances of a successful outcome.
2. Effective scripting
Once you’ve done the pre-call preparation, to help you succeed with the call, you need an effective sales script. The script should be tailored to the target audience and include key information about the product or service you’re offering.
An effective script will help you structure your sales call and ensure that all the necessary details are shared with the prospect. It will help you stay on track and increase the chances of converting your leads.
3. Active Listening
Imagine you’re talking to someone and the other person keeps speaking nonsense stuff without even listening to you.
How would you feel?
You’d be pissed!
And if that person calls you again, you just won’t answer.
Your prospects are no different.
This is why you need to listen. Pay close attention to the prospect’s words, tone, and body language. Answer their questions and concerns. This will help you improve communication and build stronger relationships with leads and customers.
4. Handling objections
The prospect will have several questions about your product or service before purchasing. You’ll need to address their concerns before they buy.
To handle objections you have to quickly think – “What is he afraid about? What’s the root fear!” And then you have to instantly find the best way to address that fear! Once you do this successfully closing the deal is easy from there!
5. Follow-up and persistence
Even after going well prepared for the call, listening actively, and addressing all their concerns, most prospects will show interest but won’t actually buy. because almost no one buys on the first call. You need to follow up with them multiple times over calls, emails, and messages for a successful purchase.
You need to constantly remind them about your offering. Because it’s not urgent for them right now, but you need to make sure that when it becomes urgent, you are the only person they remember! Also, regularly following up on time shows that you really care about the prospect. It helps you to establish trust and credibility with your customers. So even if they don’t buy from you they will never forget you. They might even refer someone who needs to buy right away.
Benefits of Outbound Calling: How to decide if outbound calling is really for you
1. Generating new business opportunities
For any business to survive, bringing new opportunities is critical. And outbound calling can help you generate new business opportunities. Using outbound calling you can proactively reach out to potential customers and prospects, and create new opportunities to engage and connect with them.
When you do it correctly, it can improve your lead generation, enhance customer engagement and provide cost-effective marketing. Which ultimately gives you a competitive advantage.
2. Building Customer Relationships
As a small business, you cannot survive, purely on getting single deals from customers. In order to really grow your revenues, you need your existing customers to give you repeat orders. Which is why you need to build strong relationships with your customers. Here are two ways you can build strong relationships with customers using outbound calling
Regularly reach out to them and ask for feedback.
This makes sure that they have an amazing experience with your product or service and if they have any issues or complaints, then those issues get highlighted and resolved in time.
Keep track of your customer’s requirements and reach out to them regularly with highly relevant offers. That will actually add value. So that when they need something related to what you do, your name is the only one that pops up in their head!
3. Improving brand awareness
Let’s say you recently started an insurance business! Nobody knows you and frankly not many people care! But what if you found a list of a hundred people who desperately need vehicle insurance? If you genuinely care about them and teach them the ins and outs of insurance they will care. As a small business, that’s what I’ve been calling and doing for you. It helps you generate initial awareness for your brand. So that people start associating your name with what you do. And soon you start getting referrals.
4. Increasing sales and revenue
This is the major use case for outbound calling. If you have been in business for a little time, you have lots of contacts. If you can take the time to filter out the people who might be interested in buying from you then that list can act like your pot of gold. When you have a new offer, you can simply reach out to these people through outbound calling, then you can filter out the people who are actually interested. And finally, you can follow up with them and start closing deals! This gives you a clear and simple way to increase your sales and revenue by using your existing contacts.
Pro tip: Understand that a lot of people in your list might actually not be interested in buying from you, so it’s better not to spam those people and focus only on those who want to buy.
5. Gathering Customer Feedback
You can also use outbound calls to conduct surveys and collect feedback from your prospects or existing customers. Collecting feedback can help you improve your product/service. and ultimately If you do that it improves the overall experience for all your customers. Thus helping you grow your business and close even more customers. For this, the sales agents don’t need a lot of training either, they just need to ask a list of questions and listen to the customer’s feedback, actively. Plus, customers usually are very cooperative with this kind of feedback.
Outbound Calling Tools and Technologies that you will need to do it right
Outbound calling is not only about hiring someone and giving them a list to call, if you don’t do it right you will face multiple problems! You will be stuck in situations where
- Your sales reps will just pretend rather than actually make calls
- Sales reps will miss important follow-ups and you will lose big deals as a result
- They will dial wrong numbers, mix up the details of calls, etc. which will result in a waste of time and energy, confusion, and a bad reputation for your brand
- And you’ll be manually managing leads which will eat up a lot of your time.
How do you avoid these problems?
This is where the right tools can help you immensely. Here are some essential tools to manage outbound calling efficiently.
If you’re running a business and planning to start an outbound calling process, you need leads.
And if you don’t properly, manage these leads, you’re calling process will go haywire! Your sales reps will start mixing up the data. Wasting too much time on leads that are actually not interested. They end up, making repeat calls to people who won’t buy. And sometimes they even end up, giving two different quotations to the same prospects.
A CRM can help you manage your entire sales processes more efficiently as you can integrate all your lead sources with the CRM and have a single place to manage them all. You can also keep a track of every interaction a lead has had with anyone from your team, which can help you to better understand your leads and their needs.
2. Auto Dialer
You can upload your calling list, and listen to auto dialer software. Then your sales reps simply click the dial button to place the call. After the call, they take notes and click the next button to automatically dial up the next lead. An auto-dialer software can increase the efficiency and productivity of outbound calling by reducing the time and effort required to manually dial phone numbers. Also, there won’t be any waste of time or confusion. So you can make more calls and close more deals!
3. Follow-up app
No one is going to buy from you on the first call even if they are super interested! You will need to make multiple follow-up calls! And if you miss any of these follow-ups, you’re gonna lose the deal. It’s not humanly possible to remember to take all these follow-ups on time. Which is why you need a follow-up app.
It’s basically a tool where you can schedule your follow-ups by adding the date and time, and then when it’s time for the call you get a reminder notification. This way you don’t need to remember when to take the next follow-up. Just ask the prospect “When can we connect again?”, schedule it in the app, and forget. The app will remember to notify you when it’s time for a call.
Without monitoring your employees don’t work, which is why as a business, it’s very important to have someone as your watchdog. Call recording works like CCTV for your calling team. With an accurate call monitoring system, you can track all their calls with exact duration so you can monitor your team members and see if they are actually working or just pretending.
This can also help you to easily train the new joiners in your team. You can use recordings of successful past calls as a case study and training material. So the newcomers can listen to those calls and try to replicate the same thing. This way they get trained without using up all your time.
Lastly, at the end of the day when you sit down to check reports of your campaigns, you want a complete picture of what happened during the day.
- Which team member made how many calls
- What conversation did they have with them
- Did they even close any deal?
- And overall how are things moving in your business?
That’s where an accurate reporting system comes in handy. With the use of this software, you can easily track and analyze all the outbound calling data, such as call volumes, call durations, lead stages, and conversion rates. It allows you to gather insights into the effectiveness of your calling campaigns, and make data-driven decisions to improve the performance.
Pro Tip: TeleCRM does this in one intuitive place😉
Pitfalls to avoid when executing Outbound calling
While outbound calling can be a valuable tool for businesses, there are also some common pitfalls to watch out for:
- Lack of personalization: Outbound calling can be perceived as intrusive or impersonal if not tailored to the specific needs and interests of the customer. It’s better to personalize and align with the prospect’s needs and talk about them rather than reciting a robotic script.
- Poor timing: Calling at the wrong time or too frequently can annoy prospects/customers and damage your relationship with them. It’s always a good practice to address the agenda of the call and ask if the time is right to have the conversation at the beginning of the call.
- Inbound flow: If you already have inbound leads you don’t need outbound calling. Because our inbound leads are the people who are already looking for what you offer. It’s just way easier to sell your product services. Rather than trying to convince a cold prospect, who may or may not be interested in buying from you.
- Compliance issues: If violated, outbound calling can sometimes result in hefty fines to various laws and regulations, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
So, to sum it up, if executed correctly, outbound calling can pretty much do everything from generating new business opportunities to increasing your sales revenue.
It can be a lifesaver if you are a small business, and you’re looking for a way to reliably generate new business opportunities without having to depend on the next big deal to sustain your business.
Lastly, you cannot just get results by reading about outbound, calling the next step is to try it out. You can either start by yourself, or you can hire one dedicated caller for this. The steps to get started on really simple
- Find or buy a relevant database of people according to your industry, product, or service.
- Prepare a concise pitch to convince the prospects that you’re going to call.
- Find the right tool or software for outbound calling, upload your data, and start calling.