I am a fan of cold calling. There I said it.
Cold calling isn’t as attractive as social selling, lifecycle messaging, or content marketing. – And despite what any hipster ‘customer success advocate’ tells you …
Cold Calling is NOT dead.
Before I interrupt the strength and ire of every mobile marketing Jedi in the galaxy … I want to make it clear that this article is more about the discipline of cold call prospecting than it is about how to build a brand or where your potential customers come from. I’m also not saying that social sales, drip campaigns, referral prospecting, and SMS marketing are urban bohemian flavor of the month. These are much-needed and effective sales tools that have a definite place in customer engagement and prospect solicitation.
What am I saying
is that while there are several valuable ways to acquire new customers, I strongly believe that cold calling should be the centerpiece of new business development.
If you call a potential customer who is not concerned with you and has never spoken to them before, it is a cold call. Maybe I’m an inside sales Neanderthal; or just old school; But, I think that to have material growth, you have to roll up your sleeves and find new clients; before, your competition does.
Cold calling is the oxygen of your business. You can survive without oxygen for a short time; But if you go too long without it, you won’t make it. Cold calling is the same way.
I’d like to think that everyone knows it; but I don’t think many have the discipline to do it regularly and that number seems to be increasing. A quick Google search will show how many sales experts are ringing the cold call bell. In fact, the world is changing; But cold calling is certainly not dead. Sales acceleration plug-ins like Connect And Sell, Inside Sales.Com, and First Rain are revolutionizing not just cold calling; but the marketing strategies of thousands of organizations. I daresay that sales acceleration tools like these can even give cold calling a bit of arrogance..
Whether you’re using a CRM or a pen and paper, your cold call should be a regularly scheduled and structured time to sell so you can find new customers. It is programmed so that no matter what happens, you always have your time dedicated to the sale. This is how you do it.
Schedule the time for recurring outgoing calls on your calendar. Have your call list ready in advance. Have your pens, paper, whatever you need ready. Pre-call plan: Know the outcome you want before picking up the phone. Get excited. Get psyched before you start calling. If you’re not sure how to do this, think of Ickey Woods Geico’s commercial. Just substitute: “Cold calls” for “Sausages “. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFrsR9NByc4)
Make the calls.
Self-explanatory right. What I mean is that you need to focus without distractions. Put an out of office in your email, turn off your cell phone, don’t ask questions of those around you, and don’t check email. Make the calls. I know it sounds easy, give it a try.
Set a rhythm.
Make calls for an absolute minimum of 45 minutes. Your need for cadence and tempo. Less than 45 minutes and you won’t get enough calls to set a pace. This will help you ease your calling process. (ie dialing, speaking, call arrangement, etc.) Also, try not to dial fiercely for more than 2 hours straight. (2.5 hrs. Tops) If you’re really keeping up a wild rhythm of cold calling, it won’t take long to run out. After a couple of hours, stop and take a few to return some emails, etc … Take at least a 45 minute break, so you don’t get tired and end up alone ‘doing the moves’.
Do not waste your time.
Don’t go on a futile search. – If they put you on hold for more than two minutes, hang up and continue. – If they tell you that you have to call ‘corporate office’ and you don’t get someone specific name, go ahead. It’s not worth your time. If you really think it’s that important, you can call back later after your cold calling session is over. Once a call ends, take notes, schedule a call, and quickly move on. I recommend doing any post-call work afterward. (i.e., send follow-up emails, prepare proposals, etc.) Doing these tasks during your cold calling session will only distract you, lose steam, and make you less effective.
It’s no secret that people do business with people they like. – You don’t have to be simplistic or silly … Be yourself. Be someone you would like to talk to. Sound optimistic and confident. Nobody wants to talk to someone boring. Using words like, New, Special Y Exciting help to.
Treat whoever answers the phone with respect. – You don’t know who they are or what influence they have. Please understand that they are doing the same job as you. Your job is to talk to the decision maker and theirs is to make sure you don’t. If you approach your call with a positive attitude, such as calling a friend to do you a favor, rather than making a commission, you will be more successful.
When you sell, stop every now and then, especially at the beginning of your calls. Walk if necessary. This will help you appear more excited. Selling is the transfer of emotions. Make your customer feel the same as you do about your product.
While we’d all love to end every call we make with a first order or a new opportunity, it’s generally not that easy. I’m not saying it never happens; just not enough to make a living out of it. However; Every time you hang up the phone, your relationship with this potential customer should be more advanced than it was before dialing.
- Find out the buyer’s name.
- Identify who is its owner.
- Request a referral.
Whatever it is, be sure to hang up with more than you started with. If you are prepared and know what you are looking for before making the call, this step is easier.
There you have it … It’s not fancy. Cold calling is very much alive and it is very hard work. I still make cold calls. When I do, I follow these steps. I win, lose and leave voicemail. Take the time to develop a scheduled cold calling discipline. Protect this time. If you can take the time to cold call new leads regularly and without fail, you will dramatically increase your sales success.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.