I know cold calling is a hot topic. Many people hate the concept of cold calling as much as they hate the act. And, in the world of selling there is no topic more debated or more maligned than cold calling.
But does that mean it’s a bad thing? Not necessarily.
Like many things, cold calling has been abused by people who do it wrong. They use this tool in a way that bothers, pesters and angers many people.
In the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to use it, any tool could be a bad thing. (If you want to see a perfect example of this, just put a plumber’s wrench in my hand!)
But remember, cold calling is a tool. It’s just a tool. Nothing more and nothing less.
As a business owner or manager, part of your job is to evaluate and use tools to help you meet your goals. Probably, one of your goals is to attract more customers. So, you need to constantly be aware of ways you can get people to do business with you.
Depending on the type of business you manage, cold calling could be a useful tool to help you meet your goal of getting more customers. If you use it well.
The Survey Method
Use your cold calling to gather information or, other words, qualify your leads. This way your call is more a survey than sales call.
Note: I’m not saying you mislead people and pretend you’re doing a survey. The people you call will figure it out. It’s dishonest and it will label you as unprofessional.
The key here is to get straight to the point and ask questions that will help you get the information you need. This might be:
>Who is the right contact person in their organization?
>Do they currently use something similar to what you sell?
>Are they looking for what you sell?
>Do they meet your ideal customer profile (whatever your demographics are)?
By getting to the point, you show them you respect their time. If they have any interest they will respond by talking to you, either then or at a later time.
If they have no interest, they’ll tell you. But, you’ll probably get a contact name and phone number (and maybe an email address) so future contacts will be easier.
Remember, you’re not calling to sell them anything. Your call is to gather information. You need their help. So you ask. If you do this right people will help because they like to help. But they don’t like to be "pitched" on a product or service they have no interest in.
So, ask for help.
With this method your goal is to begin a relationship. You already know this company meets your profile. You have enough information to be confident they need what you sell. They’re already pre-qualified. You want to do business with them.
But you don’t have any relationship with the decision maker. Getting them to do business with you could be difficult.
So, you need to establish a relationship.
The only way to start a relationship is to make contact. One of the best ways to do this is by phone because it enables you to touch a lot of people in a short period of time.
Your goal in this case is to make the first contact and setup a reason for future contacts. You’re setting the stage for this person to get to know you and your business.
Your call might be to:
>Introduce yourself, your company, your product or service.
>Tell them about how you’ve helped others like them (success stories).
>Offer them an article or white paper (must be relevant and useful — not a brochure).
>Invite them to a workshop or seminar that is relevant.
Just remember that your goal is simply to make contact. You want to begin a relationship. It’s the first step of a long journey, so don’t over do it. Just make the contact, setup a reason for the next contact and be done.
The Bottom Line
I know a lot of companies will send things to good prospects. They mail pretty brochures and fancy one-sheets. They send samples and CDs and nice boring letters written by nice boring people.
But all the mailings in the world mean little without a personal connection. We do business with people, not with brochures. When the phone company says "reach out and touch someone" they don’t mean send them a letter.
They mean give them a call. Pick up the phone and make contact.
Calling someone is an overt action. It requires energy and focus. Every action creates a another action. Nothing in the world happens without actions.
So, you need to call people. Even if you don’t know them yet.
Every call potentially opens up many doors of opportunity. It gives you the ability to expand your market, your customer base and your network. It’s free, it’s quick and if you do it right it can be completely painless, even fun.
Does your company use cold calling? if so how has it worked for you? If not, why not?