Tuesday Tip: Strike Gold When Making Cold Calls
By Yehudit Garmaise
Although “cold-calling,” or calling new prospective customers to drum up business, might be the marketing strategy many businesspeople most dread, savvy strategies can create stunning success.
1. Be prepared: Before picking up your phone, take considerable time to do some research on what exactly you are selling, advised Ruchama Wine, a marketing consultant entrepreneur.
“Know your stuff, and what you are selling,” Wine said. “You would be surprised at how many people attempt to cold-call without first gaining familiarity with their products and first getting 100% clear on their sales pitches.”
2. Do your research: Before you call anyone, first research each business and what it sells, and then consider exactly what that business owner may need. Jot down a few notes to have on hand for reference while you are speaking with business owners. Then, you can show that you looked into each business with genuine interest and respect.
3. Make sure you speak to the “decision-makers” and research their priorities: Don’t give up because the person you reached doesn’t know the company’s needs regarding what you are selling. While some business owners may be focused on profit, others may really value convenience and service.
4. Anticipate your customer’s unspoken question of, “What’s in it for me,” or “WITFM:” Every time you call someone first ask yourself, "What is in this for the person I am calling? Am I selling exposure? Savings? Convenience? Quality? A particular service? What?"
5. Don’t assume anyone wants to speak with you by starting out with, “Can I talk to you for a few minutes?” or “Can I please have a few minutes of your time?” If you do, the answer will likely be, “No.” or “Now is not a good time.”
Instead, pique potential clients’ interest by starting off with something like, “I have something in which you might be interested that can (save you money/make things easier for you/ give you better quality/fill-in-the-blank to match your mission)." Then say, “I just need a few minutes of your time to explain.”
6. Express warmth and positivity. Salespeople should affirm their inward confidence and dignity, while expressing warmth, humility, and gracious manners. No one wants to receive calls from pushy, aggressive salespeople.
7. Stay resilient and persevere: One study showed sales reps make at least eight cold calls to reach one prospective customer. To improve their chances of booking meetings, many salespeople set a goal to make as many as 35 to 60 calls per day, according to klenty.com.
8. Make plans to follow-up with people who expressed some interest but did not buy your product nor service. Remember you are working to build relationships in what will, IYH, become a wide network of business contacts. Keep good track of everyone you reach and attempt to reach. Maintain organized notes for yourself that describe the results of each call.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals! When you create congenial relationships with potential clients, at the end of calls, after thanking your contact, be sure to add, “I build my business on referrals. Do you know of anyone who might be interested in what we discussed?”
10. Never take rejection personally. No one “enjoys” rejection, but train yourself to take it in stride. Maintain your enthusiasm by remembering that each call gets you one step closer to hearing, “Yes! Tell me more.”