Cold calling is a tough but necessary tool in the sales/marketing world. It is often classed as fearful, boring, repetitive, and demoralizing. As long as this is the way you are thinking – you better believe it will be. Why should the person on the other end of the call be interested in what you have to say if you aren’t? Most importantly, show interest in your product! Reading out a script given to you by your boss will do nothing but hold up a red flag to your potential customer. Preparation, introduction, and specifically targeted questions and pitches are very important to a successful cold call.
The DO’s and DONT’s of Cold Calling
Preparation for me is the most important part of the call. Know who you are calling. The internet nowadays makes it so easy to find information on any company, and more specifically any employee that you want. Calling a main number off of a website and saying “Let me speak to the person who is in charge of marketing” is a major no-no. It is crucial to get through to the person in the department you are targeting, and saying a statement like that will get you hung up on or pushed aside within 15 seconds. Do your research! LinkedIn is a great way to find employees within companies and find out exactly what they are responsible for. This will show you whether it is the person you need to speak with or not. It also gives you the opportunity to ask for them by name, and more importantly, address them by name when you are transferred through to them. Personalized calls show you have done your research and will ensure you are speaking to someone who actually cares about the reason you are calling. Not to mention it saves time from being transferred from extension to extension and ending up with someone’s voicemail. Also, be prepared to answer any questions that might come at you about your company. If you are new to the company and don’t have complete confidence in your knowledge, have some information written down or typed up on the screen to use as a reference.
Introducing yourself and the reason you are calling should be brief. These people are busy. They will not listen if you go on a rant and sound like you are reading off a script. State your pitch clearly and then switch to questions. Questions are important. I don’t mean ‘Are you interested in our offer?’ NO! Don’t ever give them the option to say no. Turn a question like that into a statement. “We are in a position to offer you this.” This is when the important questions come into play. Follow that statement with something like, “How many people in your company would be able to take advantage of this offer?” This gives you leeway to show the person you are talking to how your product can be beneficial to them, before giving them the option to shut you down.
Make sure you give the potential customer a chance to speak. Ignore the fear of rejection and listen to what they have to say. Maybe sometimes they just want to get rid of you. If that’s the case, so be it. A lot of the time listening to questions or statements can really help you build a relationship with the person and understand more about the company. Understanding the company’s needs and wants is very important. Without this knowledge you might be speaking to someone about something they do not care about, or worse, something they already know a lot more about than you do. This is a sure fire way to offend a client, or embarrass yourself and your company. If you are asked a question you don’t know the answer to, make a note of it and tell them you will include it in an email to them. This is a great way to create a point of personal contact and move on to the next step.
Get Involved and Keep in touch
Once you have pitched your idea, listened to the company’s wants and needs, it is always helpful to suggest a follow up of some sort. Whether it is an email, online meeting, or call back, it is extremely beneficial to be given permission to spend more time trying to obtain this client. This way, the next time you contact them they are more prepared to listen, and open to what you have to say. This also takes off the pressure of having to make a decision on the phone, and shows that you aren’t desperate for their business or trying to trick them into anything. Cold call targets usually consider us a nuisance, and can find us very patronizing. This is not why we are calling them! Our businesses should be benefitting each other, and that’s what the client and the caller need to understand.
Remember to always be honest, informative, and professional. As long as you are thoughtful to the company and enthusiastic about your product, the potential customer has a reason to at least listen to what you have to say.
In order to succeed in a career that involves cold calling, you must stay level headed and be prepared for all situations. Know your stuff, expect the worst, and never take anything to heart. People can be rude. You never know whether they are in the middle of a meeting or a stressful situation when you call. You need to always be prepared for anything and never get disheartened or give up. You are cold calling to offer a service that will benefit their company and yours. With a determined attitude and confidence in your company, you will see positive results immediately.