Has the art of cold calling died? Most people believe that with the rising popularity of social media, that picking up the phone to call someone you do not know for business, is a waste of time. Professionals are expected to have web exposure. However, telephone and face to face dealings with people keep the personal touch alive. And yes, cold calling is part of this process, like it or not. Here are some reminders/tips for those who fear rejection or hate picking up the phone:
1. Develop a clear message:
Before picking up the phone, know what you are going to say and who you are going to say it to. Take time to know who the decision maker is. Take time to know the size of the company, what they do and how your product or service can help. When you call, state your name clearly, what you do and how you can help. This is especially important for voice messages that you leave. When you are reaching out to executives, you are most likely going to get their voice-mail. Do not ramble. Be clear and to-the-point. Remember, the goal of the cold call is to warm it up. Your objective is to ask for a face to face meeting. Do the rest of the selling live. Use the phone call to develop enough interest to close a first meeting.
2. Be consistent:
Know how many people you will call per week/month. Be consistent in your efforts. Always follow up the day the prospect asks you to follow up. Be reliable. Bob might ask you to call him back next week or next month. Do so. Jane might ask you to call her back in 6 months. Do so. Follow their lead.
Keep track of the number of calls you make per week/month. Learn your conversion rate. How many calls does it take to get a first appointment? How many first appointments does it take to close a deal? When you learn your numbers, you know exactly what to expect. If you pick up the Scotts Directory or Yellow Pages and pick any name or company to call, because “it happens to be there,” do not expect amazing sales results.
3. Always follow up:
Begin with making 10 cold calls per day. Increase this number to 40 or more, over time. And always follow up on those leads. How many networking events have you attended whereby you meet interesting people, but you never hear from them again? Most people do not live up to what they say they will do. Be different. Watch what will unfold when you do this over the phone.
Do not fear the word No. Every No will lead you closer to a Yes. In fact, when you hear the word No, remember that you are getting closer to a Yes from someone else. Also, a No today might turn into a Yes in 6 months from today. Be patient.
Group your calls into deals you can close today, in 3-6 months from now, and in a year from now. The more you follow up on your efforts, the more cold calling will work for you. Integrate social media, referral marketing and cold calling in your sales efforts. So many great things will start to happen.