Is there a "good" way to cold call?
My B2B Copywriting / Marketing / PR business has been successful over the years, but we need to expand our marketing efforts into cold calling. This is an area in which I have nearly zero experience and also to which I have some aversion. Any suggestions? (i.e. best day of the week, time of day to call, how to get around the gate keepers, etc.)
Great advice already here...in order to be as effective and keep my spirits up with some "rejection" or uncomfortable calls...my process is the following ..
Research: Who is my Ideal client? (Typical role, industry, etc)
Plan: What is the reason for my call? Introduce myself ? Set up a meeting? What is my unique value proposition? Why me vs. others? Having a message framework written out will help with communicating your thoughts clearly and concisely when the time comes .
Act: Pick up the phone and start calling! Keep notes on when it's best to reach people live...( Wed-Fri seem to be good times for me...10-3) It's a numbers game.. need to reach out regularly as noted may take up to 12 plus contacts to receive your "Yes or No" . Stay the course!
I have found as well that a Mindset of being curious and looking to help (not sell or push) has increased my success rate. Having your message include elements of your Purpose (Intention) , Process ( What and how your suggesting to move forward) , and Value ( What's in it for them to spend time with you) Will go along way as well!
Finally, trying to create "warm" calls is the best way to make it more comfortable for both sides...using references like common associations, events, or invitations will help keep the other person on the phone long enough for you assess if there is potential opportunity...Happy "out reaching" ...( I hate the term "cold")
First, a HUGE thanks to everyone who has responded! I really appreciate it! I've got a nice list of do's and don'ts from you all!! Wonderful advice. Thanks everyone!!!
Speaking as someone who strongly dislikes receiving cold calls, particularly those which are totally irrelevant to either my personal or commercial needs I would suggest the following.
1. Analyse the customer profile that you propose to serve. Know your customer.
2. Make sure you know the geographic areas you can service, particularly if you are
using a car or public transport to reach a client site. If you cannot reach the customer
there is no point in contacting them, unless you are operating a mail order service.
3. Never make a promise that you cannot fulfil.
4. Look at local an national press to see the situations vacant positions and what
they advertising/proovide. That will give you an indication whether they are likely
to want your sevices or not. In turn that will save your phone bill !
5. Find out the name of the decision maker that will or likely to want your services
and ideally telephone them; if you get the rebuff he/she is not taking calls, you can
always offer your product/services in writing and using their name and marking the
envelope "Private and Confidential- addressee only" means you are more likely to
reach that decision maker.
6. Do not go in to a long single sided speel; let the decision maker interested enough to
ask questions and from there you can carry on keeping them interested.
7 Do not use jargon.
8. Always confirm any agreement or would be interest in your product in writing so
that the would be decision maker will be aware you have taken on board what they
need, and your explanation why you think you can make that commitment.
9. Expect a fair amount of rejection and people putting the phone down, or ignoring your
mail. Mail- shots are expensive so choose your target audience carefully (see 5
above). Don't let that rejection make you feel negative. If you get a lot in the first few
hours,take a break and come back to it later.
10. Keep your answers to any questions short and to the point. Your do not want to bore
the potential customer.
I hope this gives you a few ideas and you may be able to adapt them to your needs.
Qualify your lead as much as possible before you enter. Find ways to communicate before you hit their door asking for business.
Since you are in B2B i would suggest to gather some very basic data about your client first and then go for it.For example what is their business,what time do they open(Will help in knowing the perfect time of the day when you can call;calling just 1 or 2 hrs after they open and before lunch will be perfect).While talking to the gatekeepers you have to convince them that you know what their business is and you are not just some random caller,I am sure 80% of the time this will help.
In case you do not have any data then you can obviously go ahead and call but make sure you engage them as much as you can.In my experience engaging a person especially when its a cold call,is extremely important.For example:A person might not take interest if you talk to them only about business or sound like someone who is just reading a pitch,there has to be conviction in what you say but if you can engage him,he will eventually listen to you and rest all is the quality of the pitch that you have prepared.
Great question Gery! The answer is a resounding YES! Absolutely. Cold-calling is one of the best ways to generate new business. What makes it so important is because you get to control how your company is positioned, how the information is delivered and can overcome objections and give certainty in that moment to the prospect. Most other ways of marketing are more of the "shotgun" approach of blanketing everyone and hoping for response. Very little control. In cold calling you can get very targeted with a much higher rate of success once you get good at it.
There are 3 things you must do for "good" cold calling:
1) Smile and be friendly! Nobody likes to talk to the pessimistic and confrontational telemarketer that sounds like an unhappy robot. Smile and engage your customers. have a natural conversation with them. Get your state of mind in a positive space every time you pick up the phone. If you get a rude person on the other line, shake it off when you hang up and start fresh. The best cold callers do that anywhere from 50-100 times a day. Once you get good, it becomes second nature and you will actually enjoy your day and have fun doing it!
2) Lead with the benefits to your prospect, not how great your company is! Talk to your client about frustrations, challenges and difficulties you know your target audience has and address those with new, exciting and unexpected solutions. You have to be creative and create intrigue very quickly in the call. If they are curious as to what you have to say, you will keep their attention. Make sure you do your home work on the client before you call if possible. If on an auto-dialer, make sure you know the main befits of your company and how you are different than your competition.
3) Ask intelligent questions! Some cold calls are just focused on setting the appointment. Avoid details and just get enough curiosity from the client so that they will commit to an appointment. If selling the product or service over the phone in one call, ask questions about their specific needs. "What is most important to you in (your product/ service)?" Make a list of the answers and address each one, in the same order to show how your product or service is the solution to their specific needs. Become the expert or consultant and the client will look up to you and most likely buy from you.
*When you are cold calling, depending on your strategy, you may or may not be calling on someone who actually has a NEED for your product or service and THAT specific time of your call. If not, get permission to check back with them later, add them to your mailing list if possible and move on. Don't get discouraged. Also, ask for referrals when a client does not need you at that point. Ask, "Who else do you know right now that WOULD benefit from (product or service)?
For more tips, watch my YouTube video on sales - CoachDavidBrownee or visit my website DavidBrownlee dot com. To schedule a COMPLIMENTARY 30 minute sales coaching call, sign up at my site.
Hope you find this post helpful and I look forward to talking with you!
Coach David Brownlee
High Performance and Business Coach
Trainer/ Key Note Speaker
Some good advice, some techniques straight out of the 80's...I started my career in a role where we did 120 cold calls a day.
If you're low complexity mass sales
Know your products benefit per industry
Script your cold call, don't deviate
When you hit a gatekeeper.. Ask their name, then address them by name in the very next sentence ...Write down the name and repeat it back with spelling if necessary.
Give a vague 10 second intro about who you are. Then DONT try get to the decision maker
Ask the gatekeeper, again by name ...And ask if you could please ask for them for their help. Don't say a word until they answer, it's a commitment you must get to get past the gatekeeper
Explain the reason for your call ...Don't sell, Analyse of there is an opportunity. Use the Measure you've done of their industry.
Explain that you've been tasked to gauge interest in how your *xyz• service or product has created certain benefits (like a 30% increase in sales)
Ask who would be the best person to chat to if you wanted to see if they would be open to an introduction of who you are and then ask if you also ask for their expert opinion.
In the gatekeeper world, they're trewted as such...Ask if they'd be willing to offer their open firstly- use this as an opportunity to gain inside info. Then ask when would be the time they'd recommend you call back for to get the decision makers opinion.
Use a that opportunity to get on a first name basis and ask if they be interested in seeing a monthly info brief as to new developing methods and competitive advantages they may have gained using tools or processes.
Create a quality news letter that has easy to read points that can draw attention to areas where you can leverage anxiety about being left behind by some innovation.
Now you use this database of ever increasing top decision makers to name drop to their competitors - explaining how they are proactively researching trends ...Your email address list quickly becomes a database of top decision makers...You become known to them as a consultant so when you sit Down to chat in more details ...The job is almost done
Cold calling is highly coupled to product market segment industry. Simply speaking: simple consumer items or services; cable services; charity and very few others. But if your product or service requires more than 30 seconds to significantly establish the value proposition, or acquistion of the product or service excesses $199 in price point offering, you need a process that gradually educates your intented audience over time. And either the middle step or next last step becomes a warm call. If you get that far, then you product or service has the value and got the client's attention to listen.
Most people cannot confront rejection and in cold calling one gets more rejections than acceptances. The only way out of this is to actually just do it. All ther advice in the world is not going to make it easier. Only improving ones confront of rejection and focusing on the acceptances.
Best to cold call is before 10am or after 3pm. Monday morning and friedays are very quiet. Have a friendly relaxed approach to calls and treat gatekeepers as your best friend as they can provide a wealth of info.
When I was skint, I took a job cold-calling in a totally saturated market - mobile phone contracts circa 2005. It had 'doom' written all over it.
The first thing I did was ditch the script. It had annoyed everybody, me included. I replaced it with: "This is a speculative call about mobile phone contracts. Do you have two minutes?"
To my astonishment, most responded not by hanging up, but with "Yes, if it's only two minutes."
The moral of the story: Be human.
The bit I find funny: I'm no people person, yet they told me the day I left that I'd been their best-ever sales person.
To email...If you're emailing cold contacts, be different. Be really - I mean REALLY chuffing clever, funny or thought-provoking in your subject field AND in your CTA.
It should take you hours to craft those two elements alone. If you're banging them out ten to the dozen, you're not taking it seriously enough. B2B is tough.
I'd be interested to hear how you get on. Do please share :O)
Be honest! Honestly be honest as the saying goes honestly saves many lives. Be upfront and make proper introduction of yourself, your name, your company or person which you are representing, about your product or issues, and an ultimate reason why you called. Because you can be of someone senior or junior to the recipient of your call, you may be less or more exposed than they recipient of your call, probably the recipient is not interested in your product or issue because it means nothing to his/her life, you got to make prior requirements study of the market trend, the lifestyle, the culture, the age group, which will allow you to be aware of the recipients interest and tolerance level. I am sure elder who are more experienced don't want nonsense from nuisance youngsters, professional may only be interested in imbibing professional matters, and there was someone who is in his golden age told me something which I totally agree "look I have seen all these before in my life, nothing surprises me anymore, most things which concerned me during my hormone hype of younger age are none of my concerns now, you go to respect the age and why I am here to talk to you about the event. So this again comes to being aware of market trend, of course knowing their age range, where they are coming from, the job positions they had been in, the kind of intellectual level, ethical level, culture and how traditional they are, how orthodox or conservative they are, how shallow or liberal they are must be known prior to calling them for things which makes him or her feeling annoyed. If you have attempted to call with something petty and that person got annoyed, you should stop, but if you are repetitively calling the person for the same kind of nuisance, then all I have to tell you is "grow up"
IMHO, I think cold-emailing is better. And I 100% agree with Robert, Do your homework on the company/prospect you are emailing. And having a clear, engaging, and consistent message.
Hi Gery, do not try to get around gate keepers. I promise you they are worth to you when they are on your side. Ask the gate keeper for a honest opinion, in most cases they know exactly the company's abilities and shortfalls. Learn first and pitch later.
Hi Gery, Lots of good perspectives to consider here. Cold Calling is hard, may not position your professional services well and consumes a lot of time with low return. It is best to warm your targets up any way you can. Best way is to research and identify someone who can introduce you to a target company - they don't need to know you well enough to refer you an intro will help. Also, any tactical marketing from direct mail, telemarketing, email, etc. can help create that receptivity. Make sure you have a leave behind. In your business, a tips booklet may be interesting and sustained.
As a "gatekeeper," my advice is very similar to many of the previous answers. Do your research. Just because someone is the head of a company, doesn't mean they are the person you need to speak with. If you do your research and you're sure the company could benefit from your product, finding the appropriate person to speak with is a huge step. Getting past the "gatekeeper" is easy if you're calling for the right person. Don't treat them like they're stupid. Too many cold callers try to get past the gatekeeper by being rude. We're people too, doing our job. Be warm and friendly, call us by name and treat us with respect. If you do that much, we'll at least try to help you get to the right person, or we'll advise you it's not a good time right now, but follow-up in 6 months. Majority of the time, I will ask for an email introducing the business. Then I can review it on my own time and put it in front of my boss to see if he's interested.
Also think about warm calling and using email to prep for calls. There are plenty of published stats on best days and times and a plethora of gatekeeper strategies and scripting to get results. However, if there is one thing I ABSOLUTELY SUGGEST you hire a professional sales coach for it is this topic. When I do it I sit with my clients when they call and we de-brief. You can get guidance from people who have done it well and from books or coach's suggestion but nothing beats personalizing and customizing it depending on who is calling, who you are calling, the call objective, etc., etc. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR and invest in an experienced coach to take you through design, execution and debrief of these calls. I GUARANTEE you will get your money back on the investment in multitudes.
http://www.coldcallingresults.com, Wendy Weiss, Queen of cold colling
Although it is typically not anyone's favorite thing to do, cold calling is still a very valuable option to generate and qualify leads. I believe for cold calling to get results it's all about qualifying the prospect. This is the most important aspect of any call to a potential client. You have to ask questions and find out why they will buy, why they may object, who makes the decision, the buying process for the client, if there is any competition, and the budget.
I would recommend that you do your calling Tuesday - Thursday in between 9:30AM and 3:30PM. Our team seems to get the best response during these times. I
Next, I'd recommend that you have a plan on how you're going to contact them. Everything has a script. Scripted calls, voice mails, and emails and any point of contact are paramount for you to deliver a consistent message. The scripts we use are concise and encourage prospect engagement right way. Too many people try to pitch before they identify if the prospect is a good candidate. I agree that knowing about your prospect is also key, so any opportunity to personalize your content will help your team. There are many tools that can help you do that (LinkedIN, data.com, InsideView).
Hope you find this valuable and good luck!
NO, NO NO. Cold calling, for the recipient is an irritation, an inconvenience and a growing plague. I have to deal with at least 10 a day, at all times of the day (and evening), despite being TPS registered and I would do anything I can to stop this nusiance. I have the intellect to find what I want, at the righ price and with the best match for my need ...all by myself.