Recently my husband and I had a business meeting regarding purchasing a resource for our business and the person that we were meeting with started asking us questions about what we do. That old chestnut cold calling came up and the supplier expressed the difficulty he found in doing it.
I completely understand it, it can be daunting picking up the phone to an existing client furthermore a completely cold one. However, we are in a day and age where, although, technology and social media and on-line marketing strategies seem to have taken over, making calls is still a viable way to gain customers.
I am no stranger to cold calling as my back ground is in sales and cold calling was an essential part of my daily routine. So here are a few things to remember when making cold calls:
- Confucius says “The start is always the hardest part” so just get on with it. The sooner you do it the sooner you will get used to it. Pick up the phone and make the call, the more you do it the better you will get.
- Smile, before you pick up the phone smile and smile through you introduction. Surprising your smile translates through the phone and positively impact the sound of your voice and your energy. People buy people so you need to convey warmth from the very beginning
- Use a script – if you have a clear idea of what you are going to say and the kinds of questions you are going to ask, it makes it easier to pick up the phone. Again practice makes perfect, it’s important not to simply sound like you are reading. The principle applies, the more you do it the effective you will become.
- Treat gatekeepers with respect, they are people just like you and are under various pressures. Just by asking how someone is, empathising with them, being warm and patient or making them smile you can get them on your side.
- Small talk is important, showing a real interest in the person that you are speaking to can make a difference. Remember sales is about relationships and people buy from people they like.
- Ask open questions to gain information and closed questions to gain confirmation and commitment.
- Ask for the sale or the meeting or whatever it is you wanted out of the call. It makes no sense going through all of this to just hope that they will buy from you. It’s a waste of time, effort and energy not to mention money.
- Don’t take rejection personally. You never know what someone is going through so don’t make their rejection all about you. Just move on to the next one.
- Include cold calling in your marketing mix – variety is the spice of life.
- Go for it… if you don’t ask you won’t get, simples!
Remember to have a clear focus for you call but more importantly just do it!