I consider myself a bit of an expert on cold calling. Why is that you say? Because I practically cut my baby teeth on it. It was literally my first summer job–telemarketing. At the tender age of 15, I started first by selling ad space in a business directory in Montreal (using very BAD French). Then I progressed to peddling light bulbs and ultimately my telemarketing career peaked at its glory when I started selling cemetery property. It is a good (but gruesome) business. After all, what other service can you think of where literally EVERYONE needs it?
Through it all, I learned a lot about how to sell on the phone. Now I use my experiences in helping my small business coaching clients get new leads. Here are my pearls of wisdom that were honed by trials, errors and sometimes horrors through the years.
Don’t Do It
When I was a telemarketer, they gave us the phone book as our leads. Basically prospects needed to have a pulse and live in the city. Today, there’s social media and the internet and so many more resources to define your target. LinkedIn allows you to even write directly to the exact position and title of the exact company you want to work for. So when such a sophisticated world of communication exists, why would you go back to the stone ages? I know lots of people still do it but the ROI in my experience doesn’t justify the means. It’s for people who DON’T KNOW any other way or who don’t have a clearly defined niche.
Warm It Up
When I teach my clients to cold call, I help them warm it up first. I ask them to reach out to their networks and e-introduce them to their target audience. I make them go on the company website or YouTube channel to find anything relevant to a recent award, ad, news-something to engage the conversation. Kind of like “I’m calling because I saw your recent acceptance speech at the HR awards on YouTube and wanted to find out more about what you do”. This immediately sets you apart. I always enjoy speaking to reps who cold call me but who have done their research. They say a word about my videos or my book or ask me a question about my niching workshops-all info widely available to anyone who cares to spend 10 minutes on my website. So do the work and warm up that cold call. You’ll get a lot further with it.
Give Them Value
The only reason you should ever cold call anyone is if you’ve got something to help them with a need that you KNOW they have. For example, my clients who have to resort to (or prefer to) cold call offer a free consult or a ticket to a lunch and learn or a free download that addresses a relevant industry issue. The entire reason for the call has to be an invitation to give access to a solution.
Cut It Short
After quickly finding out if there’s interest in the solution and resource that you’re offering on the call, either end the call by thanking and asking if they know of anyone else in that pain or by booking the next time you’ll be seeing them. Don’t blather on, don’t take up too much time and be concise.
If you refuse to join the new world and want to default back to cold calling, please be my guest but if you implement these suggestions, you might just get better results and start to get better leads.