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Warming Up Cold Calling


Cold calling can be surprisingly productive

Cold calling can be surprisingly productive

People hate cold calling for good reason. It’s hard work and does not make you feel good about yourself. The cliché used by sales managers is that every cold call which fails gets you closer to a sale. It is true but it’s an agonising process to go through. Common scenarios are that you have to make 60 to 100 calls per day and you could get through to between 10 and 20 prospects of which one or two of them might end up buying your product or service. There are hundreds of ‘business opportunities’ which promise that you never have to do any selling and no cold calling which play on people’s fear of doing it.

Generally, people don’t like receiving cold calls either, particularly in the UK. The receiver picks up the phone, is met with a small barrage of information, gets asked a couple of ‘qualifying questions and then gets interrogated by the salesperson. The salesperson might then expect to close on something, whether that’s a meeting, a sale or sending further information. All in all, cold calling is an experience which leaves both sides feeling distinctly frosty after the moment has passed.

For both parties, it’s a strain. The salesperson is nervous about getting through to help them meet their call quota for the day, and they are often so surprised that the prospect does actually sound interested in what they are selling that they gush out a whole load of verbal nonsense that the prospect can be quite easily put off. The prospect is likely to have received several cold calls that day or that week already and may sound fed up with yet another intrusion into their working life, unless they have, of course, put in a blocker to having direct access in the form of an assistant or another gatekeeper.

But, the stark reality is that cold calling is still an effective way to find new customers if it is carried out with intelligence. Every other form of marketing to attract a prospect’s attention can be ignored, switched off, thrown in the bin, unsubscribed from, sent to the spam or junk mail folder and added to the ‘Telephone Preference Service’ list.

Cold calling is painful when carried out blindly. You can make it much more productive by applying some simple principles.

Firstly, remember that you are trying to build a relationship. If you went up to a stranger in a street and asked them out for a date without any preamble, the likelihood is that they would either laugh at you, walk away in a hurry, seeing you coming and try to avoid you, call the police or, perhaps, assault you! People who accept your offer are running the risk of going out with this stranger who could be a nut case.

Our natural instinct is to be suspicious of strangers which is why cold calling is thought of as being hard work. You have to ask a lot of people on a date in the scenario above before you meet someone that you genuinely like and who genuinely likes you.

To make your time productive, you need to have carried out basic marketing principles to make good matches. You need to assess the type of person who will buy your product or service. You need to work out what type of job they have and their responsibilities. You need to understand what type of difficulties or challenges they are likely to have in their working lives, which could be any number of things but could be something to do with finding efficencies, selling more or reaching more people. You need to understand the environment they are in and the forces which they have control and which they don’t have any control over.

How do you find out this type of information? You need to read their trade publications, you need to look at their ‘LinkedIn’ profiles on the web and see which ‘Groups’ they belong to. You need to look at their employment history and their achievements, find common ground amongst what you read, look at their Twitter feed to see what they are chatting about and who they chat with.

Once you have carried this background research, you are in a much better position to be able to talk with them in such a way that they feel as though you have bothered to find out about them. People like that. They feel respected when you have taken some time to get to know about them.

You also have to remember that the prospect that you are cold calling has all the information and the answers. You should not expect them to listen to something which you have or do without taking the time to understand their circumstances in detail.

Despite all of the background work that you do, you still might get rejected. But, in my experience, if you treat prospects well at this stage, it is far more likely that they will be happy to speak to you at another time when their circumstances have changed and you might be in a position to help them.

The main point to remember is that cold calling is effective as long as you improve our chances by ‘doing your homework’ and making the time you spend contacting them as productive for your prospects as it is for you. Don’t kid yourself that cold calling is a thing of the past. If you don’t do it, your competitors will.

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  1. 18/02/2012 at 3:47 am

    Thanks for your reason. I love make out the print IMDB

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