Is cold calling dead? Not at all, but there are some best practices that need to be followed so that this traditional lead generation effort can be successful. If you could use some more leads, then try incorporating some of these ideas into your next cold calling campaign.
1. Start Earlier Rather Than Later
Most people start their day by checking their email and voicemail. This is your opportunity to actually speak with someone because you know the person you’re trying to contact is going to be at their desk for the first hour of their day. Plan most of your cold calling efforts to be before 9am so that you can reach someone.
Don’t settle for leaving a voicemail and calling it good. Most people are not going to call you back if you cold call them with a message. They’ll hit the delete button as soon as they realize you’re trying to sell them something. Leave a short message to let that person know you called, that you’ll call back at a more convenient time, and that you’re looking forward to discussing an opportunity with them.
2. Make Time When You Get a Contact
The biggest problem with cold calling is that you never really know when someone you’ve contacted will become a lead. Although you’ll want to talk in person, sometimes a message has to be left. If you get called back, then you must literally drop everything to take care of that lead. They’ve made time to speak with you, so you’ve got to make time to speak with them.
Unfortunately these callbacks tend to happen at the most inopportune time. You might be in the middle of a meeting. You might even be negotiating a contract with another prospect. This is why it is important to have two or three people who are qualified to speak with a lead so that your cold calling efforts aren’t wasted should someone reach out.
3. Avoid the Awkward Conversation
When you do get to speak with someone, it is important to have a polished sales pitch that can be completed in 30 seconds or less. Shorter is always better. Having it be rehearsed is important, but it also must be individualized. If you are just reciting the same sales pitch to everyone, then you might as well just send out a form letter and not even bother with a phone call.
How can you make sure the sales pitch is individualized? Here are the three things you’ll need to do.
1. Research the business first.
Take a look at the company you’re contacting and see what problems you might be able to solve for them. Create a detailed plan of action that you can present during your 30 second pitch.
2. Research your contact.
You should be able to find the name of the person you need to contact. Research them as best as you can before calling as well so you can get to know them a little better. Facebook and Twitter are common tools to use here.
3. Get past the screener.
Many times someone other than your contact will pick up the phone first. Their job is to screen calls like yours out. You’ll need a plan to get past the first “No” so you can present your offer.
Your plan to get past the first level shouldn’t involve any dishonesty or misrepresentation. Just be straightforward. “My name is Joe Smith from ABC Enterprises and I’d like to speak with John Doe about TPS reports.” That approach works better than you might think.
4. Never Show Up Unexpectedly
Some agencies believe that cold calling by dropping a representative off in person at a place of business is a cold calling best practice. They’re wrong. It’s one of the worst things you can do. Even if you are successful in having a meeting, that representative is going to be sitting in the lobby, twiddling their thumbs for hours on end. If they don’t get a sale, they’ve wasted an entire day that they’re getting paid to waste.
That’s good for them, but not what’s good for business. Would you want someone to speak about TPS reports after you’ve planned out your entire day?
A best practice is to set up a meeting. If you do approach a business in person, don’t set the goal of talking business. Take 5 minutes and see if you can set up an appointment to speak about what you represent some time in the future. When you get an appointment, you’re also getting the opportunity to call a day or two before to confirm the appointment and reinforce your brand one more time.
5. Information Often Speaks More Than You Can
Cold calling best practices are used on the internet every day. When a website is created to provide useful information to potential leads, then this is replicating the traditional brochures and pamphlets that were left behind or mailed during cold calling marketing. You might have a website that is awesome, but those brochures and fliers are also still useful. Drop one off or offer to mail one as part of your 30 second sales pitch so contacts can research you on their own time.
Your information should be as complete as possible. Make sure that pricing strategies are included, testimonials can be useful, and be sure to include references. After a cold call contact, most leads will do 90% of the development work on their own. You’ll find that with the right information being distributed, people will call you back and all you’ve got to do is close the deal.
6. Create a Campaign That Involves Multiple Contact Opportunities
Many times the goal of cold calling is to create a sale. When money isn’t immediately made, then the results are seen as substandard. A cold calling best practice, however, is to create brand saturation and recognition within your target segment. You can do this by taking multiple cold calling approaches so that your brand stands out at the top of the minds of your segments.
- Distribute fliers door to door or send out postcards to specific zip codes.
- Follow up on the fliers or postcards with phone calls.
- If you get a phone call through, send a thank you letter for the time to the person involved.
Will this guarantee a sale? No. Will you leave a positive first, second, and third impression with potential leads? Very possibly. There will always be individuals who feel like the cold calling process is too disruptive and a turn off toward a sale, but this best practice will maximize the potential for results.
These cold calling best practices can help to compliment any marketing campaign. Implement them today and you may just see an improvement in revenues as a result.
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