Cold calling is a process of selling where you are trying to get the interest of someone in your products and services, although you do not know each other. Most of the time, cold calling gets you a cold shoulder from the prospect. This technique is not for the faint-hearted. But why should you even bother to do it?
The answer is that the technique yields a positive result. It is one of the few ways you can unearth previously unsuspected contacts, people not satisfied with the existing situation or willing to look for a better deal. The best way that you can approach is to keep in mind that it is not likely to be a pleasant experience and be ready with some good strategies.
Here are some tips for successful cold calling:
Prepare a good list of targeted prospects. A more organized approach yields higher potential success of your effort. You can do this by using a targeted prospect list rather than a random approach. Think of the activity as a networking process. You can start building your network by calling existing clients and asking them for names of their friends who may need your product / service.
This approach yields three advantages. First, it expands your prospect list. Then, it gives you an introduction when you call the prospect. Lastly, it maintains your relationship with current clients. And, who knows, there may be new business opportunities your existing clients want to discuss, so the call by itself would be fruitful.
Other sources of prospects may include Yellow Page listings, Internet search engines, industry publication mailing lists and advertisements, and mailing lists of conventions or trade shows.
Set your own objectives. For this to be a successful activity, you have to set your own goals. Keep in mind that you are playing the law of surprises – sooner or later, you'll strike gold. Set a schedule (day / time) your calls. Your aim must be to be able to speak directly with the person who makes or influences the decision to buy.
Define your successful result. To avoid getting downhearted, remember success in cold calling is not measured by an immediate deal. Rather, the goal really is to start a new relationship with a prospect, who will want your product / service at some time. 'Some time' may be now or a month from now.
The best outcome from such a call is setting up a meeting with the prospect. Even if the prospect does not have an immediate project in mind, try to schedule a face-to-face meeting to present your product / service and distribute your marketing materials. If this is not possible, the next-best output is where the prospect turns down your offer but refers you to others who can use your product / service.
Keep calling. Since you will need to call a number of prospects, you should keep the small talk down to a minimum. Your time is precious, so dial another number without replacing the handset as soon as you complete your call. Putting down the phone may cause you to lose your rhythm and to get distracted by a less intimidating activity.
Employ the aid of a script. It's not unusual to feel nervous during your calls. For this reason, a good prewritten script would be a big help. The script keeps you away from stumbling when talking to your client. You can also maximize, and avoid wasting, the little time a person on the other line is giving to you. It pays to be prepared when cold calling.