Most people I meet in business avoid cold calling because they feel it doesn’t work for them, and they feel uncomfortable doing it.
As every tele-marketing company will tell you, there can be a place for cold-calling in every sales strategy, and the following tips will help you make the most of your calls.
1. Pick up the phone, because it won’t pick up itself!
The first thing you have to do is set yourself a target of how many calls you are going to make. For instance, if you’ve set yourself a target of 10 calls in a morning, then make sure you actually speak to 10 people. Leaving voice-mail messages doesn’t count! Only finish your cold-calling session once you’ve hit your target.
2. Get the gate-keepers on your side
It’s unlikely you will get straight through to your intended target, therefore you will have to get used to speaking to gate-keepers. The job of a gate-keeper is to keep you out of the corporate ivory tower, with stock phrases like “we have a no-names policy” or “we don’t take sales calls”.
More often than not, this isn’t actually the company policy but something the gate-keeper has decided to take upon themselves. So it is imperative you get the gate-keeper on your side, because they can become your greatest ally in getting through to your target. You can do this by getting their name, and using their name when you chat with them.
Without being patronising, you need to pander to their ego and ask them for their assistance. An easy way to do this is to simply ask: “I wonder if you can help me? If you were in my position how would you best go about arranging a short chat with Mr X?”
3. Call early and call late
If you want to give yourself the best chance of avoiding gate-keepers, then make your call when they are least likely to be there. For instance, if you make your calls outside normal working hours (before 9 and after 5) you have a better chance of the MD picking up the phone. So be prepared to get straight through to the person you want to talk to!
4. The only thing you’re selling is the appointment to have a chat
Many cold-callers make the mistake of trying to cram as many features of their product into the call as they can – for the person taking the call it can feel like their being drowned in a tidal-wave of information! Therefore make sure you strip your pitch down to the one key benefit most likely to interest your target, and then concentrate on getting the appointment to have a further chat about how you can help the target.
Ask questions like: “When is the best time for you to meet – early in the week or later?”
By doing this, the target will feel they are still in control of choosing the appointment slot.
5. Develop your “no script” voice
The biggest problem faced with cold-callers is that they often sound like they are reading from a script – that is because they are! So don’t write out a script, just jot down a few key bullet-points to remind you what you want to say. This will mean you will sound much more natural, and your customer will get a far greater sense of what you are about by how you are saying it, not what you are saying.