How to Make a Cold Call That Sparks a Fire
A cold call is a useful way to initiate contact with a potential client… but having said that, it needs to be done properly. After all, we all know how frustrating unwanted calls can be, with so many spam calls still plaguing our telephones. So, what’s the key to successful cold calls in this age of call screening? Let’s break down the practices you should follow.
Prepare Yourself for a Successful Call
To really make your calls as successful as possible, you need to go into them with a clear strategy in mind. We recommend that you take the time before dialing to determine:
- Who you are talking to. What’s your point of contact’s name, and what role do they serve in the company? This is important to consider, as you’ll need to address them appropriately to their level of influence. Talking to an administrative assistant and talking to a CEO are two different experiences, so you’ll need to address them appropriately for their roles.
- Why you are calling? You need to make your intentions clear very early on in the call, whether you’re looking to add them to a mailing list or invite them for a business lunch. People are busy, and even if they weren’t, they aren’t going to be particularly motivated to listen to you waffle before you get to the point. When someone gets on the line, be polite, but direct.
- What value you have to offer. This is the real key to the cold call. As said by Marshall “Eminem” Mathers in his song Lose Yourself, “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow.” You need to prove that A) you have something they need, and B) that you’re their best option to get it. Don’t be afraid to do a bit of cyber snooping to find out what you can about the business and who you’re likely to be talking to.
Once you’re ready, you need to be prepared to make the call. This becomes a lot easier if you have a loose script of sorts to follow. Let’s run through a hypothetical call here to map out how your actual calls could go.
How Your Calls Could Play Out
Let’s start where all calls begin: the greeting.
Your first step is to inform the person on the other end of the line who you are and what business you’re representing, followed by why you’re calling and (if applicable) who referred you to them. Using the proper title and name of the person on the other end is important. When ending your greeting, it helps to ask the kind of question that a “yes” response would be ideal, but a “no” won’t leave you without options. For example, “Is this a good time to talk?”
Their response will dictate how you proceed.
If their reaction is positive, express your appreciation and keep it brief. This is a good sign, as they’ve already expressed at least a passing interest in what you have to say. As a result, they are more likely to hear you out and listen.
If their reaction is negative, let them know that you understand that they’re busy, and promise to be brief. From there, there are a few ways that the situation can play out. You can risk being hung up on and launch into an abbreviated pitch, or ask if you can schedule a time to call that works for them. You can also ask if someone else could take the call. If all else fails, ask if you can send them some information or possibly add their company to your mailing list. It’s important to not push too hard, as that might only alienate you further.
The Value Statement
Provided you’ve made it to this stage, this is where you should disclose the value that you have to share with them. Every business has its troubles, so you’ll want to demonstrate an understanding of these troubles and offer to help them with them. At the same time, you can butter up their ego a bit by adding a brief disclaimer, along the lines of, “I’m not sure if this is something that you need our help with, but I can discuss our services with you if you’d like.”
Inquisitive Bait #1
Throughout your call, asking the right questions in the right way can help you add little hints of value. For instance, at this point, confirm with them that this is a conversation they want to have: “Are you comfortable talking about how you could stop wasting time and money on preventable technology issues?”
The Emphasising Pitch
At this point, start discussing some of the issues that your services can help resolve, sticking to the problems that small businesses frequently face: slow or broken workstations, missing security patches, and the frustration of having to wait for support. This makes it a near guarantee that specific examples will come to mind, and prime them for your next question.
Inquisitive Bait #2
Once you’ve reminded them of their challenges and established your business as the key to fixing them, you’re ready to push ahead and try for the next stage. Ask them when would be a good time to meet up and discuss these challenges in greater detail with you, whether it’s in the form of a lunch meeting all the way to a practical demonstration or network audit. Acknowledge that your unexpected call left them without much time in the moment, and ask when a better time would be later.
If their reaction is positive, make the plans and commit them to your schedule. Behind the scenes, you can start to use the information you gathered earlier to prepare the rest of your campaign materials.
If their reaction is negative, don’t give up just yet. Revise your offer to something other than a demo or other onsite service. Offering them this alternative will help you determine why they are hesitant to continue in the process, and how you can relieve this hesitation. Whether their challenges come from timing, finances, or if they just don’t think they need you just yet, schedule a follow up and ask if you can send them mail or additional materials. Be polite, but adamant.
Preparing a script for your team to follow (NOT read from) can be useful, so long as it is practiced until it becomes second nature.
We get it… cold calling can be an intimidating thought, but if done right, it can prove to be invaluable to your business. We can help you improve your cold calling skills with templates and scripts designed to be as effective as possible. For this kind of assistance with cold calling or any other marketing, your business is attempting, give us a call at 888-546-4384 today.