Whether youre new to sales or a grizzled veteran, the thought of making a true cold call is unlikely to be on your favorites list. Luckily, there are simple ways to warm up a call that dont require major changes to your approach. Lets take a peek at six of them.
TARGETED PRE-CALL LETTERS
One of the easiest ways to warm up a cold call is to send a series of pre-call letters to the decision makers you are trying to reach within a company. Yes, I said letters. Michael Boylan in his latest book Accelerants talks about a simple methodology of sending letters to each of the key decision makers within a company under the guise that theyll talk to one another, and there will need to be a decision made as to whom the call should be fielded by once you actually do call. This turns the tables to where the decision maker actually expects your call versus being blindsided by it. Place a date and time to expect your call, and be sure to make the call on time. Often times, youll have a decision maker within the prospective company call you to where you dont even have to place the call. If you haven’t read Michael’s book, I highly recommend it.
USE FIRST NAMES ONLY
When you finally do call that key decision maker on your list, try using his/her first name only when the gatekeeper answers the phone instead of their formal name. If the gatekeeper asks who is calling? simply state your first name in return. This will make the call sound more personal in nature and greatly increase your chances of getting through. If the gatekeeper asks if the decision maker is expecting your call, the answer is obviously yes if you sent the pre-call letter ahead of time.
DO A SOFT TRIAL CLOSE
When you cold call someone, your objective is to get the prospect to say yes to something (or many somethings). Instead of pushing for the hard close outright, try asking them if theyd like to hear more or if theyd object to hearing more. Its a little softer and should lead to a positive response if there is even the most remote of opportunities. Once theyve agreed to hear more, you can dive into the meat of your call to better qualify them and/or uncover more pain to position your product as a potential solution to that pain.
DEVELOP YOUR OWN WEBSITE
Having your own website that captures basic leads is a must in todays business climate. Dont expect your employer to develop a website for you either. After-all, why should they? Its your job to make sales so what is holding you back from having a website working to capture leads for you 24/7? The beauty of having your own website, aside from the obvious, is you can change it up should you change jobs, and the leads will go with you versus sticking with your employer. If you have a non-compete, youll obviously have to avoid the clients you signed for your employer for a set period of time, but your pipeline will be relatively full if youve done a good job with the site.
START A BLOG
The next step after setting up your own website is to launch a blog so people can keep up with you and your tribulations. Blogs are more personal or journal-like in nature so you dont have to be as formal which will allow your personality to shine through a little more, and people will feel as if they know you better. Look at it this way, if your prospect is digging through information on each company pitching them today, your website and blog will set you apart from your competitors that dont have such tools implemented. Youll look more professional, and theyll feel as if youre in it for the long-haul versus a one time sale.
JOIN BUSINESS SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES
Sites such as Xing, LinkedIn, Spoke, or Tribe all provide social networking for the business professional. Even MySpace or Facebook are getting some corporate play these days because people want to connect and get to know who they are dealing with. The days are almost gone where someone is completely unknown so its probably better to embrace that fact than to fight it.
Cold calling can become warm calling with a few minor changes that turn the tables more in your favor. Try a few of these tips to see if they can improve your success rates.
Roger Bauer is Founder and CEO of SMB Consulting, Inc., a leading small business consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, web design, SEO, sales and marketing, and business analysis. To learn more, point your browser to http://smbconsultinginc.com