Whether you are just starting out in sales or you are a seasoned sales representative in your field, if you want to increase your customer base and your sales, cold calling is an absolute necessity. Cold calling is an art which must be mastered in order for you to be successful in sales.
Most sales people dread the thought of cold calling. I however am elated at the opportunity. Why wouldn’t I be? It’s an opportunity to take on the challenge of gaining a new account, getting new sales, establishing more relationships and making more revenue! If you’re in sales and you don’t love getting a sale, you’re probably in the wrong field of work.
Some “experts” say that “cold calling is dead” because we can all connect through social media first before proceeding to make a “warm call”. Sure, in some cases this is true. However if you discover a new potential customer who’s ad you saw online or who’s business you drove by and noticed for the first time, are you really going to go home and stalk them on the internet and waste an hour or more of your time Googling their company, looking them up on LinkedIn and seeing if you have any common connections before you send them an email? And what do you do if you don’t have any common connections?
In my opinion, I think that anyone who preaches and practices this is simply just too chicken &*%$ to pick up the phone and actually do a cold call.
In Canada, it is also illegal to email any business or individual without their explicit consent. Our anti-spam legislation here is so strict that if let’s say you look up a potential customer’s email address on their website, send them an introductory email about you and your company, you could personally face a fine of $1 Million and your company could face a fine of up to $10 Million.
So what should you do? That’s right, pick up the phone and make that cold call! I know you hate to, but when I first started out in sales and was dreading it, I always told myself “Suck it Up Princess!” and that seemed to do the trick. After all, you have nothing to lose.
If you make the call, you might get a sale (and possibly repeat sales).
If you don’t make the call, you certainly won’t get the sale.
Okay, so you’re ready to make that cold call. Now what do you say? This is what you should and should not do on a cold call:
- Warmly introduce yourself and the company you are calling from
- Ask the person answering the phone nicely how they are doing and make note of their name. Keep record of their name. They may be a decision maker or you can reference their name later when you make that follow-up call or visit.
- Tell them very briefly (single sentence ) what your company does and how you found about them
- Ask them if they are currently using any similar product/services your company provides. At this point, if the person answering the phone is capable of answering your questions regardless of the answer, ask to make an appointment with them AND /or the other person in charge of making decisions in this area. If they do not know, THEN ask who might be the person in charge of making decisions and if you can speak with them. If you offer to include the person to whom you have made your initial contact in your meeting request, it is a sign of respect and even if they are not involved in the decision making process, they will more than likely gladly point you in the right direction.
- Be nice to everyone. You are not familiar with the company hierarchy and if you want to get to the decision maker and want to establish a long working relationship with a new potential customer, you should be kind and thoughtful to everyone you interact with.
NEVER, I repeat NEVER just call and immediately ask to speak to the “Manager” or “Person in Charge”!! I cannot emphasize this enough. You NEVER know who is answering the phone. The person answering the phone may be the owner of the company, it may be their spouse or their star employee. If you assume the person answering the phone is just a means-to-and-end-answering-service, they will very likely HANG UP ON YOU and deservedly so. That kind of attitude immediately spells to the person answering the phone that they are inadequate and not worth your time. So why should they help you? That’s right, they shouldn’t. I certainly wouldn’t.
So the next time you’re tempted to run and hide behind your computer screen instead of making that dreaded cold call, suck it up Princess, pick up that phone and be your lovely self. The sales will come.