Few of us enjoy making cold calls, but for many salespeople cold calling is inevitable. Here are six tips to help warm your next cold call:
- Don’t make the cold call your first point of contact. Instead, start with a letter or email. Introduce yourself, your company, and the products or services you provide. Explain the benefits the prospect will gain from working with you, and let them know you will be following up with a phone call to set up an appointment to talk.
- Or the last. Don’t jump right into a sales pitch on your first cold call and expect to close a sale. Respect the person’s time, their schedule, and the fact that your call was not on that schedule before you made it. Ask if this is a good time to talk. If it isn’t, suggest times when you could call back, or offer to meet in person if that will work better for the prospect.
- Do your homework. Find out ahead of time who you should be contacting at a prospective company. Learn what you can about their business and how your solution can best fit their needs.
- Prepare an outline. Have some idea what you want to say before you make your call. Start with a script if that makes you comfortable, but try not to make it sound too mechanical or forced. Relax as best you can and try to be yourself. Your preparation and earlier contact should help.
- Ask questions. Don’t do all the talking. Instead, introduce yourself, and then ask the prospect about their company and the role they play in it. Listen carefully to their responses. Work to build a rapport and connect with them one-on-one.
- Follow up. As your call wraps up, try to set a time to meet face-to-face or over the phone again. After hanging up, send another email, thanking the person for their time, and reminding them of any future appointments you made. If they had questions you were unable to answer on the spot, find those answers and pass them along as quickly as possible. And create a schedule of regular follow-up activity to help you stay front-of-mind.
So what other advice do you have for warming up cold calls? I’d love to hear your suggestions and success stories in the comments below.