Cold calls fear cartoon

For many telesales people, calling companies or more importantly people they’ve not spoken to before is a part of the job. However even with seasoned campaigners, cold calling is often the part of the job they enjoy the least. And yet it is so important. The only way to grow a business of course is to find new customers or clients. And so we need to do it anyway. There are many tips I could give, but here are 7 to get started;

1. Don’t be put off by the cold calls you receive at home.

It is easy to assume your cold call will be received badly. That you’ll sound like the type of person who calls you at home in the evening to sell you something like utilities, home improvements or payment protection insurance. But you’re calling someone at work in a work capacity. And you’ll be talking about something you’ve thought about and you know why you’re calling them.  Don’t tar all cold calling activity with the same brush. 

2. Believe in what you’re selling.

Clearly, selling is the art of persuasion, and so you need to be clear on what you’re selling and what it’ll do for your prospect. This is equally true of telemarketing as it is of telephone selling. If you don’t believe in it, why should they? Get clued up on your products and services and how they help. Work out ways of describing them in clear and interesting terms. Listen to how colleagues describe the products and services to pick up pointers. I find the more I talk to prospects the more highly tuned my pitch becomes. You learn from the reaction and response of your customers. Use it. Never stop learning.

3. Make your approach client focused

Ensure your approach considers what you’re describing from the customer’s point of view. After all, they’ll make the decision, so you want it to sound as attractive a proposition as possible from their perspective. “What’s in it for me” is the guiding principle here. “This will be great because it will save you lots of time / hassle / money.” That sort of thing.

4. Count your activity

Slightly contentious this one perhaps. But I find it really helps to count your activity, to understand your results and to use this to motivate yourself. If you know that it takes 30 calls to get one new prospect, then surely this is good to know. I target myself on 20 calls per hour when I’m in the office. And I’m sure I wouldn’t achieve anything like this amount if I didn’t count activity. If you’re managing a team it is EVEN MORE IMPORTANT.  

5. Leave voice-mail when you don’t get through

Accept that on the majority of calls, you won’t get through to the person you need to speak to. Don’t worry, this is all part of the game. Just roll with it. 75% of the outbound calls I make, I don’t get through to the person I need to speak to.

And if the receptionist offers you voice-mail always accept it. You don’t always want to leave a message admittedly, but always accept it. You’ll be surprised how many times your contact picks the phone up, even though you’ve just been told you’ll be put through to their voicemail.

If it’s a cold call or certainly a first time call, it’s always worth leaving a message. What it they DO want your service? It’s a way of getting on “their radar.” Keep it brief. Your name, the name of the company and what the call is about as well as your phone number of course. They won’t often call back perhaps, but you’re playing the numbers game, and so it’s worth it.

6. Make sure you sound enthusiastic

It’s important you sound positive when making all calls. Your voice and tone convey your level of confidence, your motivation and therefore your persuasiveness. Enough said!

7. All contact is part of a continuum

It is easy to assume that if you don’t get through, or they won’t take your call, or they don’t respond to your message, or they don’t acknowledge your e-mail that they’re just not interested. It’s not necessarily true. It probably means they’re just not interested at the moment. Today, this very minute or whatever. Certainly for B2B telemarketing or telephone selling you’re attempting to build a long-term, ongoing relationship with the customer.  So contact them again. Use alternatives such as e-mails, eflyers, letters, brochures etc. You only give up if you talk to the decision-maker and establish that they would never have a use for your services – EVER!

To Market regularly works with clients who want to help expand their customer universe by making more sales calls, more often with higher levels of success. We work with clients across the Midlands and over the last few months have worked in Peterborough, Tamworth, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Wellingborough, Kettering, Northampton, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Warwick, Leamington Spa, Solihull, Lichfield, Birmingham and Coventry

originally posted 21st Feb 2014