Is Cold-Calling Dead? Not If You Do It Right!
The top two ways to generate quality new leads, according to marketing gurus, are referrals from clients or partners and cold-calling or telephone prospecting.
Although referrals are important, it is still necessary to actively develop new business in order to grow your customer base.
Cold-calling – whether in person or by phone or email – is still one of the most efficient and effective ways to seek out and establish relationships with new prospects.
People who say cold-calling is dead often do not understand the goal of the practice.
You should not expect to close a sale during a cold call.
Every sale goes through an inevitable cycle from introduction to information gathering to offering a solution to final closing.
But cold-calling is a reliable technique for getting your foot in the door of a new company.
Once inside, your aims should be to qualify the organization, to find out who the decision maker is and to get to know the gatekeeper.
If you do nothing more on a cold call than learn the name of the decision maker, qualify the prospect and obtain a gatekeeper’s name, you have succeeded.
If you’re fortunate enough to meet face to face with the decision maker when cold-calling, you should take no more than five or 10 minutes to introduce yourself, explain the purpose of your call and set up an appointment for a presentation.
If appropriate, you may engage the prospect briefly about their needs with respect to your product or service and offer some collateral materials.
Be sure to ask for contact information and inquire about the protocol for arranging a follow-up meeting. Be aware that your call is an interruption and show respect for the prospect’s time.
Here are some tips to keep in mind during cold calls:
- Be direct and forthright about why you’re there.
- Focus the conversation on the prospect’s needs and how you can address them.
- Make it clear that you are not there to waste their time.
- Ask permission to follow up at a later date, and then get the information you need to do so.
One of the biggest raps against cold-calling is that it is time-consuming because you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince.
However, by breaking down the barriers that today’s screening technologies create, it has to be considered time well spent.
A cold call is just one of a variety of ways to find prospects who might be interested in knowing what your product or service can do for them.
It does not automatically create a new customer, but it is targeted and effective and it can definitely open the door of opportunity.
In combination with softening letters, emails, flyers, networking events and trade shows, cold calling can be a key element in attracting new business.