“Hi Neil, my name is xxx and I am calling from xxx wines. Let me tell you right away that this is a sales call and I simply want to find out if you are interested in a promotion we are running this month, that offers some fantastic wines and at great prices, with free and hopefully the next day delivery.”

What got my attention about this “pitch” (I hate the word by the way) was that he got straight to the point and added a touch of realism with the word “hopefully” (now nobody likes that word) and I love realism!

I told the guy that it was a great call and because of his directness, he gets the sale and I promptly ordered a case of wine, which he told me that should be with me the next day, but we were getting close to the deadline so he didn’t want to offer a guarantee.

The wine arrived and lived up to expectation.

The words “cold calling” can send shivers of fear running down even the most experienced of salespeople and for new business owners, they are terrifying!

But for me, it is the fastest way to go out and connect with a new company, promote what you are doing and get a result – one way or another.

Now for all of you digital marketers out there and companies who have invested heavily in digital marketing, I am not for one minute saying it is not effective and having been around the Internet since its commercial inception and through the early marketing days.

I advise everyone to have a digital marketing strategy whether a single person startup or a large business.

But with cold calling, you can reach your target audience immediately and if you do it correctly not only get a good result, but also a ton of information and contacts.

The “human factor” itself can be the main factor for success in today's ultra-competitive and volatile economy.

When I started my technology staffing business, I researched a list of target companies, all of which were huge International corporations and found out the names of the executive assistants of the Chief Executive Officers (CEO’s).

My approach was simple:

I called the assistants and asked for their help, explaining to them that I had researched their companies, understood their vision, their strategy and had produced a list of top-flight specialists who I believed would be able to assist them, plus they had selected their company as one they would like to work for.

I further added that I didn’t want to waste the time of the CEO, as I knew how busy they was hence my approach to them (the assistant).

Now I never actually got to speak to the CEO, but I did get referred to the head of technology services in this case and as a bonus, the assistant re-wrote my proposal in their own “company speak” to help me.

From one call, I received a ton of information and simply through just asking for help.

It’s an approach I also used to help a client who struggled to market their own luxury beauty products that were targeted to high-end retailers:

Calling the top executives of the larger stores across the country very quickly produced the names of the relevant buyers, who were now being approached from a “top-down” perspective - it is a lot easier to call someone cold, but with the mention of having spoken to the “boss” than it is to call completely cold.

So here are my top tips for making cold calls:

  • do your homework and make sure you understand as much as you can about your target company, person or prospect
  • be very natural on the phone and that means no “pitches” of scripts as everyone can see straight through them
  • state your purpose – if  you are trying to get your product sold in a store, for example, be honest about it and if you are looking for a meeting then do the same
  • make sure you have some follow-up information to send them, in the form of a PDF, brochure and don’t simply tell them about your website, the follow-up is even more important than the call
  • finally, if you are rejected and have the phone slammed down on you, then simply move on, I have never seen a hospital bed occupied by a person rejected on the phone!

In my experience, the higher you go up the executive chain in larger companies and the more owners you speak to in smaller ones, the higher the chances of success.

Owners and executives are fully invested in the success of their companies and will give you time if you can help them in their success.

Cold calling is a key component in the sales cycle and still has a place in today’s digital economy, so take the plunge and go out there and do it.

You may be amazed by the outcome.

But I must re-iterate one point again – do your homework, the world of selling has changed and thanks to the Internet.

We are now a “buying economy,” where people can get information very quickly and make informed decisions about suppliers and their markets.

Make it easy for your prospects by ensuring you take a “factual” approach to selling and that you can clearly articulate the value of your products and/or services.

Rather than sell, try to educate your customers about how to buy from you!

Blog by Neil Franklin Consulting, www.neiljcfranklin.com

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