When it comes right down to it, cold calling probably isn’t any salesperson’s favorite way to spend time. Speaking to a new person for the first time is awkward enough anyway, and many individuals and companies make it clear that they don’t appreciate receiving cold calls. If done right, however, cold calling can generate some valuable leads. The following tips will help you spark your cold calling program.
1. Do Customer Research
Before picking up the phone, find out as much as you can about the business or individual whom you are calling. Items of interest include people in a head position (in a company), people who have been newly promoted, the needs of the company or individual, and how you might be able to meet those needs.
When you cold call a company, for instance, don’t simply ask to speak to “the person who makes decisions about health insurance.” Instead, know who that individual is and ask for him or her by name. When you get on the phone with your lead, offer a compliment or make a comment showing that you know something about the business. For instance, “Congratulations on being voted the Chamber of Commerce Person of the Month,” or “Congratulations on your promotion to Human Resources Manager.”
Finally, acknowledge who is presently meeting the customer’s need and ask if there are any gaps that you might be able to fill. For instance, “I know you currently buy health insurance through ABC Company. Their rates climbed pretty steeply at the end of last year. Can we set up a time for me to tell you about our rate structure?”
2. Use Lead Nurturing Techniques
It’s not realistic to expect to score a huge sale on your first phone call. Instead, go for a smaller “yes.” That could mean getting the person to agree to a face-to-face meeting, to look at materials you send via email or regular mail, to talk again on the phone at a later date, or even to follow you and your company through social media.
Lead nurturing means being interested in more than just a sale. It means coming to understand your lead’s needs and showing him or her that your company is the right one to meet those needs.
3. Use Online Lead Generation
If your company has a web page, and you should, develop a brief online form that customers who want more information about your products or services can fill out. When a potential customer completes the form and clicks send, your company will immediately receive an email with the lead’s name and contact information. When using online lead generation, it is important to follow up with leads as quickly as possible so they don’t lose interest or, worse, select a competitor to provide the goods or services they are looking for.
Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and also be a valuable way to generate leads online. On Facebook, you can set up a business page and even run ads based on your average customer’s demographics. Again, if a lead contacts you through social media, it is important to provide a personal response as soon as possible.
Cold calls can make even the best salesperson sweat a little bit, but if done right, they can be quite profitable.