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Sunday, March 25, 2012

What I know about cold calling...

I have to admit, on my list of favorite things, cold calling would not be at the top. I am by no means a cold calling queen or guru. However, I make business calls all the time. I am also in charge of cold calling clients to invite them back or tell them about our promotions. Some of these clients are people I have never spoken to, or who haven't been in for quite a while. In other words, they have gone cold. So, I decided to write a post to help those who have a hard time with it, because I've been there. And I've found that it gets much easier with practice, and by following a few simple guidelines...

Tip #1

In order to be successful at any type of presentation, you have to prepare. And cold calling is a type of presentation. Just look at it that way. You're doing an introduction at an attempt to establish future business. Prospects don't have time to talk to someone who doesn't have anything to say. They want you to get to the point of what you are looking to achieve for their business. And yes, this puts pressure on you. However, it's part of the process. You're building a relationship with someone who doesn't know you yet, and you have to know what you're talking about, and show that you genuinely want to help them.

Keep it brief

People are busy, and their lives are stressful. They'll usually have a limited amount of time to talk to you. Around five minutes, tops, unless they indicate otherwise. So fit your introduction and key points into your call in that amount of time. Don't be afraid to ask questions about what their needs are, or details of their business operations. And ask from a point of understanding and genuine caring. Be patient and kind. If the prospect wants to keep talking to you, they will. And that's usually a good sign.

Tip #3
Keep it simple and friendly

Unless you're in a board meeting, or talking to a prospect with a business degree, you want to keep your conversation in the simplest terms possible. Explain what you're offering them on a level that anyone who might be listening can understand. Prospects/clients have a tendency not to admit when they don't understand something, so if you go over their head, you could lose them before you start. As I said before, be patient and kind. Be energetic and passionate about what you're offering them. And expect a positive outcome.

Tip #4
Create value

Creating value is all about researching what your particular prospect/client's needs are. In this "getting to know you" stage, think of it as a perfect opportunity to ask questions that indicate your willingness to help your prospect. You need to make your call all about them, and what is best for them. And genuinely care about providing them with the best value for their dollar. Providing helpful tips to your prospect can only build trust and respect, and make them want to do business with you. In other words, genuinely act in a way that is helpful to them. In other words, don't be annoying. Every call you make should add value to their lives, and their business. If you don't think your call could possibly add value, then wait until another time when you have something better to offer them.

Tip #5
Make the call

This seems to be the toughest part for a lot of people. We dread things that we don't practice doing out of fear. Fear of what that person might say to us, or how they might react. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, that fear is irrational. Yes, there are people who will not want to hear from you. It's happened to me, and it's happened to all of us. But you shouldn't let that stop you from making the next call. Maybe someone was rude when you called them. I've had a client get so upset that I sent her a thank you card, that she complained to my company! If you can believe that. There will always be people who don't appreciate your sincere gestures to reach out to them, which is their loss. Just move on to the next one, and make sure to send Christmas cards to the rude ones. Just kidding.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

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