Let’s face it: making and receiving cold calls is probably near the bottom of the list of things you prefer to do to increase your bottom line. You have to have nerves of steel, a deep well of patience, and the time required to keep up the volume of potential contacts in order to strike gold. Yes, it can be a little like playing poker for “real money” in that there’s no guarantee of success, but the chance is there to make off like a bandit, otherwise no one would gamble.
Fortunately, you can help take some of the chill out of cold calls through planning, knowing your product, and researching your prospects in order to make a convincing pitch. Strong conversational skills with genuine warmth can also give you an edge, and you want to infuse it into every step of the process.
In the planning phase, set clear objectives for what you want to accomplish. It’s best to focus on establishing an ongoing relationship than trying to muscle in a closed deal on the first try (though if you’re really good and offer outstanding value, you might make that happen).
Make sure that you know exactly how much leeway you have beforehand if you plan to customize a deal to a potential client. Vacillating on what you can and can’t do will damage your credibility and reduce your chances of success. Consistency in message and value are key, and you’re more likely to get an in-person meeting.
Second, you want to know your product thoroughly and believe it’s worth the money. You should easily be able to rattle off numbers and statistics backing up your company’s claims of fabulous, life-changing products and services, in addition to having some case studies on hand to illustrate the point. Those case studies will help paint a picture in your prospective client’s mind where you and your team alleviate bottlenecks, increase productivity, and generally make things less stressful. If you did it at companies A, B and C, you should have no trouble with theirs.
Researching your prospects is a huge deal as well, because you want to ensure that there is a viable match before wasting your and someone else’s time. Why is your company the best fit to address their needs? What do you understand of their infrastructure, practices, and purpose so that you can be the one to explain the challenges they face and how you can fix them?
Finally, conveying a sense of genuine warmth and personality will help make you sound more trustworthy and like someone they wouldn’t mind having a second talk with. In a corporate landscape where people are fast talkers and many transactions are sterile affairs, make an effort to sound like a human being who enjoys what they do, and who enjoys is solving other people’s problems.
Apply these strategies and see what happens. It can’t hurt, and maybe you can take some of the chill out of those “cold” calls.