Cold Call Your Prospects: Is It That Scary?

For sales professionals, the cold calling/ cold mailing stage is the most important and challenging stage in the prospecting phase. Go big or go home – you would get the best leads, or your prospects may have permanent bad impressions about you.

After years of jumping back and forth between Marketing and Sales, I have known gained more insights about two sides of being client and supplier. Thanks to that, I have got the best lessons about prospecting that I could never get from textbooks. To start with being a salesperson, the cold calling is the most stressful task. It requires not only good strategy but also good sales techniques. Who says that salespeople earn loads of money thanks to their bright mind? And, who says that sales journey is rosy? Every time I hear my friends’ comments about the sales jobs, I have a good laugh about their naivety for thinking that selling is as cool as Leonardo’s ‘selling me this pen’ in The Wolf of Wall Street. For sales professionals, it’s common to feel anxious every time we cold call our targets and to get disappointed about rejection.

In meanwhile, when being in Marketing, I tend to have a lot of phone calls from the salesperson. I tend to take most of their calls and answer their emails out of my sympathy and professional courtesy. Also, I am curious to see how good the sales guy can be when I listen to every phone call. I have chances to see how some persons can be good sales guys, while others are the opposite. Here are some detailed tips to increase your effectiveness of prospecting and sales.

Choose The Right Person
As I mentioned in the previous post, there is a target within a target. When you have built up a good list of targeted companies for your prospecting, it doesn’t mean that you can stop researching. For each target company, you need to locate the right key contact for you. Cold calling no longer means that you call to whomever you can reach in a company. I have seen many sales guys calling to the receptionist to ask for being linked to anyone in Marketing or Purchasing departments. And what they usually greet me first? Asking my name and whether I am in charge of the role. It's not the worst move, but it will lower your chances to win your prospects.

The first impression is crucial for both your prospect and you. To create a good impression, you should do a little research on the key contact. Thanks to the social media, it is much easier to find the right key contact nowadays. Simply using Google, LinkedIn and other social media platforms to find out the exact person you should talk to. Find out his/ her name and position in the company so that you can greet him or her properly on the phone. Greet them with their names as you know them pretty well. The little research helps you not only create positive impression but also avoid stage freeze.

Research, research, research
Here are some tips for you to do an effective research on your target. Knowing the name and position is not enough to start a conversation. In the previous post, I talked about building a good list of target – a list of companies that belong to the same industry/ field and share common problems. The list helps you to narrow down the list of targets for your cold calling. It also helps you avoid annoying other customers. Why? One of my friends, who started her chocolate shop, was seeking for a professional chocolate temper machine on Internet. And days later, she was so annoyed to receive some calls and emails about selling T-shirt printers!!! Surely, the suppliers took the leads from the website and approached her without bothering to check her business. Therefore, you always have to ensure that your business is related to the business of your targets.

For researching, try to dig a little bit deeper about your target. Your target contact may be the decision maker, the key influencer or the connector for you to the decision maker. However, in the end, that person is a human, not a robot, and a human has personal likes and dislikes. Knowing a little bit more about that person on a personal level would help you break his/her wall. If you check their LinkedIn and other social platforms, you may know their dislikes as well as the professional solutions they are seeking. From that information, your pitch will be much related to your targets, and they can’t stop listening to your next sentences.

Right Execution= Right Timing + Right Context + Right Content
After you’ve got the right name and information you want to know about that contact, it’s important to turn all your preparation into good execution by employing the right techniques. When cold calling prospects, don’t forget to choose the right approach. It is not just about choosing the right topic. It’s also about reaching them in the right context, and using the right wordings. All the sophisticated words, or academic words from textbooks – don’t use them. It’s a phone call when people easily get distracted and bored if you use all the long, sophisticated words.

Besides, think about the right timing. A phone call is not designed for long business talks because people easily get distracted and bored. Some sales people keep rambling about their products, and business without realizing that the person on the other end is losing patience. Good salespersons will ask for a follow up by meeting in person or exchanging email for further discussion.

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With years of working as a Marketer and Copywriter, I have worked extensively in a number of projects for corporate and start-up companies in Asia Pacific, and North America.
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