Ah, the dreaded cold call. It is a tricky science, yes it is. However, it can be incredibly rewarding if you are willing to go outside your comfort zone. For some people, this can be WAY outside their comfort zone.
Please keep in mind; it is helpful to have already had experience making calls to family and friends first, before venturing into the world of cold calling.
#1 Script it
Create a basic written outline for what you are going to say over the phone.
You will want this to be somewhat brief. Make sure not to start out with phrases like “Hi sir/ma’am this is John Smith calling from Business Investments, Inc. to tell you about a fantastic opportunity for money-making. Would you be interested?”
From my experience, this will just make you sound like a telemarketer.
You’ll want to ask some genuinely intriguing question to hook them on the phone.
After you’ve created a brief written script, practice it loosely.
Confidence is key, and knowing how to work around your script outline while mid-conversation is important.
If you have a business mentor or friend, you may find it helpful to practice a mock cold-call over the phone with them and work on handling different objections (I recommend doing a Google Search of common sales objections to role-play with your partner).
#2 Generate Leads And Contacts
When searching for businesses to contact, you will want to start with a useful site like Yelp for easily gathering phone numbers.
Make sure you have a brief understanding of each business before you call them. Do your research, and learn about the company.
Finding numbers online myself has worked out fine for me when I was making all the calls myself. You can expedite the process buying leads from a lead generation company if you have the means to do so.
I like to keep record of the names and numbers of all the businesses in a spreadsheet (Google Sheets or Excel work swell).
I will also include the date of initial first contact, whether it was a voicemail or a live answer, and any other useful info on who you spoke with and what the next steps are.
#3 Make the First Call
If you don’t have experience cold-calling, you’re heart will likely be beating a little faster than usual at this stage…totally normal.
The longer you wait to press the call button, the harder it will be. The phone feels like it weighs about 10,000 pounds on the first call.
However, after about 4 or 5 more calls, that weight will have dropped massively.
Understand that your first few calls will likely be shaky, whether you have practiced your script or not. The key is to keep going and understand your outcome in the end.
Keep your outcome clear (write it down) so that you know why you are making all these calls in the first place
#4 Turn the Cold into Warm
When you have jumped over the hump and are finally on the phone, do your best to connect with the person on the other side of the line.
If they are bright and bubbly over the phone, then you will want to mirror and naturally throw in some of your wit here and there.
There are 4 different personality types you will encounter:
- The Whale
- The Dolphin
- The Urchin
- The Shark
Whales love helping people and are usually softer and more timid on the phone.
Dolphins love to chit-chat and love to have fun or joke around.
Urchins are more analytical and love to talk numbers and percentages.
Sharks are interested in the end result and what is the quickest way for them to achieve it.
If they are a whale… speak whale. If they are a shark… speak shark. You get it.
Mirroring and speaking in someone’s language builds immediate bonding and rapport.
After you have connected with them, focus on the next steps.
If they aren’t the decision maker, the next step would be to reach whoever is in charge (CEO, Marketing Director, Manager, etc.).
See if they are willing to patch you in to whoever is the best person to speak with. Before they patch you in, be sure to get their name so that you can reference them in your conversation with the decision maker.
#5 Keep a Note Sheet
I can’t even emphasize how important this one is.
Keeping a note sheet will allow you to have a clean record of the calls you’ve made and any details within.
You will want to record the company name, date of initial call, whether you left a voicemail or not, notes (ex. laughed and talked for a while, CEO loves playing guitar), contact names, follow up dates and times, etc.
Half of the business I get is from following up with people I haven’t heard from. The old phrase is “fortune is in the follow up.”
#6 Always be Leaning Towards the Next Contact
It is important to make sure that after EVERY call, you know exactly when you will be following up or when the next meeting will be.
It’s okay to ask the person on the other line when the best time to call back would be. If they say something like “well, maybe in a couple weeks or so,” what I normally do is respond with something like “How about this, I’ve got a 2:15pm open on Wednesday the 15th, would that work?”
This shows them that you are busy as well, and naturally people are attracted to busy people and will likely respect your time a little more.
Pro Tip: If you add a “:15, :25, or :45” to the end of the time (instead of just saying “5pm”), they are more likely to stay on schedule as it comes across to be a more exact time.
#7 Leave a Voicemail
Oh no! No one even picked up the phone!
No problem, just leave a voicemail (also should be scripted!).
Continue your follow ups every 2-4 days of course, but make sure when you finally talk to a live person that you reference the voicemail you left on “blank day” at “blank time”. This shows that you are extra organized and not just blowing through a bunch of calls to different companies mindlessly.
Hopefully I didn’t wear you out too much, but if you stuck around, kudos to you!
Cold-calling is not for everyone.
However, if you truly enjoy meeting new people every day and don’t mind devoting a few hours a day to it, it can be very rewarding once you strike gold.
The thing with cold-calling, is that your numbers can be different with every industry. But no matter what, after 20-30 calls, you will start to see patterns and ratios that you can use to improve the quality of your calls and up your numbers.
I wish you success in your business and hope that this info will serve you over and over again in your future endeavors.