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Cold Calling You Say?

6 Mar, 2008 By: David C Ramos imageSource

Cold Calling You Say?

I know what you are saying after reading the title. ³Cold calling?² Some
sales/sales management professionals consider cold calling a waste of time. And
it can be if you don't use the right approach. However, cold calls can yield
long-term customers and if you have properly balanced territory of 70% existing
customers and 30% net-new opportunities, then at some point there will be some
level of cold calling involved. But how can you make sure you or your sales team
is successful while cold calling? Well, I am assuming that you have designed the
reps¹ territories properly (if not, try reading Segment and Gain Market Share by
Tom Callinan, online in the Oct.¹06 issue of imageSource). Now back to cold

> Prepare

A crucial step before making cold calls is setting clear goals and targeting
the potential clients in a strategic manner. Your main objectives are to make a
good first impression and to secure an appointment. Use the following tips to
help you further focus before making your calls:

  • Consider what percentage of your revenue you expect cold calling to
    produce. If you have a realistic estimate in mind, say 30% (again, balance of
    70% existing customers and 30% net new potential customers), then you have a
    clear goal. Having this goal will keep you motivated, even when you make a few
    dead-end calls.
  • Target your prospect. Work hard to ensure that those people on your call
    list are potentially interested in your product or service. Avoid making
    unwanted calls which will likely waste your time. This does takes time and
    research on the vertical or horizontal market you are targeting. Review
    company websites, annual reports, Online information sources (Hoovers, Dow
    Jones News, etc), business periodicals & news organizations.
  • Implement a schedule for making calls. I block off four hours per week,
    but remain flexible. Remember that you are initiating a relationship with a
    potential customer. While it is important to be productive with your time, it
    is equally important for your potential customers to feel that your calls are
    productive for them.

> Be Innovative

Offer your prospects what others within your field may be neglecting. Here
are some generic examples:

  • Develop a survey to find out what your prospects want and need. In
    addition to helping you hone your selling technique and product/services, a
    survey can help break the ice on a cold call.
  • Write your prospects a letter before making the call. Introduce yourself
    and outline your services or product lines. This way when you call, you can
    follow up on the information sent in the letter.

> Cold-Calling Techniques

  • Have a Value Proposition script prepared. Today not enough time is spent
    on this art. This script is customizable to resonate with any potential
    customers requirements and clearly explains the benefits of doing business
    with your company.
  • Make certain you are in a quiet area before you make your calls.
  • Stand up while you're on the phone. Standing allows the blood to flow
    through your body and may accentuate a tone of authority.
  • When leaving a message, follow instructions. If the person on the
    recording asks you to leave a brief message, avoid leaving a long one. Speak
    clearly and mention you name and phone number at least twice, once at the
    beginning, once to close the message.
  • When leaving a message with an assistant, ask for a specific time your
    prospect will be available to speak with you and be sure to call at that time.
    Learn the assistant¹s name, and address her/him by name every time you call.
    Be courteous to everyone you speak to because each person is a gate keeper to
    your prospect.
  • When talking to your prospect, make sure you are of assistance. Don't
    leave anyone feeling that they were reluctantly giving you their time. Rather,
    leave each with the impression that you may help them solve a problem. This is
    the time you describe your company¹s core capabilities, unique business model
    & propriety know-how which can benefit the prospect.
  • When introducing yourself to a client that¹s been handed down to you, open
    with, ³I have just assumed responsibility for your account. May I update your
    current information?²
  • Befriend your potential customer. Do not attempt to immediately sell your
    product. Remember that to the person on the phone, you are a faceless stranger
    and people are naturally skeptical. Your reason for making the call is to make
    contact, not acquire a credit card number.

> Closing the Call

When your prospective client begins to ask questions, you can start closing
the call by setting up an appointment. The following are examples you can use to
secure your next meeting:

  • "I¹m going to be in your area today around 3:00 or 4:00pm. Which time is
    best for you?"
  • "I realize you're concerned about price; most of my clients were too. I
    have an opening today & could meet with you to discuss this further. How about

You need to remain resilient. While in the field, it was my ability to make
90 -120 telephone cold calls per week, providing me the opportunity to achieve
my goal of 30% in net new revenue.

David C. Ramos is a consultant with Strategy Development, a management
consulting firm specializing in sales strategy & advanced sales training,
performance improvement strategies, mergers & acquisitions. Experience includes
Xerox Corp. as a major accounts manager, & IKON, including director of sales for
IKON University where he co-developed IKON¹s sales training program.


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