8 Cold Calling Tips

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I landed my first paying client from a cold call. My neighbor showed me pictures of her family sitting in a lush garden adorned in Victorian attire. I was so impressed, I called the photographer and gushed about her amazing imagery and how she needed a website to showcase her work.

Then I hung up, never expecting her to return my voice mail.

That was during the early days, when a website was still a novel idea and not many businesses had one. Today, companies are inundated with calls and emails promising everything from “page one on Google” to “thousand upon thousands of Facebook followers”. It’s difficult to be heard above the clamor.

So why — especially in today’s era of social media and inbound marketing — would anyone resort to cold calling?

I oversee our company’s telemarketing division, and I’ve made my share of cold calls. So my next piece of advice may come as a shock.

If you have any alternative to cold calling that can land you clients and generate revenue, then do it.

It’s not because inbound marketing is so effect and cold calling no longer works. It’s because cold calling can be brutal.

That first cold call of mine was mostly beginner’s luck. (I’m sure enthusiasm helped veil my lack of experience.) You may need to make 200 phone calls or more to land one appointment.

But here’s where cold calling shines. You can call someone today, schedule a meeting tomorrow, and have a new client the following day.

Cold calling gets clients today. Not three months, nine blog posts and 24 Google+ updates from now. But right now.

Here are 8 quick tips to get you started.

1. Use a Script

Write out what you’re going to say, then practice it until you no longer sound scripted.

If you really have guts, practice in front of a mirror, while smiling. (It makes you sound more pleasant.)

2. Use Your Voice for Maximum Impact

Once you’re confident with your script, unless you already have a deep voice, try to intonate your voice slightly downward. That’s because deeper voices convey more authority.

3. Answer Their Burning Question

Do you know why people say “no” when you call? Because you didn’t give them a reason to say “yes.”

To get more “yeses” you must answer the question that will be on every decision maker’s mind when you call: “What’s in it for me?”

4. Get Right to the Point

Avoid opening your call with meaningless questions like, “How are you today?” or “Is this a good time?”

While you may consider this “being polite,” it’s actually the opposite. The people you’re calling are busy. Don’t waste their time, get right to the point.

5. Ask for an Appointment

Conclude your 30-second pitch by asking for an appointment. Be direct: “Would you have time to meet next week?” — not indirect: “I don’t know if that’s something you’d be interested in or not.”

Beware of “softening” your close for fear of appearing too pushing. Being vague and indirect rarely elicits a positive response.

6. Don’t Answer Too Many Questions

The purpose of your call is to schedule a meeting, not sell your services. If someone starts asking questions, it’s not because they’re interested; they’re looking for a reason to say “no.”

The solution is to respond to (but not answer) the question, then ask for the appointment again.

7. Resistance Is Not Futile

The knee-jerk reaction to most cold calls is to resist your advances. You’ll set fewer appointment if you take “no” for an answer every time you hear it.

In fact, you’ll set 25 percent more appointments once you learn to overcome this initial resistance.

8. Don’t Stop Calling

It’s tempting to stop calling once you set that first appointment. But remember, it’s an appointment, not a sale.

Just like 200 calls gets one appointment, you may need five appointments to get one client.

The only way to get good at cold calling is to do it. So, what’s stopping you?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Cold Calling Tips

What is the best time to make cold calls?

The best time to make cold calls is generally between 8-9am and 4-5pm. During these hours, people are more likely to be available and receptive. However, it’s important to consider the specific industry and time zone of your prospects. For instance, if you’re calling businesses, they may be more available during working hours. On the other hand, if you’re calling individuals, they might be more available in the evening.

How can I overcome the fear of cold calling?

Overcoming the fear of cold calling can be challenging, but it’s possible with practice and preparation. Start by researching your prospects so you can tailor your conversation to their needs and interests. Also, practice your pitch until you feel confident. Remember, rejection is part of the process, so don’t take it personally. Instead, use it as a learning opportunity to improve your approach.

How can I make my cold calls more effective?

To make your cold calls more effective, start by setting clear objectives for each call. This could be setting up a meeting, gathering information, or making a sale. Tailor your conversation to the prospect’s needs and interests, and always end the call with a clear next step. Additionally, use a friendly and professional tone, and listen more than you talk to understand the prospect’s needs.

How can I handle rejection during cold calling?

Handling rejection during cold calling can be tough, but it’s important to remember that it’s part of the process. Don’t take it personally. Instead, use it as a learning opportunity to improve your approach. Ask for feedback if possible, and use it to refine your pitch. Also, stay positive and motivated, and don’t let rejection discourage you from making more calls.

How can I use SEO to get clients without cold calling?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, can be a powerful tool to attract clients without cold calling. By optimizing your website and content for search engines, you can attract potential clients who are actively searching for your services. This includes using relevant keywords, creating high-quality content, and building backlinks to your site. Additionally, you can use SEO to target specific demographics, industries, or regions to attract your ideal clients.

How can I follow up after a cold call?

Following up after a cold call is crucial to maintaining the relationship and moving the prospect through the sales funnel. You can follow up with an email summarizing the call and outlining the next steps. Also, you can send additional information or resources that the prospect might find helpful. Remember to be persistent but respectful, and always follow up at the agreed time.

How can I track the success of my cold calls?

Tracking the success of your cold calls can be done through various metrics, such as the number of calls made, appointments set, or sales closed. You can also track the response rate, conversion rate, and the average duration of calls. By tracking these metrics, you can identify areas for improvement and measure the effectiveness of your cold calling efforts.

How can I improve my cold calling script?

Improving your cold calling script starts with understanding your prospects and their needs. Tailor your script to address their pain points and how your product or service can solve them. Also, keep your script flexible to adapt to different situations and responses. Practice your script regularly to sound more natural and confident.

How can I build rapport during a cold call?

Building rapport during a cold call can be achieved by using a friendly and professional tone, showing genuine interest in the prospect, and actively listening to their needs and concerns. Also, try to find common ground or shared interests to create a connection. Remember, building rapport takes time, so be patient and persistent.

How can I use cold calling in combination with other marketing strategies?

Cold calling can be used in combination with other marketing strategies to maximize your reach and effectiveness. For instance, you can use email marketing to follow up after a call, social media to engage with prospects, and content marketing to provide valuable information and attract potential clients. By integrating cold calling with other strategies, you can create a comprehensive marketing plan that targets prospects at different stages of the sales funnel.

John TabitaJohn Tabita
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Former owner and partner of web firm Jenesis Technologies, John is currently Director of Digital Strategy at Haines Local Search, a company providing local search marketing solutions to SMBs, including print and Internet Yellow Pages, web design, and local SEO. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks.

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