10 Tips For Generating Sales Leads Through Cold Calls
Cold-calling can be a great way to generate more business, since you get to speak to your prospects' stakeholders and gatekeepers, and so gain an insight into their requirements. However this type of telephone sales is a definite art-form, and can be very daunting, since if it is not done in the right way it can be one of the quickest ways to alienate prospects! Here are some tips for the best way to make cold calls:
1) Always record all the details of every phone call you make, i.e. all the names and titles of people which you discover, not just the name of the person you are trying to contact. It can often be paramount to record the receptionist's/secretary's name, as they are usually gatekeepers. Note down when you called and when you arranged with them to call back.
2) Make use of a database or spreadsheet to record everything, as this will be impossible to do by hand. Excel spreadsheets do not tend to be user-friendly in the long-term. It's worthwhile investing in a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. Or if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, try creating your own database using Microsoft Access.
3) It is important to always call back when you said you would. They may not remember when you said you would call, but if they do and you don't call them, you will lose credibility and respect. Wherever you can, work around their schedule, as you are trying to make things easier for them, not more difficult.
4) Always be nice to the gatekeepers, i.e. the receptionists, secretaries and PAs. Learn and remember their names, first and foremost. These are the people with influence, with the power to make sure your call is put through to the right person or not. They often make the real decisions! But don't waste their time or shmooze them - they get a lot of that anyway!
5) Keep the call short and sweet, unless you get to speak to someone who wants to talk a lot. The purpose of your call is to get their attention, let them know about your business, get their contact details and find out if they have any requirement for your services.
6) Don't try any hard-sell techniques! Don't put people under pressure or make it difficult for them to get off the phone. Tell them what your business does and that you would like to email them with a link to your website, containing samples and testimonials and then leave them to look at it in their own time.
7) If you get permission, follow up with an email, do so straightaway and be specific in your subject-line. Address the email to the person you spoke to (eg "Hi Mike") and keep it short and sweet, include only the essential information, and make it conversational and easy to read. Put the important words in bold type to stand out, as it is likely they will just skim it. Include the link to your website, mention the day and time you spoke, and thank them for their time and also mention any names you learnt, for example the receptionist's. This is especially important if the receptionist gave you the email address but you didn't actually speak to the decision maker. Say that you would like to follow up in a few weeks time (if you got the green light to follow up from the tone of the conversation).
8) If the lead seems promising , do follow up with another call. When you do, always mention the day and date of the first call, plus the fact that you sent an email. Give them a quick summary of who you are and your business and say you are just calling to check they got the email. Most of the time you will find that your lead will talk to you about your business, if only because they need to remind themselves about who you are!
9) Don't leave messages, unless you really have to. Most people find it a chore even to return calls from people who are important in their lives. So returning calls from someone trying to sell them something will certainly not be high on their list of priorities!
10) Don't expect instant conversion. Unfortunately, most leads take a long time to bear fruit ( it can be up to 2 years). So you have to be patient and play the long game. Happy calling!
Picture courtesy of www.aayuja.com
Single British vegan lady, former Civil Servant and keen writer, blogger, bibliophile, cook, traveller and campaigner.