We’ve all been there. You notice a brand, business or individual somewhere that could really do with your product or service. It’s such a great fit that you have to let them know. But picking up that phone to conjure a collaboration out of thin air takes some serious guts. What I’ve found is that, as with most difficult things in life, it’s easier to eat the elephant bite by bite. I.e. if cold calling frightens the ever-living daylights out of you, break it down in manageable tasks and tick each one off as you go along.
PREPARE BEFORE YOU MAKE THE CALL
Take your time to prepare properly before you pick up the phone. Find out who the correct person would be to talk to, learn as much as you can about the company, and rehearse your opening a few times. Knowing what you’re talking about makes the entire process a lot easier.
INTRODUCE YOURSELF PROPERLY
Always assume that no-one likes a cold call (which they don’t), and everyone is busy (which they normally are). Don’t waste their time. Be courteous, but spare them the niceties (‘and how are you today’ makes everyone’s skin crawl). Go for something along the lines of: “Good day, my name is ABC, I’m from QRS, and if you could give me 2 minutes of your time I would like to tell you about XYZ. I promise to make it swift.” If they go for it, be ready with your elevator pitch.
CONVINCE THEM OF YOUR OFFER
Your elevator pitch should be tailored to the potential client you’re approaching. Don’t go in with a generic ‘we always go the extra mile’, ‘customer service is our highest priority’-spiel. Speak in terms of specifics. E.g. ‘I noticed on your website that you are in the process of updating your corporate ID. This is an opportune time to also reconsider your approach to digital marketing. If you’d permit me, I’d like to send you a proposal in this regard.’
LISTEN TO THEIR REPLY
Once you’re done, it’s your turn to listen. Be ready to hear a ‘no’ and accept it gracefully. Thank them for their time and go back to the drawing board. Don’t lose heart. When you do get a ‘yes’, don’t gush. Get off the phone and let them get on with their day.
DO WHAT IT TAKES TO SEAL THE DEAL
When you get that ‘yes’, the ball is in your court. Now is the time to deliver on the first promise you made this person. Whether you promised them a quote, a proposal or a meeting, get on it. Make it happen as soon as possible. Turnaround time is vital to retain interest and show your sense of urgency.
There you have it – five steps that will have you cold calling like a pro. Remember, not every call is going to be a win. Sometimes you are going to get shot down. Other times you may get a good first response, only to be shot down a while later. Keep at it. It’s worth it when you put in the work and one of those calls results in a lucrative collaboration that bolsters your business and results in some fabulous word of mouth.
That’s why we do it. Now, go pick up that phone!