Cold calling is an area of sales that a lot of people shy away from, particularly if they have a lot of regular advertisers who they can rely on each month.  If we are busy it is often the first thing that gets dropped on the ‘to-do’ list.  But putting it off and focusing on cold calling at the end of the month when we need to hit target doesn’t work in terms of building strong, lasting relationships with clients.

So here are some tips to make it easier

  1. Don’t procrastinate

Putting it off, making every excuse as to why you cannot do it is common place.  You need to set a goal and commit to a level of activity that is achievable.  A little every day is much more effective and easier to do than a blitz once a week or once a month.

2. Be organised

Cold calling works best with a system. First spend time finding your leads and who the decision makers are; use the first call just to get the relevant names only. If you work on different categories or  products then concentrate on one at a time.  It is too difficult to jump from one area to another.    Keeping good records also helps you to be more organised and to make more calls.  I see a lot of sales people who keep notes on scraps of paper! Whilst you may not want to enter every potential customer into your CRM system, it is worth creating an Excel spreadsheet of who you have called, with contact names and numbers so that when you are repeat calling to make contact you have a system that works from one day to the next. Once you have made contact you can then decide whether it is worth adding the contact to your CRM system

3. Allocate at least 1 to 2 hours blocks for cold calling

Doing sporadic cold calls throughout the day doesn’t seem to work. It is best to spend a minimum of 1 hour on calls.  By dedicating chunks of time to it you build up momentum and your conversations will be more targeted as your confidence builds.

4. Have a strong opening

The sales people I train often open up their calls by saying “Hi it’s Mary from xx, it’s just a quick call”.  We need to be more confident in our opening, have a strong purpose for our call.  “The reason for my call today is to talk to you about…..”

5. Use testimonials

Quoting the work you are doing or how you have helped other companies is a powerful way to sell.  In recessionary times, when people are cautious they need to feel that they are not taking a risk advertising with you.  The best way to reduce the feeling of risk is to show how you have worked with other clients and what you have achieved for their businesses

6. It is a conversation

If you think of cold calling as building an initial relationship you are more likely to create a positive rapport with your potential client. It is becoming rarer to make a sale in the first call. One of the reasons people fear cold calling so much is that they put a huge amount of pressure on the expectation of the call.  If we reduce this expectation and instead focus on finding out about the client’s business we are likely to be more natural and build a better relationship.

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