I often come across posts where people are either A) looking for easy ways to get new business or B) complaining about how much they hate cold calling. These posts have always confused me because while cold calling may be intimidating or disliked by some (well, most!), it is still the most effective way to get new business. It is more effective than e-mail, direct mail, SEO, or any other passive ways people use to try to get new clients.
Quite frankly, the reason people hate cold calling so much is because they are lousy at it. The reason people are lousy at it is because they just flat out do it wrong. Most people just call up a business and hope to sell them over the phone on the spot. When they don't get the sale, they get discouraged, give up, and get in the mindset that cold calling doesn't work and/or they'll never be good at it.
Here is the correct way to cold call: Make the whole purpose of the call to get an appointment to meet with the business owner or decision maker. This appointment can be in person or remotely via GoToMeeting (or something similar), but make the whole purpose of your call TO SET AN APPOINTMENT. That's it. Nothing else. Don't try to sell your lead on anything except to meet with you.
You'll find that not only does your tone change when you make calls, but so does the tone of the person you are calling (both for the better!) It's important to remember that when cold calling and going for the Appointment Close, get straight to the point. Your call should never last more than a minute, unless the prospect starts asking you lots of questions (which is a good thing!).
Here is a specific script you should use to when you get your lead on the phone: "Hi, my name is Ben and I own a local marketing company that helps small businesses increase their online presence and in turn increase their revenues. The reason I'm calling specifically today is to set up an appointment to show you how I can help grow your business with our online strategies. How does tomorrow at 2pm work for you?"
This should be the meat of your call-- nothing more. Nobody is going to immediately buy something from somebody who just calls them up and tries to sell to them over the phone.
By stating that you are calling specifically to set up an appointment it will take the pressure off the owner that you are trying to sell them something right then and there.
By proposing a specific time to meet with the owner, it puts the ball in their court to respond to meeting with you. You have assumed that the business owner wants to meet with you and you either get them to say "Yes" and you've got your meeting, or you get them to say "No" to that specific time, but not "No" to meeting with you in general. This is a HUGE distinction that will improve your cold calling success rate by a factor of 10.
You will actually be surprised how many owners will say yes to the time you propose or propose a different time themselves. By utilizing this technique, you will not only find that business owners respond to you more positively, but you come across as more positive and confident because you have a specific plan of action when calling.
I can't stress enough how important it is to go for the appointment close within the first 20 seconds of calling. This will save both you and and the business owner plenty of time, which benefits both of you. When it comes time to meeting with the owner, they will now be a "warm" lead and be much more in the mindset to buy from you.
Remember, everybody likes to buy things, but nobody likes to be sold to. By tweaking your cold calling to this format, you will greatly increase your effectiveness and will start to find cold calling to be more fun. When you are successful at cold calling, you will enjoy it more and you will want to do it more because you will be seeing actual results.
Here is my challenge to you-- take what you have learned above and implement it TODAY! Don't wait until tomorrow, TAKE ACTION TODAY!
- Go create a list of 20 businesses to try this out on. Make sure the businesses you pick are ones that are no big deal if you don't get the business (don't immediately try to get that big fish you've wanted to get for a long time, you need to practice first!).
- Call up those 20 businesses and use a variation of the script I provided above. Remember to use the exact phrase, "The reason I'm calling you specifically today is to set up an appointment..." and "How does [give a specific date & time] work for you?"
- Keep track of how many businesses owners you actually get a hold of. You will probably get 6 out of 20. Of those 6 owners, 4 will set an appointment with you. Of those 4 you meet with, one or two will buy from you. These are the numbers that I see for myself and it allows me to consistently make a sale every single day.
- Report back on this thread as to how this worked for you. If you fully follow this cold calling advice you will see a huge difference in how people respond to you when calling.