If Businesses are viewing ‘cold calling’ as a sales activity that they don’t wish to do they are gravely mistaken… If they are not doing some sort of sales activity in the genre then they are missing an important part of their business growth..
Cold calling is a term that sends shivers down most sales peoples spines. And since my last blog it has become apparent that businesses and consumers alike find it horrific to do and horrific to receive.
Mindset needs to change!
It needs to be seen as Business Development and needs to be given serious time or at some point your business WILL stagnate. It was argued to me that ‘almost all prospective clients will contact you’… REALLY???
The how here is how do they know you are there? Yes you advertise, you have your website, you have your Facebook Page you have your Twitter account, your newsletter, your marketing and previous clients/customer lists. Business is great… It can always be better…
I will take the example of a business that is in the maintenance industry. They have contracts with several business/clients… Contracts go to tender… Including theirs when the time is up. They could sit and not cold call, [by the way I prefer the term business development], wait for the prospective clients to come to the door. Sure, that could work?!?!
YOU ARE NOT MAKING CALLS TO MAKE SALES!!!
As I have previously written, make these calls to introduce yourself as a business that could be of use to that prospective client. Clearly, if you fix air conditioning there is no need for you to call someone who doesn’t have air conditioning. This is where you have put research in before you make calls. Ask questions that could help you and them in the future.
Who does your air conditioning? They will tell 98% of the time
Do you have a direct number? Again happy to give a good percentage of the time, the person on the other end will be happy to pass call onto person equiped to deal with call.
When would be a good time to contact them? You are showing you are interested to call them at an appropriate time
When is your current tender up for review? If you are speaking with the person who deals with the tenders, they will be happy to give you a date, usually 3 tenders are necessary for contractual work so it makes their job easier than having to look you up… This is my personal favourite, why wait for them to contact you… You could be 4th on page one of Google, so the day they do their business development looking for contractors, the first three agree to tender and they never get to you on the list…
Now, another Science bit!
Are your staff trained to take these business development calls? When we answer a phone we have a few natural reactions, we respond to differently to who ever is on the other end, our mum with love, our accountant nervously 🙂 a client with care, you get the drift here… When we get a voice we have never heard before we can be defensive and forget we are in business, we think we are handling the call by gruffly moving the conversation as quickly as possible, not listening and ending it so we can get on with our days work… Possibly missing vital information that could save your business money and get you better service in the future.
Social Media Vs Cold Calls
Recently Social Media has made making initial connections easier for you, once you have connected appropriately but you need to take those connections to the next stage. You could be told everyday on Twitter that your Business is great and “we must meet for coffee” but it never actually happens. Your employees need to know how to move these connections on effectively, usually a Warmish/Cold Call is the next step.
Business Development Vs Cold Calls.
We are in Business to grow Business, the average ‘cold call’ [business development call] takes between one and five minutes, if its going to the five+ minutes a business connection is being made… How bad 12 calls in an hour, conducted politely and effectively, our caller and prospect have been part of mutual business development.
We need to change the term of cold calling to business development… This isn’t coming from a sales person this is coming from a business owner, it’s very short sighted to see cold calling as not necessary for business… It has to be undertaken effectively, it must be partnered with research to get qualified results, and those results are not necessarily sales, but information to give you basis for future business. We need to train our employees and ourselves in effective methods of research & business development…
Cold Calling has become a dirty word, a put a coin in the swear box word… But it is necessary for business, we need to accept that to grow as businesses we must reach out and connect in a relevant, researched and effective mannor. Do you think you could make those calls now?