12 Rules For Cold Calling

12 Rules For Cold Calling

Despite rumours to the contrary, telephone cold-calling within the B2B sector, in my opinion, is very much alive and kicking in the 21st Century. Some calls maybe “warmer” than others but speaking to a prospective client in order to obtain a sales appointment still remains key for many businesses.

For the sake of clarity, I’d like to highlight these definitions:

Cold Calling: Speaking to an individual in a firm you’ve never called or met before, in order to arrange a sales appointment with a buyer.

Prospecting: Gathering information from a company you’ve never previously contacted. (The internet may not provide all the answers and frequently doesn’t!)

Warm Calling: Ringing in order to fix up an appointment with someone you’ve previously met or had been introduced to.

Telemarketing: A generic term which covers the above.

Telephone canvassing: Akin to prospecting.

Cold Canvassing: A term that usually means door knocking in order to gain information or an impromptu sales appointment.

Tele-sales: This is where office based sales people are targeted to sell products or services over the phone – not be confused with cold-calling.

Depending on your particular industry, cold calling ought to be undertaken every day. Many sales professionals set aside at least two half-day sessions a week for this activity.

So here are my 12 ways to getting an appointment:

  1. Pick up the phone! You won’t get it any other way.
  2. Remember you are not selling a product or service – you’re just making an appointment.
  3. Dealing with the gatekeeper is usually straightforward if you get them on your side. Talk to them like an intelligent human being – they usually are! If you make a friend of them you’ll find they help you.
  4. Smile when you say “hello” at the beginning of the call – they’ll hear the smile and that opens lots of doors!
  5. Always offer alternative appointment times, rather than asking when you can meet. e.g. “Would Monday at 3 or Tuesday at 10 suit you better?”
  6. When they ask for information by post or e-mail, say “I’m happy to bring all our material with me, however, I don’t want to send you a huge package. First, I’d like to have a chat with you to see if there are any common areas that we can explore.
  7. If they say “I’m too busy”, sympathise. “Yes, I know exactly what you mean, I’ve been working silly hours too. However, I think this could save you some time. With both of us so committed, would you prefer to leave it until next week.?”
  8. If you get ‘we don’t have have a budget for this sort of thing’, respond “I understand that but I’d still like to have a chat so you know what’s available/possible for your next budget.
  9. If they say “I’m not interested”, use the opportunity to get some feedback. Ask them. “That’s fine, but could you let me know what the issue is that is concerning you so that I make sure I address that in the future?”
  10. Be careful not to patronise. Be friendly, be genuine and believe in yourself and your product or service – the belief will come across.
  11. Even if you get a ‘no’ at the end of it, send them a note, postcard, e-mail saying ‘thank you for your time, I hope we get a chance to talk again at some time’. Send them another note or call again in 2-3 months time. After 4-5 calls they will think they know you and will be much more likely to agree to a meeting!
  12. Success comes in Can’s not Cant’sI’d also like to add a thirteenth….when calling try to sound natural and authentic…and don’t browbeat your customer into an appointment!

Jeremy Jacobs is the Sales Rainmaker.
Originally published here.

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