The term ‘cold calling’ strikes fear into the hearts of many a professional. Heaven’s knows it does to me.
Cold calling, though, has its place. Actually, it can be a very useful activity for both the caller and the receiver. It can save time and energy, create new connections and opportunity, and grow your network. These happy outcomes depend a fair bit on the preparation of the caller.
“Cold calling” is a bit of a misnomer; the person you are calling might be cold, but you as the caller are not. Before calling, research your targets and know why it is you want to do business with them, why the two of you are a good match, and how your services or products can benefit them in particular. Note: you must know how your officer is going to benefit that person. Not the business down the street or the office three floors up. You need to be specific and precise, tailoring each conversation and approach to the particular person on the other end of the line.
You also need to have your product/service description down pat. In one short sentence – 20 words or less – describe what you do so that the listener doesn’t have to wonder how your business is relevant to them. Follow up that brief sentence with another brief (BRIEF!) blurb on how you will either increase their profits or somehow make their life easier; understand how they specifically will benefit from you, and give them that info with absolute clarity. Finally, tell them why you are the ideal person to do this for them. Again, keep it short – this isn’t the time to trot out your resume or CV, or list the 37 influential people you do business with it. One or two sentences. You should be able to say it in a single breath without rushing or wheezing.
The above might sound straightforward, but it takes serious preparation work. Get as much info on the company as you are able and craft each call individually. This will take you from cold calling to smoking hot calling. You’ll be listened to with greater attention and received with greater interest, because the person on the other end of the line will know that you know your stuff and won’t waste their time. Don’t expect this call to land you a deal or get you new business. In the case of cold calling, I define success as genuine requests for more information and scheduling follow-up conversations. If you’ve gotten their attention and have made them willing to give you more time and attention, then you’ve done well.