Making new business contacts is difficult. When you call someone for the first time with an offer, you only have a few moments to convince a complete stranger to your products or services. That is why it is so important to make the best use of this short time. Thanks to the appropriate preparation of cold calling, i.e. the contact initiating a relationship with a company or person, it can be friendly and fruitful.
You are a reseller. You are sitting at your desk looking at a piece of paper with telephone numbers. You need to call people who don’t know you and tell them about your offer. The conversation should end with arranging a meeting, if not gaining a new client. You are nervous, you know people don’t like phone calls with offers, they will try to get you off. However, your boss expects a sales success. Full of conflicting feelings you pick up the phone. You dial the number. You hesitate. Can such a conversation be successful at all?
If you want to develop your business, enter new territories, gain clients and partners, you need to establish relationships effectively. Cold calling is still one of the most popular ways of reaching people and companies with whom you have not had contact so far. A few simple rules will help make this process satisfactory for both the seller and the customer.
A Solid Foundation
In the case of cold calling, the absolute basis is proper preparation and getting to know the people you want to call or send an e-mail to. It cannot be an accidental contact, on the contrary – your proposal must be firmly rooted in the business reality of the potential client. So – before you call – you must have a thorough understanding of the operation of the company you want to reach, get to know its history and identify possible problems. Only on the basis of such information will you be able to prepare a solid script that will make the interlocutor interested in your offer and want to meet to discuss the details.
What should be in the script? Of course, you should start by introducing yourself and the company you represent. After that, it’s a good idea to announce that you will now take 45 seconds for the interlocutor, after which he will be able to decide whether he wants to continue the conversation or not. This approach reassures the interlocutor who gets clear information that you value their time and that you will respect every decision. Of course, you should ask if this solution suits your interlocutor.
If you are given permission, you have a little while to interest the interlocutor. How to do it? Getting straight to the point. By showing that your services or products can solve the potential customer’s problems. This is where the knowledge you have gained while preparing for the interview comes to the rescue. Remember that you already know your interlocutor well, you know if he has had any problems recently, you are familiar with the condition of the industry in which he operates. Therefore, you can easily prepare a list of potential problems that your potential customer has to face. All you need to do is present them – you can ask them if the interlocutor has answered positively to at least one of them. If so, you have a solution that will help in a given area, improve his business, help him optimize processes in the company or save time and money.
At the end, all that’s left is to make an appointment. How? Always specific. Don’t throw out indefinite terms. Next week, after Christmas, next month… It’s not enough. Suggest a specific date that you can negotiate. Don’t be put off, the second such opportunity may not come again.
Change Your Approach
It all sounds beautiful and simple, but everyone who has dealt with cold calling knows perfectly well that the reality is more complicated and most often it is suggested by people who strongly oppose starting a conversation or meeting. How to deal with it?
First of all, the approach to cold calling should be changed. It is said that cold calling is like searching for diamonds – before we find a precious metal, we have to move a lot of stones and mud. This is the case with making new contacts. When you start your adventure with cold calling, think of it as an elimination process. Your list of potential contacts is a collection that you need to verify – check if they are really interested in the services or products you offer. Do not focus on thinking that each conversation must end with an appointment, because refusal will frustrate you, and this will reduce your effectiveness and self-confidence. Be prepared that by using cold calling, you are looking for the best customers for your business. Not all of your interlocutors have to become a customer.
Remember also that one of the most important elements of an effective conversation is your credibility. How to improve it? Believe what you say. Don’t read the script. Learn the theses you present to the client, repeat them over and over until you speak them freely and without hesitation. Record your statements, play them back, and see if you sound convincing. Remember about the right posture – it is good to have your hands free during the conversation so that you can freely gesture when needed. Keep smiling. The interlocutor will sense it. The more relaxed and friendly your tone is, the greater the chance of success.
The Customer Matters
And the most important. Focus on the customer’s needs, not your own. If you only have your goal in mind – which is getting a new client – you won’t do much. Be ready to achieve the goals of your potential client – listen to what he says to you, ask additional questions. If you come across a gatekeeper in the form of a secretary – use this contact to get more information about the person you want to talk to. The first conversation with a potential client is to define his problems and ensure that we can help him. Only with this approach will you guess the real needs of your interlocutor and offer him a solution that will meet his expectations. And you will sound credible. The client will see you as an ally who understands his situation and wants to help him. It will open to your suggestions.
The above guidelines are intended for all sellers. Of course, sometimes it is difficult to apply them in your daily work, especially if you work in a call center, where the time to prepare for the interview is usually much shorter than in companies that sell their products on their own. However, do not be discouraged by this, try to introduce into your contacts with customers as many elements as possible listed in this text. Thanks to this, you will talk more freely, convince you more and end the conversation with a sales success more often.
Cold calling is a hard piece of bread. But also a great way to get to know the market and the problems our potential customers are facing. It’s also one of the best ways to convince entrepreneurs that we have something they need for them. All you need is proper preparation, a positive attitude, credibility and the belief that every single customer is a success, regardless of how many contacts we have on the list.