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Step 2. Cold Calling (the details)

 

At a friend’s party you introduce yourself to strangers. Cold calling is similar - you’re introducing your business to other local businesses without pressure or expectations and following-up

 

This guide is for Business to Business (B2B) cold calling. It has nothing to do with calling individuals at home. (That’s dodgy – don’t do it)

 

However, you can still target individuals through a business

Here’s 4 examples…

  1. A Dog Trainer targets Building Managers to get to residents (barking dogs cause complaints)

  2. A cake maker speaks to Social Club Organisers.

  3. A surfboard maker speaks to HR to sell surfing lessons as Team Building.

  4. A fashion designer invites local businesses to private monthly Fashion Shows.

Effective cold calling is; 

  • A 10 second introduction to another targeted, local business and following up.

  • Starts with, an in-person, flyer-delivery, OR with the phone.

  • Not about being pushy, tricky, enthusiastic or anything that signals - salesperson! (This is what bigger businesses do. It's different for solos).

  • Being committed yet detached (like a scientist)

If you make them feel uneasy, they will remember you as tricky foreverrrrrr.

9 myths about cold calling

Myth - "I don't have the mindset"

Busted - When you were 5, you'd talk to anyone. You don't need to learn a 'mindset', it's in you. Just remove the years of 'learned fear', that comes with being an adult

 

Myth - "I will get rejected"

Busted - No, they are just 'protecting' themselves.

 

Myth - "It's about convincing people"

Busted - Never convince people. Just 'offer'. It's ok if they say "no".

 

Myth - "But it's too much talking"

Busted - Most calls won't be answered. And when they are, it's usually very short.

 

Myth - "But it annoys people"

Busted - Not if you're relaxed, helpful and happy to take “no” for an answer

 

Myth - "What if they're not interested?"

Busted - So what, you're not interested in groceries, but you buy them weekly.

 

Myth - "They won't answer the phone"

Busted Great - Leave a voicemail, it's still a free ad.

 

Myth - "Most won't buy"

Busted - So what, do you buy pizza every time you see an advertisement for it?

 

Myth - B2C businesses can't call B2B

Busted - Yes they can, see 4 examples above.

9 reasons to cold call

  1. If they haven't heard of you, they cannot buy from you. Now they now

  2. Now your follow up email is not spam

  3. It proves you REALLY want their business. Most businesses don't

  4. You constantly need new customers to replace ones that leave

  5. You’ll stand out, because your competitors won’t do it.

  6. Once you’ve conquered cold calling, all phone conversations are easier.

  7. If you don’t and they call you first, it’s because you're on their list - with your competition.

  8. It’s the most powerful sales tactic ‘bang-for-buck’ on planet earth

  9. As long as you aren’t salsey your details may be shared between businesses

How to cold call in-person

Pretend you're a friendly courier and hand deliver a letter. Then phone in 2 days

When cold calling in-person, you don’t have to DO anything. The visit itself, is powerful. Don’t try and MAKE anything happen. It backfires if you are pushy

In a digital-age, hard-copies, hand delivered will stand out

Drop off an informative or fun letter or flyer that can be read in 10 seconds or get serious and drop a 'Presentation Folder', Booklet or Bio.

 

Presentation Folders are inexpensive thin white cardboard folders that cradle papers and a business card. They can be 'branded' (printed on). 

  • Use coloured paper that reflects your brand

  • Deliver to targeted local businesses.

  • Take a ‘wing wo/man’ if you like

  • Smile

  • “Hi, I’m James, I have a business nearby, can I give you my flyer”

  • Hand it over with a “thank you” and leave. Nobody wants to be ‘stood-over’

  • If they’re busy, place it to the side, (under their chin is too pushy) say “thank you” and exit

  • Only engage if they ask you questions. And even then, keep it brief. The follow up conversation happens days later, on the phone (trust is built over time)

  • Grab their business card, if freely available

  • When outside - record the day, time and visual, (female with black hair)

  • Phone in 2 days “Hi, I dropped off a xxxx Tuesday morning, did you get a chance to look at it?”

You could also use entertainment when you visit. Dress-up as a character that reflects your brand and have fun with it? Hire an actor to accompany you? This is powerful stuff.

Imagine being bored in an office and 2 ‘entertainers’ walk in.

Contact me for ideas.

Targeting

Target local businesses

Target local businesses because there's less 'stranger danger' involved.

However, if you offer a specialised service, you can target further away.

Cold call to create alliances.

A writer calls a website designer, to create an alliance or partnership

 

​Targeting businesses that already have what you sell. 

Example - You build websites. A business with a website that needs an upgrade is a better target than a business without a website because they already ‘believe’ in the value of websites.

Targeting individuals within businesses

  • The person that answers the phone is important. Do not try and get through them (overcome the gatekeeper). Work with them. Everybody's a prospect

  • Sometimes the buyer (boss) may not be the best target. For example - If you sell software, maybe the end-users within the business are your target not the buyer. Win the end-users and they will 'sell' the software to the boss. Everybody's a prospect

  • When you email the buyer (boss) cc the person you spoke to. It’s courteous, creates respect and further advertises what you sell. Everybody's a prospect

Cold-calling from the customers point-of-view 

 Imagine you’re a business owner and you need to buy something, anything, let's say its photographs. You're in no rush and you've been wanting new photos for months, but you've put it off because you don't want to ...

  1. research a list of suppliers.

  2. trawl through all their websites.

  3. leave messages and get no call-back.

  4. talk to a bored photographer.

  5. baby-sit them through the sale ...

Now imagine a photographer cold calls you,

  1. they aren't pushy.

  2. they ask if they can email you some info.

  3. they're knowledgeable and easy to talk to

  4. they follow-up a couple of times and ask to pop over for a chat

Preparing to cold call – mindset 

When you cold call you are stepping outside normal business conversations (it’s not something small businesses usually do. So be ready to encounter confusion and be ‘at peace’ with ambiguity)

Don't expect to GET something on each contact

 

Don't contact once (scammers and lazy salespeople call once). If you call once, your reputation could be tarnished – they make see you as tricky

Around half of all salespeople don't call a 2nd time. Not many call a 3rd time. And so it continues ... And it takes 6-20 'touches' (Phone, Email, Social ...) to sell something. Do you see the pattern here? Be pleasantly persistent.

After 1-2 minutes you are looking for reasons to politely end the call because trust is built over time. Your future emails and calls will build trust. 

Cold calling gets easier every time you do it. Like riding a bike.

 

Cold calling is talking to strangers. Once you get good at it, you will have an important life-skill.

 

These guidelines are not only for your success. They are also to protect you from giving out too much of your energy to 'non-connects'.

 

Bottom line - you have spoken and sent an email. You're known.

Rejection

When a prospect ‘rejects’ you on a sales call without listening to you they are protecting themselves. You are not being ‘rejected’. And can you blame them, most salespeople are too pushy.

 

The prospect is just assuming the worst and saying NO immediately. It’s understandable, most people are not comfortable talking to strangers. It takes a few ‘contacts’ for them to be somewhat comfortable with you. Think about it from their Point of View.

 

Objections - yes please! 

Acknowledge and record their objection for later. Never argue, disagree or debate about ANYTHING on a cold-call. Address their concerns calmy on a follow up call

 

Objections are a normal part of the sales interplay. Go with the flow. Ask questions to understand the objection. If you learn someone’s opinion, this may help you improve your business or communication skill

When they object, they may be expecting you to ‘back down’, panic, discount or argue; DON’T. Hang-in-there and follow-up. They’ll be impressed that you bounced-back and called back. And you’ll be remembered.

 

Gatekeeper – No such thing 

A 'gatekeeper' is a term that salespeople use for someone that won't let them talk to 'the boss'. Gatekeepers receive instruction from the boss, meaning;

  1. they represent the attitude and operational style of the boss.

  2. they are the business.

  3. So … if they are rude, the ‘boss’ probably is too.

Therefore, trying to GET PAST them is illogical.

 

Work with the gatekeeper. Using tricks won't work. Courtesy, brevity, helping and persistence might

Preparing to cold call – mindset 

When you cold call you are stepping outside normal business conversations (it’s not something small businesses usually do. So be ready to encounter confusion and be ‘at peace’ with ambiguity)

Don't expect to GET something on each contact

 

Don't contact once (scammers and lazy salespeople call once). If you call once, your reputation could be tarnished – they make see you as tricky

Around half of all salespeople don't call a 2nd time. Not many call a 3rd time. And so it continues ... And it takes 6-20 'touches' (Phone, Email, Social ...) to sell something. Do you see the pattern here? Be pleasantly persistent.

After 1-2 minutes you are looking for reasons to politely end the call because trust is built over time. Your future emails and calls will build trust. 

Cold calling gets easier every time you do it. Like riding a bike.

 

Cold calling is talking to strangers. Once you get good at it, you will have an important life-skill.

 

These guidelines are not only for your success. They are also to protect you from giving out too much of your energy to 'non-connects'.

 

Bottom line - you have spoken and sent an email. You're known.

Rejection

When a prospect ‘rejects’ you on a sales call without listening to you they are protecting themselves. You are not being ‘rejected’. And can you blame them, most salespeople are too pushy.

 

The prospect is just assuming the worst and saying NO immediately. It’s understandable, most people are not comfortable talking to strangers. It takes a few ‘contacts’ for them to be somewhat comfortable with you. Think about it from their Point of View.

 

Objections - yes please! 

Acknowledge and record their objection for later. Never argue, disagree or debate about ANYTHING on a cold-call. Address their concerns calmy on a follow up call

 

Objections are a normal part of the sales interplay. Go with the flow. Ask questions to understand the objection. If you learn someone’s opinion, this may help you improve your business or communication skill

When they object, they may be expecting you to ‘back down’, panic, discount or argue; DON’T. Hang-in-there and follow-up. They’ll be impressed that you bounced-back and called back. And you’ll be remembered.

 

Gatekeeper – No such thing 

A 'gatekeeper' is a term that salespeople use for someone that won't let them talk to 'the boss'. Gatekeepers receive instruction from the boss, meaning;

  1. they represent the attitude and operational style of the boss.

  2. they are the business.

  3. So … if they are rude, the ‘boss’ probably is too.

Therefore, trying to GET PAST them is illogical.

 

Work with the gatekeeper. Using tricks won't work. Courtesy, brevity, helping and persistence might

Physical preparation

  • A headset will 'free' you, to be physically expressive (more confident). Dance if you want.

  • Have a pen and large writing pad (typing will sound like you're disinterested)

  • Record everything they say. (They won’t say that much).

​​​

  • Don’t raise your voice - there’s no need and it may sound pushy

  • Don't sound formal - this is Sales and Marketing NOT Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Don't sound enthusiastic - that's 'persuasion'

  • Don’t interrupt - the more they talk, the more you learn. Although be careful here, if you get a ‘talker’ (they have nothing to do for the next hour) you’ll need to politely move to discontinue after 3 minutes

  • Don't winge, complain, tisk-tisk or make strange noise.

  • Understand the there's a .01% chance that if someone says "no", your head may explode. That was a joke. Remember to NEVER lose your sense of humour. You are not about to call the flight-tower for permission to move onto the runway - this is sales and marketing - have fun!​

 

Researching the business

Focus on businesses near you. The amount of time you research a prospect, before you call, depends on the size of your target market (small target market – take more time to research).

Take 30 seconds to 5 minutes on research.

 

If you know nothing about their business, you will be seen as a random telemarketer.

Research their website for talking points. What do you personally identify with? E.g. An article, their clients or a charity they support. Most of your research will end here.​ Don’t view research a ‘work’. See it as learning from how other businesses communicate. You’ll be learning about tactics you can borrow and avoid

 

 

Preparing your phone ‘scripts’

Phone scripts are not long pages (or even paragraphs) of information. They are just catchphrases or sentences that stop you from rambling or getting emotional.

You shouldn’t be talking for more than 10 seconds at a time because you’ll either lose them or come across as persuasive

Phone Scripts allow you quickly and accurately, explain anything like an expert.

Imagine you’re a designer and a prospect asks if you design custom made xxxx. Which one of these answers sounds better?

  • Unscripted - "Yeah we can get together and talk about what you want, sketch it up and make something and blahblahblah" or...

  • Scripted - "Yes I can build with you, from concept to creation"

The second one sounds better. Your answer was short, sweet and clear. Then stop talking and let the prospect talk

You won't sound like a robot if you make the script your own​

  • Scripts allow you to focus on listening, not thinking about what to say next

  • Stick scripts, on your workspace wall, so you can quickly answer FAQs

  • Brainstorming is a great way to create scripts

  • Scripts should be constantly updated

 

 

 

 

 

Questioning

Questioning to uncover problems is important.

However questions can make people feel uneasy (especially with privacy issues)

Most questions salespeople ask are ‘leading’ questions. Meaning ‘lead’ you to a sale.

This can make people feel manipulated. Be very careful about asking questions

Ask short, sincere (non leading) questions

The First Call. ​

  • Is just an introduction (trust is built over time)

  • Start Strong. Speaking slowly, clearly and courteously at all times.

  • Start Strong. Speaking slowly, clearly and courteously at all times. (Yes, it's important)

  • Don't persuade. It causes resistance and confusion

  • Don't try to control others, it signals persuasion

  • Never talk for more than 10 seconds, at a time

  • The less you talk the better

  • Be careful about rapport building, it may sound 'salesy'

  • Don't be placed on hold. That's a game. Don't play games. Email and call-back

  • Don't ask 'leading questions', that insult peoples intelligence

  • If communication becomes difficult, for any reason - bail out.

  • When something goes wrong resist this urge to ‘fix it’, it doesn't get better. Remember - you're a stranger. Say "It's a bad line, I'm Fred Smith, I'll email you now". Then call-back in 2 days

The First Call. What to say.​​​

"This is James pause calling. I've got a business in (your suburb) pause can you hear me ok?" Leading with this question helps ‘wake them up’ because your call is different to all other calls. You are also testing for technical difficulties before talking and saying your business is close-by to alleviate ‘stranger danger’.

If they reply with anything but a “yes” BAIL OUT. Repeating yourself is very stressful and the purpose of phoning is to make your email ‘valid’ (not spam). You have achieved this objective by calling. If something ‘goes wrong’ it’s out of your control. Time to bail. Now say “It’s (your full name). I’ll. Email. Now. Goodbye.” And hang up. It may sound harsh but it’s not, it’s efficient.

If they reply “yes”. Say "I've just read your website and I'm calling to introduce my business to your business." Just like introducing yourself at a party. How they react is out of your control and therefore doesn't matter to you. Your one and only job is to ask.

Maybe you are making an offer or creating an alliance or inviting them to an event. The information you identified with (liked) on their website, will lead your conversation. If it doesn’t flow – bail out. Maybe you’ll call again

Example - You're a writer and their website is poorly written, maybe you can help.

Example - You're a writer and they're a graphic designer that may need your skills

Example - You really like one of their articles, ask a question …

 

The First Call. Example​ - you’re a writer.

If they have ever thought of hiring a writer, the conversation will continue. Then whatever happens send a really short email.

Only make an offer on the first call if they are sending you strong signals they are interested.

Send a short email offer because a verbal offer is confronting.

Example of ‘an offer’. – offer to re-write a small section of their website for free. Then rewrite a few sentences and email it. Then follow up. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain

If you’re a writer. Ask, “Could you use a writer in the next year?” 

If they give you a YES – Great. Continue the conversation for a maximum of 3 minutes then email

If they give you a hard and fast NO.

First understand that...

  • They may be having a really bad day

  • "No" is rare when you call a local business.

  • "No" can mean "I don't trust you, you're a stranger" which is fair enough.

  • "No" can mean "I'm moving to Hawaii tomorrow."

  • "No" can mean "not today"

You have 2 options when they say NO

First option - bail out, email and don't contact again

Second option - Politely ask “Would you mind if I asked why, because that would help me better understand demand for my service?” This is how you learn about your target market

If they give you anything other than a hard and fast NO (it’s a maybe)

Continue the conversation for a maximum of 3 minutes then email

 

Record what happened - Company Name. Suburb. Spoke with Elaine Smith 10:00am Tuesday 10/08/21. She said ...

Here's a quick random quote

"They won't remember what you said, they will remember how you made them feel."

Maya Angelou

​​

The First Phone Call. What NOT to say​

  • “How are you today?” Is inauthentic, you don’t care how they are. If you really want to say it, you must be specific – use ‘time and space’ by saying "How is your Tuesday morning in Smithville going?" AND you must be willing and able to have an authentic conversation about their response

  • “Is this a good time to talk?” On a cold call, there’s never a ‘good time’ because you're a stranger.

  • “How have you been!?” Do not say this. It's a trick to pretend you are their long-lost-friend to get their attention. Do not trick people

  • "I'm sorry to interrupt ..." You're not interrupting! It's a business call. If they don't want to do business they should live in a tent on a beach. If you are polite and to-the-point, don't apologize

  • “What did you say your name was?” - if they mumble their name. But they may interpret it as “can’t you even say your own name!?” Write down what you think they said and clarify later.

  • Don't go deep or talk for too long. You need reasons to call again

  • Do not 'qualify' them, see Article

How to reply when they say...

“I have to think it over.” Bail out, email and call-back in 7 days

 

How to reply when they say, "sorry who is this?"

They are confused so reply with a truth bomb, as they may be thinking they know you. Reply "We have never spoken before ..." If they are still confused, bail out

How to reply when they say something you don't understand

Be truthful and say, "I don't understand." or "I'm not sure how to answer that."

If the confusion continues, you don't need to hang-around. Don't try and FIX the confusion - it rarely gets better. Say "I think we have a bad connection; I'll email you"

then hang up slowly and send a very short email (to info@... from their website)

 

How to reply when they say, "Sorry, what did you say?"

Do not repeat anything word-for-word. Switch-it-up to make it clearer. If they still don't GET IT there is a communication problem. Discontinue politely by saying you will send an email, (save your energy).

How to reply when they say, "Send me some info"

There’s an 80% chance they are trying to get rid of you.

You can send some info or if you feel confident you can reply

"Do you want info or are you trying to get rid of me" - Truth Bomb

Or

"Would you like info about A, B or C?"

Or

"If I email, I'll be doing follow-up calls, ok with you?"

The conversation will then be led by them. Don’t compete with them. Enjoy it. The result doesn't matter. You have tried. 99.9% of people don't even try.

Voicemail

Have a 10 second message ready. Do not leave your number unless you have a really good reason to (it pressures the prospect and it's your job to call back, not theirs). Do not ask them to do anything. Why? Because you're a stranger​. Use a friendly tone, but not too friendly

In the voicemail

  1. Mention yourself

  2. Mention something about their e.g. website, to show you are familiar with them

  3. Offer specific, practical help

  4. Say "I'll email you now, from (your email address) to (their email address).”

 

Calls always going to voicemail? That's Ok. Don't give up! I've had customers continuously buy without ever talking to them

 

Record what happened - Company Name. Suburb. Left standard voicemail with Lynne Smith 10:00am Tuesday 10/08/21.

​​

Truth Bombs - Helpful lines for tricky First Calls

  • "It's OK if you need to hang-up on me"

  • "We have never spoken before"​

Ending the call

  • Do not ask for a meeting on your first call, that's what the desperate do

  • Do not push for a 'next step'. It should come organically. If you ask prematurely, it could be seen as PUSHY 

  • Do not hang-up first (your 'slow' could be their 'fast')

Email after you call

  • so they can understand you, in their own time, at their own pace.

  • so they remember you

ALWAYS email after a call. Don’t let your interpretation of their ‘attitude’ stop you from emailing

 

The subject line of your email will refer directly to the telephone conversation (or voicemail) you just had with them (So there is no chance of confusion)

"Hi John, we just spoke about …” OR “Hi John, I just left a voicemail message about ...".

Then customise an intro from your online research. This shows you have invested time in them.

Then paste your very short business summary.

Email - Are you joking?

Don't be afraid to use humour. Especially in follow up emails. "Dear John. You haven't answered. I'm worried, have you been abducted by aliens. If so, please send a selfie."

 

Which email address to use?

  • Don’t ask for an email address, just send it to the address on their website. If they verbally give you an email address, just write what you hear, then research (google) to find the correct spelling. Don't waste your time asking them to spell it again. And cc it to the address on their website

  • You have the email address. Now ask a question to better understand their business and know what information to send them. Don’t converse for more than a minute.

​The Second Call +

  • On the first call you may find you have information / advice that can benefit them. Hold off an the advice. Do a few minutes research and call back another day with the information - this is the reason for the second call

  • You are always looking for reason to call back because trust is built over time

  • The second call may be your last. You can call up to 6 times, depending on many factors such as previous conversations and the size of your target market.

  • Follow-up is essential because trust is built over time

  • Follow-up is important because PEOPLE FORGET. You are not being pushy

  • You will not annoy if you are ready to provide insights, tips, 'how to' articles, events, case studies or even something funny / entertaining

  • Most of the time you’ll be having little or no conversation

  • Most sales take 5 - 20 'touches' and half of all salespeople give up after one call

  • The second call is for 'setting up' a possible third call. Remembering this, will take the pressure off. As soon as the call gets tricky or the person gets flustered, look for ways to politely end the call. Because, once again, trust is built over time

If you speak to the same person on the second call, say, Hi Joan we spoke last Tuesday about ... ask about the email you sent... ask one or two questions ... learn ... help ... ask for help ...

 

If a different person (e.g. David) answers the phone, do not refer to Joan because this will shift focus from David. David is now your contact.

Record - Company Name. Suburb. 2nd call. Spoke with David 10:00am Tuesday 10/08/21. He said ...

Helpful lines for follow-up calls​

  • Asking more than 1 question can be felt as controlling, be careful

  • Don't talk about the future (it's unknown). Talk about the past because the past is factual. For example ...

  • "What frustrates you about...?" Hopefully your solution can help

  • "What roadblocks do you experience when you...?"

  • "Why do you say that?"

 

If you feel you are moving towards a sale

  • "How are we travelling together so far?"

Record everything

  • Don't type and talk, because you need to focus on listening. If they hear you typing, they 'll think you’re not listening. Use pen and paper

  • Then transfer it to your CRM. Which can be a calendar, excel spreadsheet, software or notepad. Whatever works for you

  • Your records will inform what you say on your next call

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