You don’t know the answer until you ask, as the saying goes. But that doesn’t make the idea of cold calling potential clients any less dread-inspiring for most of us. A few tips to get you on track….
1) Face that worst-case scenario!
So, someone hangs up on you or says something not so nice. That’s not nearly as embarrassing as walking into a big presentation in mismatched shoes… or getting pulled over for speeding the one time you wear your pajamas to drop the kids at school… or strolling around with toilet paper stuck to your shoe all day, is it?? Face the fear – and jump in!
2) Practice – on the right person.
Who do small-business owners turn to to practice a speech or presentation? The folks at hand – spouse, older kids, friends, the family dog. Uncritical critics. And often, folks who are not busy small-business owners themselves. Try pairing up with a fellow business owner to practice your cold call scripts on each other.
3) Think “help” not “sell.”
No one wants to answer the phone to hear a salesperson at the other end. “How I can help your business succeed” must be the theme of your talking points.
4) No ad libbing on voicemail.
Write your voice mail script down and stick to it. Ad libbing can easily become babbling!
5) Try an old-school follow-up.
If you get the brush off from a prospect you genuinely believe is a great fit, follow up by mailing (yes, with a stamp) a typed or handwritten note. “I got the impression I phoned you at a bad time today. My intent was to share with you some ideas for [insert how you can help the prospect’s business succeed].” Provide your phone and e-mail and end with a thank you for their time.