Recently there have been a series of articles about just “diving” in to cold calling and even one that expanded the metaphor to either just getting in the pool and doing it and how that will make it easier. Â For my clients, cold calling isn’t like jumping into a pool – we can all do that. Â It is more like walking into a huge party, knowing no one and everyone is already in a conversation so no matter who you talk to, you are interrupting.
If I jump into a pool, I have to deal with the change in temperature but it only affects me – unless I splash everyone else in the pool. In reality, most of my clients don’t mind jumping headfirst into something they want to do but is unknown. They know they can figure it out or get used to it or whatever. But walking into that party and bravely walking up to a total stranger and introducing yourself is tough for anyone. Â So here are some ideas to make it easier:
1. Know who will be there – research your list first. Don’t just call and ask for a position, call and ask for someone by name. Â At that party, it is much more powerful to walk up to someone and say, “excuse me, aren’t you Jane Smith from ABC Company?” than just try to interrupt. Â Same with calls – know who you are calling.
2. Create bullet points for what you want to cover. There is nothing worse than answering the phone and having the other person say, “Oh! I expected to get your voice mail!”. Â Only once have I said, “okay – here ya go!” and transferred that person to my voice mail but that one was fun. Â Scripts are nice, but they often sound like scripts so only read a script if you know you can make it sound natural. Â Bullet points allow you to check them off as you hit them but also allows more flexibility.
3. Leave a voice mail – many people have told me over the years they don’t leave voice mail because it is never returned. Well, when I look at my missed phone calls or if I’m in my office and see a number, if the person doesn’t leave a voice mail I wonder why. Â It seems odd that their Â information wasn’t important enough to go in a voice mail. Â Likewise, compelling voice mails CAN get results so have something to say in your voicemail!
4. Actually, have something compelling to say either way. Â Tell me something I might not have known, could use in a meeting, could quote to a client, could send in an email, SOMETHING. Â That gets people’s attention and gives you the instant credibility you need. In fact, if I have a good piece of information to give a prospect, I generally like to leave it in voice mail or send an email first because then they call me to get more info. Â Very powerful stuff.
5. Remember that the difference between interrupting someone at a party and calling them on the phone is they can choose whether they take your call. Â If someone is standing next to you trying to talk it is tough to ignore them but if the person is truly busy, they won’t pick up. Â So in that regard, they gave you some permission to interrupt – even if it is for a very short time.
Everyone has to make cold calls at some point and they aren’t easy. But having a plan, knowing something of value to say, being honest and professional goes a long way to making it easier. Â You have a product or service to offer that this person may need or you wouldn’t call. Just keep that in mind and uh… dive in?