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Should You Give Up On Cold Calling as a Small Business
Copyright© 2007 by Charlie Cook
Ever had second thoughts about using cold calling to
find new clients?
Before you pick up the phone to make a single cold-call,
there are several things you should know. First, few
people are naturally successful at cold calling.
Second, cold calling has a bad reputation as a marketing
tool. Most people find cold calls intrusive and
Third, conversion rates for cold calls are typically
about 2%, compared to 20% for solid leads and 50% for
With three strikes against cold calling, shouldn't you
cross this marketing strategy off your list once and for
all? No! The reason most cold calls fail is simply
because they're done wrong.
If you're thinking of giving up on using the phone to
generate leads, first ask yourself if it is cold calling
that annoys people, or the way its done. Don't throw the
baby out with the bathwater - many small businesses have
been built on the basis of successful cold-calling
One of my clients, Steve, confessed that he didn't want
to be bothered with most small business marketing
Give him a list of leads and a phone and in a couple of
hours and he could find a warm prospect. Instead of
alienating prospects, his cold calls resulted in more
Cold-calling worked for Steve because he was a master at
it. You too can become a master of cold calling when you
know how to prepare and how to make the calls using the
strategy detailed below.
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Why Do People Hate Most Cold Calls?
We're all assaulted by hundreds of advertising
messages each day. Many we choose to ignore, a
select few catch our interest. The ones that
annoy us the most are the ones we are forced to
pay attention to without any choice. If you want
to overcome this natural resistance you’ll need
to find out how to make your cold-calls less
Get Your Prospects' Permission
One of the most effective ways to generate a
lead on your website is to ask a prospect to
give you his or her email address and then, with
their permission, send them ideas and
information they want.
The same is true when you pick up the phone to
call a prospect. Get your prospect's permission,
give them the information they want, and you can
generate a warm lead and a sale.
The traditional approach to small business
marketing and cold calling shoves a 'sell' in
the prospect's face.
people don't respond well to this.
The more effective alternative is to get a
prospect's attention, ask permission, find out
what they want and then give them what they
How To Generate Leads and Sales with Your Phone
Before you make the call; prepare for your marketing
A. Don't blindly pick up the phone and except to get
results. When at all possible, research your prospects'
needs. The more you know about what they want the more
effective you'll be on the phone. Depending on who you're
calling, you can:
- Research the individual company and person to identify
problem areas where you could be of assistance. Send a
letter or a series of postcards in advance of your call.
- Use a response form on your web site or a postcard to
prompt your prospects to tell you what they are looking for.
On the form, ask the prospect to tell you what his biggest
or most intractable problem is.
When a prospect completes an inquiry form on your web site,
you've got the most important thing to a successful call;
their permission for you to contact them again, to discuss
how you can help them.
- Survey your existing clients to define the 3-5 reasons
they find your products and services valuable.
B. Your first objective with a prospect isn't to sell to
them. Before a sale can take place you need to establish
rapport and find out what they want and need. If you haven't
already done this with your marketing then you'll need to
take the first couple of calls to do this and then you can
move towards a sale.
Making the call - partner with your prospect
1. State your name and ask the prospect if they have a
moment. (Get their permission to continue the
2. If they're busy, schedule a time to call back. This way
you’ve got their permission to have the next conversation.
3. Give them a reason to listen. Let them know you'll be
brief and tell them why you are calling. Tell them what your
firm does in terms of the benefits you provide.
example, 'We help hotels like yours increase bookings and
generate more revenue per guest.'
4. Tell them you'd like to ask them a couple of questions
and get their permission to proceed. Then find out what's
working and what's not and what types of solutions they are
5. Summarize what they’ve told you about their needs and
wants. Then ask them if you could solve the problems they
just told you they wanted solved, whether it’d be worth
schedule at time to talk further. Next, schedule a meeting
or follow-up conversation.
Advertising, web sites, email, and sales letters are great
ways to market your products and services, but...
picking up the phone and personally talking to a prospect
can get immediate results when you apply fundamental
marketing principles and techniques.
Use these 5 steps to master marketing on the phone and
you'll generate more lead and sales and have more fun
marketing on the phone.
2007 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
The author, Charlie Cook, helps small business
owners and marketing professionals attract more
clients and be more successful. Sign up to
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'7 Steps to get more clients and grow your