Let’s Get Smart about Cold Calling
Gone are the days when you hand a cold list to a sales rep and ask them to “smile and dial” until they find a solid prospect. If that has not happened in your organization, it should.
Let’s take a close look at the old fashion term, cold calling. In the past, it was used almost exclusively for a sales rep to pitch a product and/or service. And it was tough going to get through to the correct person and have a conversation. Typically, when a rep cold called they used a generic (same script for everybody) approach.
There is a new approach and it is called “smart calling.” This is where one uses calls to learn what the prospect’s organization is trying to accomplish, and to see if the caller’s product or service would be helpful. The smart caller creates a unique approach for each call, one that is based on significant research and pre-call preparation.
Research Before Calling
A visit to a company’s website can yield a wealth of knowledge. You can view how they are presenting themselves to the world. On some sites, you can determine the key players in the organization and see if they have any company announcements. As an example, they may be celebrating an accomplishment or won an award. Adding that information to the caller’s conversation points tells the prospect you are informed. This approach beats the opening line: “tell me a little about your business” or asking inquiring questions they may or may not answer.
A pet peeve of many is the uninformed caller. Here is, what I feel, is an excellent example from the event industry. Show organizers will be holding an event in a location and they normally use a hotel in that city. So many large hotel chains have their reps call on these show organizers. The uninformed person will ask: “now what are your show dates?” That information is clearly on the show’s website and can be easily obtained. Normally, the show organizer wants to hang up on this person, because they are wasting their time and at first impression, appear to be lazy.
If you have targeted companies on a call list you might consider using Google Alerts to augment your research efforts. Realize this takes a few days to get set up, but it can yield valuable information.
You might not be familiar with Google Alerts. Here is some information from Google on them:
Google Alerts are emails sent to you when Google finds new results — such as web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs — that match your search term. You can use Google Alerts to monitor anything on the Web. For example, people use Google Alerts to:
- find out what is being said about their company or product
- monitor a developing news story
- keep up to date on a competitor or industry
- get the latest news on a celebrity or sports team
- find out what’s being said about themselves
When you lose the elevator pitches, hype, and feature dumps, it differentiates you and makes your call memorable. It is important to remember to ask before telling and learn before selling.
If you use a list provider, ask them to append the list with behavioral data. It makes the purchase price go up but contains valuable information which could shorten the sales cycle. To append the information, most firms will have these variables included:
- Consumer Interest
- Life Event
- Real Property
- Consumer Behavior
- Technology Use
- Age (all members in household)
- Individual Demographics
- Household Demographics
Behavior demographic data append helps you improve the performance of your marketing efforts by appending hundreds of demographic attributes to your existing customer/prospect database.
Four Tips To Consider For Smart Calling:
- Conduct some type of research on a company before you pick up the phone
- If you buy a list for calling purposes, get ones that have behavioral information as well as SIC codes
- Train the callers to approach the conversation as information gathering rather than pitching a product
- Record the responses, so you have intelligence for future calls
Is the information and tips in this article helpful to you? I’d love to hear from you. Send me your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org