Pick Up the Phone for More Business
Cold calling is still a viable business development strategy, although it is certainly a more challenging endeavor than it was 30 years ago.
Dealing with automated systems, voicemail, gatekeepers and people who just don’t use their phone that much anymore are all obstacles to speaking with your intended audience. Once you do get that person on the other line, though, traditional cold calling conversation techniques are still applicable today.
Consider the following dos and don’ts of cold calling.
- Don’t start by asking “How are you doing today?” Think about it. Hearing that question from a total stranger sounds disingenuous from the get-go. You might get the response “Terrible, thanks for asking.”
- Don’t run from rejection. According to researchers, a reasonable cold call success rate is just 1% to 2%. So it’s statistically unlikely you’ll close even a small percentage of sales during that initial contact. Instead, learn from each call. Figure out what worked and what didn’t. Record the results. Study periodically to improve your success rate. If someone says no, ask for clarification and use that knowledge to inform future calls.
- Don’t excuse yourself. Newbies often start with a statement like, “I’m sorry for bothering you” or “You don’t know me, but…” Preemptive apologies don’t work. You might as well say, “This is going to be annoying. Please hang up.”
- Don’t leave rambling voicemails. Studies show that over 90% of calls now go to voicemail. So be concise. Don’t leave numerous voicemails with the same message. Your goal is to pique curiosity so you’ll get a return call. For example, you might mention that you were recommended by a friend or business associate (if true, of course). Or briefly describe a problem that your company’s products can address.
- Do immediately state your full name and the company you represent. Don’t make them ask. Stay in control. Be direct and you’ll command greater respect—and make more sales.
- Do master the script. If you sound like a robot or bad actor, you’ll lose precious seconds. The longer the call, the greater your odds of keeping potential customers engaged. So memorize your introduction. Write out open-ended questions to keep the conversation moving forward. Analyze places in the script where you routinely get stuck. Practice with a coworker until you’ve memorized answers for common objections.
Despite the modern barriers to reaching who you want to speak with, cold calling can still play a key role in your overall marketing and business development strategy.
As always, we hope you find our tips and news for businesses valuable, and look forward to receiving your feedback. Companies focused on growth have sought the help of Insero & Co. for more than 40 years. During that time they have consistently experienced the peace of mind that comes from knowing their CPA firm takes the concept of integrity seriously. Should you have any questions about segregation of duties, please contact us directly.