There is a lot of literature available about how to improve cold calls, but the suggestions are usually quite basic, covering things like “introduce yourself with your name and company”, “sound pleasant” and “know your product”-most of which are a given- and obsolete, in that they disregard the plethora of new tools and technology that have now become available to us. Here we’ve listed a couple of tried and tested ways that have been effective in 2014, and can make this process more effective and less of a pain:
1. Look It Up Before You Pick It Up Usually cold calls are to pitch an idea or a product that the person you are calling is not yet using, or does not yet know about. That means that the receiver of the call is in the dark. You must ensure that your side is different:
- Use LinkedIn to do a quick search about the company you’re calling
- Look at the “size of the company”; companies having 1-10 or 11-50 employees (group sizes as available on LinkedIn) are usually startups or SMEs, so it’s unlikely that they will have managers for individual departments
- Nevertheless, have a quick look at the “Employees on LinkedIn” section and try and identify a person who’s in the department you wish to contact or if you’re feeling pumped, the CEO. For example, if you were calling about an online assessment tool, you’d want to speak to the HR Department to tell them you have a way to make their job easier
- If possible, get a phone number off LinkedIn itself, but if not, visit the company’s website (details below) and go to the “Contact Us” page
If not LinkedIn:
- If by some grievous fault of their own the company you’re calling doesn’t have a LinkedIn page, do a Google Search to get a contact number and office location
- This search is likely to yield a company website as well, so give it a quick visit, focusing on their “About Us” and “The/Our Team” pages, to get a feel of the company i.e. its size, its locations and offices, and even how well developed and informative its website is (how to interpret what a company’s website says about it is another matter altogether)
- If none of the above works, download a Caller ID application like TruCaller on a company mobile phone, and make sure you’re connected to a fast data connection- this app will identify some detail or the other about who you’re calling
- More often than not, the person who picks up the phone isn’t going to be the person you want to speak to, so by immediately specifying who that person is, you increase the chances of the call being transferred, rather than dismissed because you sound like a cold caller with a simple “he’s busy, sorry, call back later”, or a “why don’t you just drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org”
- Your search doesn’t necessarily end here because the underlying rule is that ‘before you offer them a better way to do something, know how they’re doing it currently’- so you may have to look at their “what we do”, “our clients” or even “careers” page
2. Less is More If you think this process will take too much time (even after it becomes part of a routine and thus, faster), consider adding another person to the team and splitting the research + calling amongst all 3 …EQUALLY. This next suggestion comes from experience which lost our telecallers quite a number of brain cells.
- It’s better you divide the work; Lesser quantity= Greater Quality. Repetition numbs the mind, making responses slower and less coherent, induces dissatisfaction, and promotes a lowered desire to perform well and ability to be productive
- When you pick up the phone, don’t sound like you think you’re supposed to- professional, one track minded and polite- instead, speak like you would to a friend whom you once had a relationship with but now have called to talk business. That doesn’t mean you use slang like “What’s Up” or “Hey, you free?” but go with something like, “Goood Morning, this is Tony from Marcella Enterprises. I was wondering, could I speak to Mark, in HR?”
- You have a personality and an identity- you’re X,Y or Z for instance- and you are more than just someone filling a job role at XYZ company, or so you must act like to make yourself sound more real. If you find yourself fumbling at this point, wondering how to infuse your personality into a sentence, just ensure you sound comfortable. That itself can do wonders.
- If a person makes 100 calls a day, the likelihood that he or she can sound like a real person reduces drastically; this is exactly why nobody wants to talk to a telecaller, because they make customers feel like they’re just one of many, and because they aren’t really interested in their needs and have nothing special to offer
- This negativity can be cut down if the caller sounds more ‘human’, less ‘employee’
- More importantly, since cold calls are supposed to “build a relationship”- is it humanly possible for a person to maintain a cuztomised or personalised tone of voice when even a scribbled note can’t remind them what the conversation had been like?
- So, what would you rather do? Option A: 10 Hours~ 100 Calls~ 1 Person= Upto 20 Successes Option B: 10 Hours~ 120 Calls~ 2 People, 60 Calls Each~ 30 Successes each= Upto 60 Successes
3. Be The Follow Up
This final suggestion comes as an alternative to the generally accepted definition of cold calling, as a whole.
- Given LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, GitHub and About Me profiles, acquiring an email ID isn’t all that hard
- Use the aforementioned means to find out as much as you can about the person/company you’re trying to contact and get in touch with them via email- or some other way- giving them a brief about why you’re calling, but mostly just asking them for a good time to talk (this is a better approach as you climb up the company size ladder)
- Upon receiving a response, we THEN had a telephone conversation with them that was far warmer that it wouldn’t have been, unannounced
- Even if you don’t receive a response (this happens quite a lot), you can use the email as a talking point, and a way to give form to an otherwise in-the-air pitch. If you receive no responses, consider a change in your pitch, or in the media being used to communicate
- Remember that using a personal ID of someone in your company increases the chance of getting a responses as compared to using a generic care@ or hello@ ID
- The answer lies in this prospective given from a call receiver’s point of view:
- When you receive a cold call from somebody, and you end the conversation hastily because they are annoying you, you either forget about them completely in a couple of minutes, or form a negative opinion about them or their company (don’t deny it..)
- Given this context then, what are the chances that an email from them isn’t going to get deleted, get put into spam, or get ignored?
- On the other hand, if you receive an email, which you ignore, or- heaven thanks you- you reply to, a follow up call is likely to make more sense; all you need to do is ask the caller, “when did you send it? wait, let me have a look” and the conversation would turn out a lot more fruitful, considering you’d have an email from them open in front of you rather than an unrelated web page that just makes you want to cut the phone
These are the 3 tips we have for now. Please comment below with any reactions, suggestions and additions, and we’ll be sure to add them in our subsequent posts!