Canadian Consulting Engineer

By Nicole Attias   

Business: Cold Calling: Telephone Tips

Engineering

Are you an engineer who operates your own small business? Strong speaking skills during face-to-face appointments are crucial to your success. But so is prospecting over the telephone. Cold calling, n...

Are you an engineer who operates your own small business? Strong speaking skills during face-to-face appointments are crucial to your success. But so is prospecting over the telephone. Cold calling, networking and following up with clients can make or break your business. How you introduce yourself and how you follow up with clients after meeting with them says so much about you. Here are some tips.

• Speak to receptionists as though they are the most valuable people you can get to know. Make no mistake: they will feel so great about dealing with you that they will mention you in the best possible light to decision-makers. This is exactly what you want! When dealing with people, never judge them by what they do. It clouds your perception and you might use stereotypes to assess their credibility.

• In order to be effective once you have managed to reach the decision maker: (1) Prepare a short introduction about who you are and what you do. State three benefits about your business and mention what makes you special and different when it comes to your competitors. (2) Be persistent. Leave numerous voice-mail messages for prospects in a creative fashion. For instance you can state specific dates and times when you will be available to meet after providing literature about what you offer. Remember that if you don’t ask for the appointment, you won’t get the appointment. Period. (3) Accept rejection on your road to success. Many professionals avoid making cold calls because they hate being let down over and over again. They also fear becoming a pest or a nuisance to others.

• Although you are an engineer, when making calls imagine wearing the “hat” of salesman. Every time you connect with people you are doing so as a sales professional. You are relaxed, confident and powerful when describing what you do differently from your competition. You are inquisitive. You are always planning your next steps to move the sale to a close.

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• One of the well-known principles of excellent customer service is expressing “empathy.” Empathy is established when you take the time to put yourself in someone else’s (your client’s) shoes. Strong relationships are formed when emotions are used. Building rapport with your clients is what it’s all about. Logic, analysis and being detail-oriented all have their time and place.

• When it comes to understanding people, look at yourself for a moment. As an engineer, your tendency in business might be to demonstrate strong analytical and methodical skills. You are less likely to express your feelings and emotions. You might even view people who do this as “weak.” But holding back your true feelings might actually work against you when it comes to cold calling or sales.

• You can begin your journey of cold calling by making 20-30 per day. It usually takes 10 calls before you get that first appointment when you first start. The key is to get past those uncomfortable feelings of rejection and get into the pattern of making the same number of calls at a specific time each day. You will master what works best for you over time. Persist and the business is yours.

Nicole Attias is a presentation-skills facilitator and coach in Toronto. www.Nicole-Attias.com

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