Tips for calling new prospects
Pick up the phone and see where it takes you.
With emails, texts, online marketing channels and social media, many professionals today are becoming more detached from each other—and this is not a good thing for the reserved. Adding a live voice to the mix when communicating with new people is not only effective, but also refreshing.
Rejection is the main barrier or roadblock for procrastination in picking up the phone to reach out to new prospects. One way to start is by leaving great voice messages, as most CFOs and CEOs will be too busy to pick up their phone anyway.
Leaving clear, concise voice messages will yield next steps and the answers you seek. Maybe you want to get in the door with an important decision-maker. Maybe you want to close your next deal. How you speak and what you say both matter.
It is amazing how many professionals lack basic etiquette. Most do not view picking up the phone as enjoyable.
It is best to keep your pitch to no more than a few lines or simply ask a few questions. Be yourself when you pick up the phone and see where it takes you.
- Do your research and know your message
What do you want to convey with your message? Who do you want to meet and how will you leave a lasting impression? Start by researching the decision maker to whom you are reaching out.
This way, you can mention their specific accomplishments and knowledge, including any points about which you would like to learn more. Showing interest in this way is a great way to start a conversation and can build an instant connection. People love to talk about themselves!
This strategy will allow you to customize your message before you pick up the phone. Knowing how to approach the right decision maker will yield faster results. And your goal should always be to arrange a first meeting.
- Build rapport
Another key step after picking up the phone is to turn a cold call into a warm one. This takes time, but by facing the fear of rejection, you will go a long way.
Beyond mentioning accomplishments, you can build rapport with your prospect by following their timing. For example, if they say, “This isn’t a good time, call me next week,” then call them next week. If they say, “Call me in a few months,” then call them in a few months. Your persistence over the long term will pay off, but it must be according to their timeline, not yours.
Then you can ask to meet to discuss the added value of your services. People usually appreciate the time you take with them, so long as listening is part of it. Details can be given face to face.
- Accept the word ‘no’
Most people avoid cold calling because of how many times they have to hear ‘no’ before they get to a ‘yes,’ but any response is better than no response—and the more times you hear ‘no,’ the closer you are to a ‘yes.’
Track how many calls you make per day, week or month and, as mentioned, follow your prospects’ timelines for appropriate followup calls. Being organized and detailed in these ways will yield results.
Combine patience and persistence. Cold calling can work wonders over time. By learning to weed out bad experiences, you can even start to predict possible outcomes, while learning how to handle the same objections that keep popping up again and again.
- Maintain relationships
Once a deal is signed, maintain a good relationship. It takes time to build one, but only a few minutes to destroy.
Keeping clients happy is no different from keeping staff happy. Regular ‘maintenance’ is required so everything operates effectively.
Professionals interact differently when they feel cared for. If this care is missing, then a lack of commitment and enthusiasm will show in their everyday dealings. The last thing you want to do is lose customers because they feel undervalued; this can lead to a bad reputation for your business.
- Understand the importance of the call
When salespeople are prospecting, they can be viewed as pushy, self-centred or money-hungry, so cold calling has been given a bad name and may be seen as a relic of the past. Yet, on the contrary, it remains one of the most effective ways to get in the door to meet new prospects and close new business.
‘Playing the numbers game’ involves rejection and frustration, but understanding this will help you get past the negative image of cold calling and achieve positive results. It is a game you play over the long haul, using all of your skills and capabilities. And you can still send emails and connect via social media, but the importance of the call cannot be ignored. CEOs and CFOs will appreciate your persistence; they were there once, too.
Nicole Attias is a creative thinker with extensive business development experience, including cold calling and networking in commercial real estate. She also specializes in business articles, presentations, public relations (PR) and sales coaching. She can be contacted at 416-831-0356.