- It's a good idea to warm a call up a bit with a personal connection, perhaps through a mutual friend or association membership.
- I like to get a feel for the potential client's needs by doing a small amount of research first, either by the web or connecting with a few of my associates in the biz.
- Armed with a bit of knowledge, I use it not to tell my potential client what I think she needs, but to frame my questions in a way that helps her get directly to the point. I don't know anyone who has the patience to explain what is easily attainable through a little background work, but I have met lots of people who have shown me the professional courtesy of sharing information in answer to a genuine query about their unstated needs.
Cold calling is not dead. It's an introduction that can be nurtured at networking events, trade shows, conventions and monthly meetings of our Association. At it's best it isn't a cold call at all, it's a follow up to a conversation we've started elsewhere. It's a live connection to a mutual interest perhaps, or a common goal.
If we determine we're not a good match, isn't it better for both parties to have had the conversation? Neither of us wants to do business if it's just going to end in anything less than success.
A thoughtful and professionally delivered telephone call is far from a nagging annoyance in a busy person's day; it may just be the right information (for both parties) at exactly the right time and it can lead to a satisfying and profitable relationship.
So, for all those salespeople who believe cold calling is dead, you just keep on believing it. That just frees the phone lines up for those of us who don't.