Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cold Calling Sales (Part II): Who Your Initial Prospects Will Be?

Cold Calling Sales (Part II)
Ok, your product is clearly defined, collateral material is all in order, you know how much you’ll charge customers for your services, and you even had the opportunity to put together an excel sheet to write your quotations.

You’re ready to take on the streets and start looking for those new customers you’re so eager to engage with.

The next step is natural: go out and do "cold calling", by that I mean, visiting people who don’t know who you are, make your presentation and eventually get them to hire your services.

Did you know there's a way to warm up those, otherwise, "cold doors"?

Yes, there is. “Cold calling” can be done in two different ways: What is usually referred to as “pure and rough” cold calls which means, well, that: knocking on doors of people who don’t know anything about you. Or you can also be a little smarter and put on some heat to warm up those doors so that they are neither so cold nor so rough.

How to do it is a really simple procedure.

Start with your connections and friends.

During your career you've accumulated a number of contacts, friends, family and relatives who are connected with you through an incipient (or very good) relationship.

What if you make a list and write down all those who are within your existing circle of contacts and might be interested in the services you are going to offer?

What are the advantages of doing this initial selection?

Well the first advantage is obvious: If there is a prior relationship with the person you’re going to meet with, the stress of visiting someone who is completely unknown to you disappears, the door is then open for you and the sales call will not be done in glacial ice.

Another advantage? Since the person you’re visiting already knows who you are, your sales presentation is going to be a little more "informal", light, you'll be more confident and your partner will even give you advice on how to do it better, depending on how closely related that person is to you.

We can even come to say that by visiting people in your contact list, you will have the opportunity to tune up your sales presentation and be ready when you go out to do it in front of a complete stranger.

After my contact list is done, how can I get more business prospects?

Let’s suppose then you've exhausted your contact list, you've already made a few visits to people you already knew from before, and eventually you could close one or more business.

What do you do now that your contact list is done? It’s then time to create a brand new list of prospects to visit. For this, there are several things you should consider to make it more effectively:

  • Depending on whether you’re planning to offer your services on an international, national or local basis, your prospect list will vary. You have to define this clearly so that you can make a better use of your time. It makes no sense, at the beginning, to drive long distances to make a cold call visit, because it ends up being a waste of energy and time, unless you can be sure there is a lot of potential on such visit.
  • Also based on your proposed offer of services, you can search the Internet for businesses that are likely of interest to you. For example, let’s say you want to offer your services as a "Community Manager", then it would be wise to start off by visiting companies which already have some sort of digital presence, whether it’s a Facebook page, or a website that you can improve, a Twitter account you can manage better, and things like that. When a customer already has this digital presence, you can "suppose" it will be easier for him to understand what you will be offering.
  • You can even develop prospect lists for specific industries. For example, if you love airplanes, as I do, you could make a list of all airlines and aviation companies of your interest and approach them.

Once you've created a list of the people you are going to visit, it’s always recommended to finish up by doing these two things:

  • Make it a habit to document yourself about the company you are visiting. If you have chosen companies that have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, for instance, you could start by following their posts for a few days so that you become familiar with what they publish. The idea is to be informed about your future prospect, so that you have a better idea about them when you approach them.
  • Try to get a contact’s name or a person you can approach directly: This is perhaps the most difficult thing to do, but it’s always worth the effort. It makes no sense to approach a business or company with the old-fashion question: "May I speak with the business owner, the decision maker, the 'big kahuna'?". That is already out of date. Try to get a name, even the assistant’s or the receptionist’s, if necessary. It will always be much easier to approach a business or company asking for someone in particular, instead of simply out of the blue.

And at this point, you're ready to continue making your “cold calling” sales campaigns, but if you've paying attention, those doors you are going to be knocking on aren’t so cold now, are they?

Like I said in the first post of this duo (link below), I personally think cold calling sales is a business skill you should develop if you are planning to go as a freelancer or even launch your own business

Those selling skills are always useful in many aspects of life. Don’t you think?

Related Articles:
Cold Calling Sales (Part I): Where Can You Start From?
Are You An Entrepreneur And Don’t Like Selling?

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