Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cold Calling Sales: Where Can You Start From?

Cold Calling Sales.
Cold Calling Sales. One of the most powerful tools to develop your business or, better yet, any business, is doing cold call selling or "Puerta Fría", as it is referred to in Spanish.

It is called "cold calling" simply because you are going to address a person who didn’t know you even existed, weather you make the contact by phone, email, or, in the most traditional way of all, visiting new prospects door by door.

I consider it a great tool because it allows you to compensate for the lack of efficiency of any advertising campaign you could put together for your business. As I usually do, let me explain what I mean.

Let’s suppose you’re starting your brand new business and to get your first new customers, you made a promotional campaign with flyers, you placed some ads in the local newspaper, got yourself a facebook fan page and also started following a few people on twitter. But despite your efforts, still no one comes to your business or phones you to hire your services.

So what do you do to get fresh, brand new customers?

The perfect tool in this situation is doing cold calling sales, that is, going out there, to the world and offer your products or services directly, without intermediaries, face to face to new prospects. It’s the best tool because it’s completely under your control and it’s only you the one responsible for its results and performance.

And although it seems like such a simple thing as simply saying: "Let me grab a little folder along with some business cards, some freshly printed brochures, which by the way came out really nice, and I just go out there to kick the roads and find new customers," cold calling sales actually demand a thorough planning process if you really want to do it effectively and take full advantage of it.

Cold calling sales, as any other sales process, has three steps: before, during and after, which are:

  1. Planning.
  2. Execution.
  3. Follow up.

In today’s post, I will focus on the "before stage" or the planning process which is required to make sure your cold calling sales strategy give you the best results, so that you can go out there and come back with new clients.

How to plan a “cold calling” sales campaign?

I’d like to talk with you about selling professional services (intangible assets), which is usually a little bit more complicated topic than going out to sell a tangible product.

You have to make sure that everything I’m about to share with you is done before knocking your first cold door. Keep in mind "the first impression is the most important one" and that "there is never a second chance to make a good first impression."

Let’s start then with the product which, in this case, is yourself.

Before you do anything, your product must be ready, therefore you should be fully capable of answering the following questions:

  • What product will you provide? Which will be the extent of your services? Are you going to offer yourself as a consultant or as a "I-do-it-all-myself” kind of person? Are you going to offer just one service, or several? Your product must be clearly defined so that your prospect can really identify it with no dualities or misinterpretations. If the client cannot identify your product easily, it will be extremely difficult for him to properly value it, and that's a big problem for you.
  • Clearly define the problems you are capable of solving and how would you do it. Don’t ever forget your customer will not buy your services but your ability to solve its problems. Make a list of needs your customer might have, and clearly develop the solution you would propose to each one of them.
  • How much will you charge customers for your services? Are you going to offer your services for a monthly flat fee in exchange of an specific amount of hours? Are you going to offer your services as a “package"? Are you going to have a minimum term contract? This is the one-million-dollar question: If you miscalculate your pricing proposal, you can easily be “tagged” as either too cheap or too expensive. Which is the right place for you? It will depend on the following point ...
  • Have you clearly defined your "unique selling proposition"? If you don’t know what a "unique selling proposition" is, think of it as an statement which is going to help you stand out from the crowd, from other professionals who offer the same services. What makes you different? If you can’t differentiate yourself from others, it will be difficult for you to ask for your services more money than what other people ask.
  • Obviously, all your promotional materials, should be ready and should reflect the correct information as you indicated it above. That’s why planning is such an important stage. Can you imagine printing out your brochures only to find out the information included on them doesn’t accurately reflect what you offer? What if a sales visit goes really well and when you leave, your client-to-be goes online to check your LinkedIn profile, or your website to get to know a bit more about you, only to find out your profile isn’t complete or, even worst, poorly done? What impression do you think it would create?

Defining your product, in this case, the services you are going to offer, is vital to the success of your cold calling visits. Know what you are offering in full details, so that you are fit to properly answer all questions your potential customer can make during the sales call.

Click here to read the second part of this post:
Cold Calling Sales (Part II): Who Your Initial Prospects Will Be?

Related post:
How to make a successful sale: Do we create needs or simply discover them?

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