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7 weeks in and today I made my first 'cold calls'. Yuck.

(13 Posts)
nomorecrumbs Fri 02-Aug-13 18:36:51

Gaah I did cold-calling - and practically nothing but cold-calling - for 40 hours a week for a whole year in my last job.

I echo everything that's been said above, plus you may find success in doing a bit of online/word-of-mouth research on a decision-maker/PA you're trying to sell to/get past. I get cold-called quite a lot in my current job as a decision-maker and actually tell the cold-callers that they should do their research and then call me. It makes them sound more informed and persuasive, plus if you can slip in that you noticed their success and hard-work doing bla bla and you'd love to work with them to develop bla... then it helps soften them up...everyone likes a compliment!

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Fri 02-Aug-13 18:20:04

It's a long time since I did this but I'm sure the principles are the same:
try and find out who the decision maker is and speak to them - or befriend their PA so they'll put you through if that person's around (easier said than done when some PAs are like Fort Knox to get past). Mailshots/emails give you an initial reason to call - but, as someone said, some kind of offer or hook specific to that client is a good idea, rather than just a 'this is me and this is what I do.'

It's a numbers game really, so every no is a step closer to a yes (think we reckoned one in ten as a ratio), and a yes can be an agreement to meet for a chat, or a recommendation of someone else to call. And actually, if you're being asked questions that's brilliant! On a first call, when they've never heard of you, you're obviously doing something right if you're sparking curiosity.

Approach as an equal, never say 'I'm just calling because...' (I'm sure you wouldn't anyway).
Don't ask 'can I call you back?' or 'can we arrange a meeting?' but 'when's a good time to...?'

Fake it 'til you make it - confident but human, friendly voice, never sound embarrassed to be calling - but avoid being over-familiar.

Sounds really exciting - good luck!

princessx Fri 02-Aug-13 17:56:44

Hi there, I get a lot of cold calls in my job and have had a mix of the email or call first approaches.

I think in your first call you should ask them detailed questions about their business, tell them v briefly how your service can meet their needs, then send them a personal email responding to points they've told you that prove how you can help them, then follow that email up with a call, the purpose of that call could be an appointment to go and see them.

And that's assuming you are talking to the right person, it might take a few calls to find who that person is.

Good luck it's the best way to generate new business!

purplewithred Wed 31-Jul-13 08:20:38

I have a friend who says 'think of every cold call as a practice run for the next one'. Takes the edge off it.

NEScribe Mon 29-Jul-13 20:12:20

I think everyone should have to do a day of cold calling - if only so we have some sympathy for the people who cold call us! I am always much kinder now. It is awful - I hate it and at the moment I am trying to convince myself that a friendly email would be a good idea for our dog business - anything rather than cold calling. it is much harder if you are selling yourself. My sister once cold called for one of the worst - a glazing company and didnt mind it but then she set up her own business and agreed it was much harder. As others have said - smile - and don't take the rejections personally. In most cases it really is lack of budget rather than lack of interest. What do you do? Is it smething where you could use a special offer as justification for the call? Since your business is new, I guess you already have a hook there - just wanting to let them know you are available etc.
I have had calls from a particular sales rep since April and her ploy is to suggest calling me in a month's time to see ifvanything has changed. So she calls me every month now - I don't see us taking her product but we're on first name terms now so if I was buying, I would buy from her now rather than her competitors - so I guess it works smile

piprabbit Mon 08-Jul-13 12:25:50

Since starting my small business, I've had an awful lot of calls from companies trying to sell me advertising in various forms. I can't afford most of at the moment and TBH online marketing isn't really going to reach my target customers but I have found it useful talking to strangers about what my services are, who I am targeting etc. etc. so I'm using it as good practise for promoting my business - without the risk of putting off a potential customer.

BarefootShirl Mon 08-Jul-13 12:21:10

Cold calling does get easier the more you do it - just accept that the rejection rate will always be very high and that it's nothing personal! I also agree about always smiling when you are on the phone - apparently it really does come across in your voice without you even realising.

Have you considered joining one of the local business groups? You may not get much out of it in terms of business referrals but I found it was a real confidence booster when I started out as it can get very lonely working for yourself and that's when the self-doubt creeps in so it's good to be able to meet with others in the same position.

Also, ask your clients what it was they liked about your website - friends and family try to help but they may not see things the same way as the people you are trying to attract.

Good luck - it's not easy in the beginning but I speak from experience in saying that the satisfaction of creating your own business and seeing it grow really is worth all the stress and long hours.

SallRight Mon 08-Jul-13 12:02:26

LOL at 'smile at the phone' LittleTyga I can see that's were I went wrong!

I'm finding real life networking a little easier than cold calling but I should force myself to have another go.

LittleTyga Wed 13-Feb-13 11:16:35

I should be doing exactly that right now but getting distracted on here!! I love cold calling smile It's fun! Most of the time - First - never apologise for calling!

ask 'who is the person who deals with.......' Are they free for a chat? No - when is a good time to call - never leave a message for them to call you - because they won't!

Look at where you went wrong with the first call - and correct that. Maybe send an email first then call to follow up. So I sent you an email this morning about my product - would it be something your company would use/need? Tell them how your product benefits them.

Hope that helps - good luck - oh always smile at the phone smile

venusandmars Wed 06-Feb-13 17:02:00

The more you do - smoother it will become, I think. You may find that people ask similar questions, so you become more practised at answering them, or anticipating them.

And I'm not at all brave, which is why I find it so strange when I'm exhibiting at trade shows. It's not even as if I have a fancy gadget that I can show off - it's just me. Every time I do it, I feels as though it takes a while to get into my stride.

But at the end of the day, if we don't have some kind of inner conviction about our own business, then it's hardly going to do well.

re the email thing - I think the purpose is to create some kind of 'relationship'. There is some kind of marketing theory that if you've had 'contact' with someone 5 times, they start to think of you as familiar. Bizzarrely I've found that happening most quickly when you have one of those frustrating situation where you call, and they're out so you leave a message, they call when you're out and leave a message etc... If that happens twice over the course of a couple of days you quickly get to a stage where you're both laughing and relieved the very first time you actually manage to speak.

And also important that you are the one who remains in control. So leave a message that says, 'hi it's sallright calling back about your software installation. sorry you're not in, I'll be in my office this afternoon, but if you don't reach me, I'll try again tomorrow'

SallRight Wed 06-Feb-13 15:03:59

I find I am quite confident about my message until someone asks a question then though I answer I start to feel ... i don't know embarassed or lacking in confidence.

I will try a few emails too then if you think that's worth a try. I wonder if that makes me even easier to ignore.

Maybe like you have found, practice will help me. You must be brave to do trade shows.

(this all reminds me of online dating, at least I god a good result from that in the end - took a year though!)

greatwork Tue 05-Feb-13 22:37:15

The great thing is that you did it. And that you're acting on how you felt it went, and you're going to do it again on Thursday.

In my role I don't do cold calling, but I have to go to trade shows and put 'myself' on show to sell my services. It is way, way out of my comfort zone, but every time I do it, I get a little better at it. And there is nothing like the feeling when someone says "that's just what I was looking for".

I have developed some phrases that seem to work. I only ever sell one product at a time, and most importantly I really love and believe in the work that I do, and people say it's nice to interact with someone who is so enthusiastic.

Could you mix email and calls? e.g. send an email with a one-sentence pitch {e.g. "I am a specialist in the most effective approach for software implementation"), then tell them that you plan to call.

When you call, you can say, "you may have read my email, ..... blah, blah"

And then you can follow up with a more detailed email containing specific information as discussed on your call.

SallRight Tue 05-Feb-13 21:49:04

It didn't go very well.

Has anyone any tips for cold calling? Phoning is better than sending an unsolicited email right??????

On the positive side

Achievemets so far -Website and Limited company are created.

I have set up a website detailing my skills / business service.
Most of my friends and family plus some former colleagues have seen it and provided feedback which I have acted upon.
Already one or two, visitors to the website found me through google search so that is encouraging. DH did a lovely job of the website but it still took 3+ weeks hard graft to write the content and there's more to do now.....

Action after first set of cold calls.
I think I need to aim for a more niche / specific market. People I spoke to seemed to find me confusingly general hmm. So am going to follow my passion which is managing software implemetation...(one of three services I offered on the website) therefore am off to improve the focus of the website and plan more cold calls for thursday once that's done and I have improved my 'stance'.

I like a challenge fortunately but the pressure to earn some money sure spoils the fun, does it not biscuit

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