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Mar
28

Getting the Word Out: Cold-Calling

Like the title says, it’s all about getting the word out. You can have the best business going, but if nobody knows you’re open for business, you won’t see much.

So what about cold-calling? As a creative type, this particularly gives me the shivers; but I can’t think of a more direct way to ramp things up quickly. Once I resigned myself to a fate in sales and marketing, this task became somewhat easier; and a book that has helped me immensely along these lines is The Well Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman. Although he addresses freelance copywriters in particular, the principles he discusses in his sales section are universal and I have found them indispensable, especially if your enterprise is marketing to other businesses. Amongst the gems found in his book:

– Our greatest enemy is ourselves and our own fears -most of which are unfounded.

– There is a tipping point. Once you’ve made a certain number of calls, things start to take on a life of their own as referrals and repeat business from the original calls start to come in. He suggests 1,000 calls – not too bad if you break it down to 25 calls a day over two months.

– Action, not results, is key. The act of just making the call is the thing, whether they lead to a no (“every no brings you closer to a yes”), voicemail, call-me-later, a “yes”, or whatever. Do it enough and you will succeed.  Just focus on making the call.

– Voicemail is your friend.

– 80 percent of calls will lead nowhere. This may not sound encouraging, but it’s important to go in with realistic expectations; and of course the converse is that 20 percent will lead to work.

– Don’t say cold-calling doesn’ t work until you’ve made a ton of calls – 5-600 minimum.

– keep a record of your calls; make a spreadsheet with the company name, contact person, address, phone and email, date date and results of first, second, and third calls, info sent, and any comments. And if you say you’ll call back, do so, when you said you would.

– It helps immensely to have a prepared script. It works as sort of an emotional anchor. He presents a sample in the book along with advice on dealing with gatekeepers, decision makers, and middle-men.

I could go on and on; there’s tons more. Buy the book.

Another excellent resource is a cold-calling script I was directed to recently. It’s written by Geoffrey James and can be found at:

http://www.bnet.com/blog/salesmachine/a-foolproof-cold-calling-script/7321?tag=content;drawer-co

There are so many ways to let people know you’re open for business. Cold-calling isn’t the only way to get the job done, but is probably the most direct way to ramp up business quickly. It’s a vital part of the Big Picture.

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