Cold Calling: Do's and Don’ts

July 28, 2014 Scott Lombardi

cold calling do s and dont sSales reps might put cold calling in the same category as visiting the dentist, but that's probably just because they haven't been taught the Do's and Don'ts. By giving your sales reps some valuable tips and training, you can help them to become experts at cold calling. Not only will their calls go better, but also they'll feel more comfortable with assignment.

Let's get the Don'ts out of the way first.

The Don'ts of Cold Calling

Don't call a company, client, or agency without first checking to see if your company already has an established relationship with them. Cold calling an existing client is just plain embarrassing, and it makes you look disorganized and thoughtless. Even worse, it makes your client feel unimportant, that they're not valuable enough to show up on your company's internal radar.

Don't try to position your products or services into a situation where they really don't belong. Yes, you might be desperate to make a sale, but you can't fit a square peg into a round hole. Keep your integrity by only selling your goods or services to people who could really use them. Otherwise, your reputation (and the reputation of your company) is in jeopardy.

Don't be rigid in your message. Yes, you've worked hard to craft your message and you've chosen your words carefully, but conversations can take interesting turns and twists. Go with it, and be prepared to adjust your message to the situation. 

Don't focus your cold calling on the close. It's good to have goals like setting up sales meetings or making sales, but your cold calling should really be about determining whether a prospect is interested. Laying on the pressure during your cold calling can be a real turnoff.

Now that we know what not to do during your cold calling, let's look at the positive things you can do to be successful.

The Do's of Cold Calling

Do remember to ask, "Is this a good time?" People are busy, and you might be catching them just as they're leaving for an important meeting or when an important client just walked through the door. Your courtesy can go a long way toward a business relationship. If it's not a good time, offer to call back when it's most convenient. You can also get an e-mail or postal address so you can follow up with detailed information that they can read when they have more time.

Do call in additional help if someone asks questions you're not prepared to answer. It's okay to say that you don't have that answer right now, but you know someone who does have the answer. Either you can call that person in right away, or you can set a time to call the person back and offer your well-researched answer to the question. 

Do remember that "no" isn't failure. When you're cold calling, it's easy to take rejection as failure, but remember that a certain percentage of people are going to say no to what you have to offer. You have to wade through a certain number of no's to get to the yeses. Also, you can think of cold calling as market research. With each call, you gain a little more clarity and learn about what people are really looking for.

Do keep things short. You don't need to chitchat at the beginning of each call. People are busy, and directness is appreciated. Instead of focusing on what you're going to say, focus on being a good listener. Excellent listening skills go a long way with cold calling.

Do leave voicemail messages. When you hear a voicemail message, don't hang up. This is another opportunity to get your name and mission out there. Leave your name and number, the reason you called, and then leave your name and number one more time.

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