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Business Growth Tip: Make Cold Calls the Smart Way

Why not take a break from your device’s keypad, and connect with prospects over the phone? Isn’t speaking directly to them a more humane way of getting them more interested in your products and services?

That’s what cold calling is about- dialing your target’s number, having a voice conversation with them, and showing them that you’re a real person who wants to help solve their problems. At least, that’s the ideal picture we have of this sort of contact. The person on the other end of the phone should be smiling about having their issues taken care of by you.

As you’ve probably already guessed, this doesn’t always come off right. It’s seldom as easy and straightforward as we’ve just presented it. People might consider your calls intrusive unless you actually have any real connections with them. If you’re not on their contacts list, you may find it difficult to get their attention, let alone convince them to try your brand out.

Still, cold calling does work for many businesses. It’s how a lot of them lap up new leads and set things up for valuable business deals. How do these companies achieve these things in an age that prizes privacy and personal spaces so much?

The answer’s simple: they do cold calling the right way. And if you follow the smart rules they’ve employed, you’re likely to succeed at it just as much as they have.

We’ll share some of these winning strategies below. Here they are:

How to Do Cold Calling the Right Way

1. Know Why You’re Making the Call

Before you create a list of people or businesses to call, you should define your reason for calling them. Don’t pick up the phone until you’re clear about what you want to achieve with the calls.

Maybe you want to land a meeting with the prospects to discuss your proposal in detail (and hopefully close a deal), or perhaps you’ll simply be trying to get them to try your product offers. Just make sure you have a specific goal for doing this. It will help you avoid distractions and maintain a sharp focus on reaching your aim.

2. Make a Contact List

Who will you be calling?

If you’re trying to reach businesses that might need your services, you’ll want to compile a list of the ones that operate in the industries you typically serve. And if you’re calling individual customers you should be looking at persons who fit in your products’ user demographic or match your buyer persona.

Don’t write just anyone into the list. Ascertain that the list you’re creating has only contacts who are likely to need what you’re offering. This will save you a lot of time, effort and money, and will guarantee a higher positive response rate.

How do you come up with such a list? There are many places to find potential contacts, including online directories, yellow books, and simply doing a general search on the web. You could also pick up a number of potential contacts by networking at events, and by deploying a similar tactic to what you’d use when building an email list.  

3. Research Your Contacts

Where it’s possible, you’ll want to find out more about your targets, so you’ll be able to communicate with them from a place of knowledge. For businesses, you could look at their website, social media pages and other relevant material about them that’s available in the public domain.

You may have less information to go by if it’s private individuals, but you can still get a clue from their social media pages (if they have any) and other online engagements.

4. Prepare a Short Pitch Before Calling

You can avoid making a bad start to a call by preparing your introduction beforehand.  A short pitch– perhaps no more than twenty seconds long –should do the trick. Write a two-line statement that explains who you are and what your business does. Make sure it includes a reference to how your business helps people or businesses like the one you’re contacting.

Here’s an example of a short introduction that a web designer could use on a call to a small business owner who might need a website for their company.

“I’m Fred, and I’m a web designer at Whiteboard Digital. We’re a web design and digital marketing company that helps small businesses to establish and grow a strong online presence.”

It’s simple, short, straight to the point, and covers the important points we’ve mentioned.

5. Call at the Right Time

What’s the right time to make a cold call?

It depends on who you’re calling. If it’s a business, you may want to make it an early morning or mid-afternoon affair. If it’s an individual, you could make the call at any time between 8 AM and 5 PM. Weekdays will work for businesses and individuals, but you’ll have to be careful with Mondays, as it’s usually a busy day for most people.  

6. Put On a Smile

You can detect a smile in a person’s voice, even if you can’t see their face. Your prospect will also be able to tell if you are smiling when you’re calling them. And, like you, they’ll be more open to having a conversation or at least listen to what you have to say if you sound cheerful.  

This doesn’t mean that you should have an over-the-top, creepy demeanor when you’re on the phone. This might put some people off, especially if they’re not in the mood for that sort of ‘excitement’. Just be simple and courteous. Just have a smile on.

7. Get Straight to the Point

A short regular greeting will do for cold calls. Avoid excessive pleasantries. No one really has time to spend on these sorts of calls, so you’ll want to get straight to the point.

Extra Tips

Ask your contact if there are things that you could help them with. For example, the web designer we referred to earlier could ask his contact about their online presence, and whether they’d want help with reaching the right kind of customers for their business.

You may rack up a lot of “no-thank-yous” as you make the calls. Don’t get discouraged by them. Instead, think of them as part of a statistic. They’ll compose the greater part of the response you’ll get. But the more of them you receive, the greater the chances there’ll be a yes- if you follow the tips we’ve laid out here.



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Ikenna Nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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