You might think cold calling is dead. But it’s very much alive and well – if you do it right.
Because whether you’re a business owner, franchise owner or franchisee with the freedom to do your own outbound marketing, there are certain things you need to know when cold calling:
1) Aim for an appointment – not a sale
Very few people will hand over money or even agree in principle to buy something from some stranger who called. That’s true whether it’s something big like buying a franchise, or something small like a magazine subscription. But meeting up for a free, no-obligation chat though?
Well, that’s far more palatable. As long as you:
2) Start strong
The worst thing you can do when cold calling is to ask a question like:
– “Are you free to talk?”
– “How are you?”
– “Do you have some time to discuss blank?”
Because this gives your potential client the chance to instantly say “no, sorry I’m busy”. Now you’re backed into a corner where you have to struggle to argue for time.
3) Plan what you’re going to say
You should always have a script prepared when cold calling. This should begin with an opening statement which includes:
1. A greeting and a short introduction: “Hello, Miss X, this is Nora Jones with MBE.”
2. Something about the person you’re calling that you know: “I saw on a local news website that you just opened a new marketing company on Local Street.”
3. What your products or services can do for them: “We provide specialist printing services for several other marketing companies in the local area, with incredibly fast turnarounds on all project scales.”
4. An opening to lead into the conversation you want to have: “I’d like to ask you a few questions to see if we can meet your needs.”
After this, you’ll probably have to veer away from the rest of your script – but it’s still going to be really handy to have one around. Make a list of your services, make sure you know which ones are going to be immediately useful to the specific person you’re calling and then write out a list of all of the objections which they might make and what you’re going to say when they do.
Then, when the time is right…
4) Finalise that appointment
Make sure you have a specific date and time prepared to suggest for when that appointment you’re aiming for is going to happen. Don’t ask any questions which offer vague windows like “next week”. Go for a date and a time. They’ll probably want a different one, but at least you’re talking specifics.
Whatever you do, don’t leave it for another call to sort out. Who knows if you’re ever going to reach this person who you’ve already persuaded to meet with you again. Or if they might change their mind.
5) Pave the way
Speaking of minds, there are a few simple psychological tricks you can use to make things easier for yourself – whether you’re offering franchise opportunities or selling used cars:
5. Be friendly: cold calling isn’t fun, but you need to be personable.
6. Send a little gift first: something very small but memorable. Anything that will make them remember you.
7. Ask if they can help you: not sure if the person you’re speaking to is the decision maker for this company? Ask. Most people will want to help you if they possibly can.