"The Art of Business: Why Cold Calling is Not So Bad (Really)

Take off your phone mittens and warm up to cold calling.

It's an understatement to say most creative professionals don't like cold calling. They hate it like nails across a chalkboard. Not surprisingly, most creative pros do as little of it as possible.

And who can blame you? The possibility of rejection is never as assured or as immediate as when you talk to someone who knows you only as an interruption in a busy day.

But the reality is that there are benefits to cold calling. The most important is the most obvious: new business. When you're out of work and out of connections, cold calling may be the only way left to stir up a job or a lead that can become business later on. And if it doesn't create work, than, at the very least, cold calling provides you with market intelligence on specific companies, market conditions, the economy, your bundle of services, or your pitch. With this information, you can readjust your business and marketing tactics.

That said, cold calling should never be your first or most important marketing effort. Always start with networking and calls to people you know, such as ex-clients and established leads. But if these attempts lead nowhere, or you have no networking possibilities left to tap, hit the phones and hit them hard.

Here are a few tips for making cold calling a little bit easier.

1. Identify your prospects. Cold calling is not a random act. Start with company research; find out what they do, how they're doing it, who might be the right person to talk to, and most importantly, what's the latest company news. A cold call is a little less cold when you can dial up and say, "I heard you are coming out with a new line of X," or "Now that your competition has moved into town, perhaps it would be a good time to review your marketing materials and see if we can punch them up." These introductions are far more effective, than "Hi, I'm a graphic designer, can I help you with any projects?" Follow companies in your local newspaper, the industry trades, or online. Identify a small number of potential leads and don't call until you have a valuable and unique proposition to discuss with each.

2. Have a script ready. With limited time on the phone, a written script lets you focus on points you want to make. In a few short sentences, practice providing a description of your services and the compelling reason why the prospect should consider your proposition. You don't have to recite your script verbatim, but it will help you prepare for the conversation and give you a fallback should you begin to falter. Know what you're going to say and say it with a smile and confidence.

3. Be ready to handle objections and questions. It's a conversation, after all, so be ready for the questions you'll likely be asked. If someone, for example, asks where you got his or her name, be ready to answer with something like, "I've have been watching your company for a while and know you're in charge of marketing," or "I read the article you wrote for your company's Web site." If an objection arises that you hadn't anticipated, react as best you can. Then prepare a detailed response before the next call.

4. Don't try to sell. What's that, you say? Most people fear cold calling because they feel pressured to close a deal. But a cold call is just the first step in a series of contacts that hopefully will lead to business. The best you can hope for on the first call is a little interest in continuing the dialogue, either via phone or during a face-to-face meeting. Just like a newspaper ad or a billboard, all you're trying to do when cold calling is to get someone's attention. And if they don't want or need what you're offering right now, that's okay, too.

5. Don't take it personally. There will be times when people will respond poorly. Rejection hurts, but one of the surest ways to get frustrated is to take responsibility for things that are beyond your control. You can't control whether the person you call wants or needs your product. You can't control if someone has had a bad day or is running late for an appointment. You can control your emotions.

6. Practice makes perfect. The more cold calling you do, the better you'll become at working the phones and handling rejection. Rehearse your pitch out loud with friends or associates. Start your first few calls on long-shot prospects with the understanding that if you don't succeed, you haven't lost a potentially great client. Don't get married to any particular script or language. Once you have a framework, fine tune your script for each prospect. And after each call, think about what worked and didn't. It's a process.

7. Know your goal. What is it that you want from your prospect? Is it to find out more about the company and its plans? To direct someone to your Web site? To find out who the decision maker is? To set up a meeting? Know your goal before you get on the call.

You may have to alter the goal as you gather information. For example, if the prospect sounds busy, your goal should change to finding a mutual time to talk without distractions. And if the call is going poorly and you want out, you can always ask this question, "Can I call back in a few months to see if things have changed?" Most people believe a few months off is an eternity and that you won't call back, but if they say yes (and most people will), you've got an intro for the next phone call with the prospect.

Fire up the Phone

So go ahead, don't be too proud or afraid. Cold calling is not as bad as it sounds. Basically, it's a structured way to strike up a conversation with someone who might need you and your services. Do it well and the experience will lead to anything but disappointment."

Source: http://www.creativepro.com/article/the-art-of-business-why-cold-calling-...

It's not surprising to read the intensity of apathy being shown by some companies towards cold-calling. But, the author is right. Telemarketing is effective when done properly period. The difference is on how marketers make use of the most accessible medium at the present time. And if they are reading this article, they should pay attention to every tip that the author has spoon fed them.

For those that are not good in making cold calls but still believe in the power of this tool can outsource telemarketing services to credible telemarketing call centers. They have the resources and best practices that give them victories in b2b lead generation and b2b appointment setting. With their expertise in this field, they can generate b2b sales leads and set business appointments for their clients in a faster rate. Think of this upper hand and start outsourcing now for higher sales.

Author's Bio: 

Belinda Summers works as a professional consultant. She helps businesses increase their revenue by lead generation and appointment setting services through telemarketing.