I am part of a branding development company that for the past 15 years has been helping professionals and small-business owners understand and take steps to grow and develop without losing sight of their core identity.
We’ve coached on cold calling in the past, but business practices are an ever-changing landscape. Is there still value in traditional cold calls, and what are the dos and don’ts?
In today’s dynamic business environment, the value of traditional cold calling as a sales technique is questionable. In many fast-paced settings, cold calls by vendors’ salespeople, especially to new prospects, may be viewed as intrusive and be met with apathy, resistance or even antipathy.
However, the reality is that many small businesses still rely on cold-call visits to potential customers as a sales technique. For some, that is the only option to speak face-to-face with prospective customers. If you manage to get face time with a prospect, make sure you have an agenda and knowledge of the prospect’s business challenges. Otherwise, it may close doors for future calls.
To ensure that your cold call is successful, here are some guidelines to keep in mind.
Have a specific objective for your call, such as a new-product introduction. Structure your discussion around that objective. Don’t waste your prospect’s time. Don’t use the time to collect preliminary information about the customer; do that homework before the call. It will help you establish a good rapport with the prospect.
Prior homework will allow you to direct the conversation to the customer’s needs and how your new product may offer solutions. Your customer is more likely to be interested in that conversation. If you do a good job engaging the prospect, it will increase the likelihood of getting another opportunity to call on that person in the near future.
Remember, while a cold call offers you face time with the prospect, you must focus on how the customer may benefit from doing business with you and structure your call accordingly.
About the author
Avinash Malshe, associate professor of marketing,
Opus College of Business
University of St Thomas