If there were any one sales generating activity that applies to a large cross section of businesses, yet is commonly overlooked, cold calling would be my pick.
Cold calling is the outbound dialing to a person or business who isn't expecting your call.
I'll be the first to admit that it isn't glamorous or sexy, and it can be intimidating and painful, but dollar for dollar, there are few business development tactics that can consistently produce like it can.
I've used it to generate millions in sales for my companies, and, with a little coaching, it just may be able to do the same for your business.
Here are seven essentials to using cold calling to rapidly grow your business.
1. Build your house list and you're creating the ideal outbound calling prospect pool.
How can you upgrade your lead capture efforts to compellingly and effectively ask for and collect phone numbers, not just emails?
This means you've got to not just ask for emails, but also for phone numbers. For example, on our website Maui Mastermind, we had to increase the value offering of our free value offers to make it worth a new visitor to our site giving us not just their name and email, but also their phone number as well. One of our offers is a free book (the third edition of my bestseller, Build a Business Not a Job). The other is a 21 video business growth "toolkit" that they get full access to.
2. Don't make your first phone call about getting the sale, instead focus on starting the relationship.
When our outbound team calls a new prospective business owner we don't try to "sell" them on the business coaching program, we instead call to briefly deepen the relationship by giving them more value first.
Rather than going to "close", instead I suggest that your first phone call be a brief, scripted taste of the waters. What could you offer your prospective market that is so compelling and powerful as a first taste of what you do that a healthy percentage of the people you reach will eagerly take that next step with you? For us this is making sure they successfully got my last book as our gift, and if appropriate, arranging for them to do a complimentary business coaching session to help them grow their company. What could you offer your market?
3. Cold calling is not really about selling, it's about sorting.
You aren't going to have high success talking people with no interest or need for your product or service into buying. But if you have the right list of people to call you will be able to sort through that list and find those prospects who are ready to take that next step with you if only you reach them at the right time and in the right way.
4. Track, then trust, your numbers.
As any experienced outbound phone sales person will tell you the most important comfort they have to keep them dialing is a deep trust in the numbers. Our outbound team knows that if they make 100 dials today they'll reach 15 people on average. And of those 15 people reach, 2 will be ready to take that next step with them, with 3-5 more they talk with needing to get a slower, longer follow up process.
While your business's baseline numbers may vary, once you have several thousand dials done, you'll establish a baseline that you can count on. Of course, you'll work to improve those numbers over time with better scripting, more targeted lists, a better dialer system, but at least you're outbound team will take comfort that over the course of a week or a month, if they keep doing the dials with the right attitude and smile, they'll get the results they need to succeed.
5. Start with the list.
If I could give you any one ingredient to best help you succeed in an outbound campaign it would be the phone list you're working from. That's why I started off by suggesting that you work to create your house list, which generally is the best prospect list your team can work from.
After your house list you can test out compiled lists (whether you grab the numbers from a public source or work through a list broker), third party customer rented lists, joint venture profit share lists, or other lists.
After you and your team talk with 50-250 prospects on the list you're testing you'll get a real sense as to the list quality and suitability for your purposes. Be careful jumping to conclusions with too small of a sample size. Also, cold lists often take a "warming up" stage in the sales process that your house list doesn't. Make sure you factor this into how you test out the acquired list.
6. Give your sales team a clear scoreboard of their dial numbers week-to-date, month-to-date, and quarter-to-date.
Dialing can be lonely. Help empower your sales team with clear and accurate numbers that show them they are on the path to success.
7. Finally, once your sales process is stabilized, invest in the sales automation to increase your sales team's efficiency.
This can be setting up your CRM (the sales database you're calling out of) to automatically send specific "personal" emails based on clicks the sales person makes in the CRM. It also includes the optimization of data entry fields to be fast to fill out, and the use of dialer technologies to increase your team's rate of dialing and contact.
But before you invest the time and money to create this, make sure you get your sales process and funnel clearly developed and stabilized first, then and only then "software-ize" it.
I know cold calling is not for the faint of heart, but done well it can generate fast and large growth for your business.