Monday, June 29, 2009

Cold Calling

I love cold calling. This puts me in a minority, even among my peers in sales. In my experience, the individuals who suffer from "call reluctance" focus more on the recipient of their pitch than on themselves.

You're busy. Your prospect is busy. If your prospect doesn't like your pitch they will hang up and forget about you in 20 seconds! If they can move on so easily so can you.

Relying on your current clients to buy all of your ideas is a losing strategy. To grow yourself you must pitch your ideas to new individuals.

To successfully cold calling, you only need 2 things:
1) An Internet browser - one of my former colleagues pointed out that I used to make most of my cold calls with no more information than my prospect's website. Remember, the goal of a cold call is to get a chance to pitch in person
2) Confidence - as discussed in "over qualified," one the biggest reasons for failed pitches is lack of confidence. Lack of belief in your pitch comes through like a air raid siren on the phone and makes hanging up that much easier for your prospect

The rule of thumb I live by is it takes 7 "nos" to get 1 "yes." Sometimes this ratio is lower, sometimes higher, but it helps guide me when I pitch ideas.

Since I'm in the minority, I'm interested in your thoughts on cold calling. Why do you avoid it? What do you do to overcome your reluctance to cold call?


Andrew said...

In my now former sales life, I found I was reluctant to cold call when I felt hesistant about the *perceived* value of what I was calling about. If I had a *good* reason to call, I could and would cold call all day. The essence of a "good reason" lies completely with the prospect. You need to be addressing a problem that: 1. they have (or are likely to have) and 2. a problem that they care enough about to agree to give you the time to hear your pitch in person.

Without #'s 1 and 2 the process of cold calling is futile.

Hamish Knox said...

Good points, Andrew. I'm interested to know how the perception of value is determined.

Is that an internal measure like, "I wouldn't buy this if I was on the receiving end" or an external measure like, "my prospect is too busy to find value in my pitch"?

The challenge with perceived value is that no one knows of the benefits they're missing out on until those benefits are pointed out to them. Major consumer inventions like the light bulb, car, and microwavable dinner weren't developed from consumer requests, they were invented and marketed as "must haves" to consumers who then incorporated those products into their day-to-day lives.

Brayden said...


Cold calling is an effective way of creating buzz for your business. If you have a good business and you want more people to know about it, then this is the best approach.

Hamish Knox said...

Thanks for your comment, Brayden.

What, in your opinion, makes a "good business"?