Posted tagged ‘Leaving Messages’

The Final Steps: Begin the Cold Calling Campaign, Modify as Needed and Track Results

August 15, 2010

Everything that has been done until now has been designed to prepare you to begin the cold calling campaign. When you actually start the campaign, you test your assumptions, validate what you thought to be true and make modifications when appropriate.

Your first calls should not be to your primary targets. This is because if your assumptions are wrong, you do not want to be risking the targets that you believe will be most attracted to offer. By aiming at targets slightly lower than the primary ones, you allow yourself the opportunity to recognize and address areas where you may have erred. You will be looking to validate what role is the appropriate one to contact, the benefits that you believe are most important to articulate and the solution set that you should be articulating.

You will also learn a lot about your prospects. They will ask you questions and, frequently, you will not know the answers. This process affords you the opportunity to learn about what matters to the prospect. Some of these areas will need to make it into your script and into your supporting materials. Don’t hesitate to modify them.

The second most important benefit of beginning the cold-calling campaign is that you will begin to get your “voice.” Confidence is such an important part of successfully speaking with prospects. Like anything else, it needs to be nurtured and developed. After making twenty or so calls, you will discover what truly resonates, your prospects’ concerns and what creates an impact.  And you will discover that you can speak with them and create a meaningful dialogue.

The only way that I have discovered to gain this confidence is by making the calls, testing modifications and, frankly, taking intelligent risks and making reasonable mistakes. Allow yourself the possibility of failing because it is only as a result of these failures that you will attain success.

Finally, make sure that you are tracking each call. Thee are many, many contact software programs that will allow you to do this easily (Act!, Salesforce, Goldmine are some examples of contact managers). Chart each call and its outcome and note a time to reach out to the prospect once again.

I hope that you have enjoyed these reflections on the cold calling process. If you’ve been testing this process, please write with your comments. I’d love to share ways to make it better and also learn what you have discovered.

Cold Calling Step 7: Build Engaging Supporting Materials

August 4, 2010

One of the final elements of the cold calling preparation process is to make sure that you have meaningful and stimulating supporting materials for those times when the prospect does not have the time to speak with you and asks you to send “something.”

This too is a great opportunity.

Since we all learn differently, it is certainly reasonable to expect that some people prefer the written word. A focused, compelling and clear presentation is the chance for you to make an impression without being interrupted.

And having the shell of it prepared in advance, allows you to respond quickly while the call is still very much present in the mind of your prospect.

My supporting e-mail has a handful of core elements:

  • An acknowledgment of thanks for the opportunity to write to the person
  • The Value Proposition or to put it another way, “why you should read this e-mail”
  • An overview of our company (what we do and how we deliver)
  • Any validation that we deliver what we say we do. Sometimes, this means listing some recognizable customers or awards from prestigious organizations.
  • An overview of what the prospect can expect to find in the attachments. This usually translates into key features that might resonate with the prospect.
  • The next steps (when follow up is planned)

I always include my phone number.

And I always try to address my prospect by name in the body of the e-mail and mention their company too. As Guy Kawasaki says, “Though it may seem obvious, you would be surprised how much of a difference addressing a customer by name can make. Good customer service (ed. note: and sales) makes the other person feel as if she is the only customer or client that matters.”

When it comes to PowerPoint presentations, I try to create an interesting story centered on all of the items present in a script, only with more graphics, color and detail. I use very little text and try to connect the thoughts for them.

Remember, that every thing that you are sending impacts two brands – your company’s and yours. Details matter, particularly at this stage, if you wish to become not only irreplaceable, but also irresistible.

Cold Calling Step 6: Transforming the Sales Script into a Voice Mail that Gets Returned Calls

July 30, 2010

A script works great if you have the opportunity to speak directly to the targeted prospect. More often than not, you will end up in a voice mail.

Many people view this as the worst possible scenario. However, this can be a real opportunity because you have approximately an uninterrupted minute to present the reason why your prospect should return your call.

And once again, this is why crafting your business benefits is so important. I choose to organize my benefits so that I can leave three or four rated but modestly different voice mails.

The initial voice mail message should focus on your core benefits message. Go with what you believe to be the strongest benefit and briefly explain how you deliver that value. If you have a source of outside validation – as in a recognition or award from a third party or even the names of some leading industry companies who are using your solution – mention that as well. It will add to your solution’s credibility.

Remember, everyone wants to lead, but few want to be first.

And always, in every message, leave your name, company name and telephone number spoken slowly, clearly and repeated at least twice.

Your subsequent messages should provide your core benefits plus an additional one that might be of interest. This keeps the message fresh. Remember, also to leave information about how your solution works so that the solution can resonate with the prospect.

If you do not get return calls, you may want to then leave a web site where the prospect can learn more about your solution.

Recognize also that even though you think you have the appropriate target, you might not. If after all of this calling, you still have not received a return call, suggest that the prospect might want to forward you to someone more appropriate. This allows the prospect to get you to stop calling and it provides you with a warm lead. You now can call the next person and state that you were referred by the initial prospect. In many cases, this referral statement generates a return call.

So how many calls are required in order to get a return call?

I have found the threshold number to be around seven calls over a three-week period. This tells the prospect that you are enthusiastic about reaching them because you have something you believe to be valuable – you can even say that in one of your calls – and that you are very committed to reaching them.

These calls must follow one another closely, which is why I suggest that a three-week period is appropriate. You also do not want to develop into a stalker.

If, after all of this, you do not receive a call back, you can and should stretch the time frame out to two and three weeks between calls.

In all cases and no matter how many times you get voice mail, your message should be friendly upbeat and positive. The prospect has to feel that it is safe to call you back. Any message that makes it appear “unsafe” will negate all of your previous efforts.


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