This morning I received a phone call from someone who started the call with “can I speak with the business owner?” I responded by asking who was calling, and he told me his name and the name of his company. Based on what his company offers, I did not have any need to talk further. I typically don’t hang up on people, but rather I politely let them know I am not interested. In this case, I decided to offer this guy some free coaching because he clearly was not going to have much success getting past gatekeepers with his strategy.
I told him that although I was not interested in his offer, I was going to offer him some advice that would help him increase his odds of success. I said, “next time you are going to cold call a company, I recommend going to the company website and finding out who you want to talk to.” Most companies list their executive leadership team on the website, so instead of asking for “the business owner” – which is a sure sign of a cold call – you could ask for “Mr. Jones” or “Tom Jones”. I’m not sure he even knew what to do with that… either because he didn’t expect it or his script had no response for it, so the call ended quickly with little response from him.
Identifying your prospect specifically lets the gatekeeper know that you actually know who you want to talk to, and also says that you know their role in the company. A good gatekeeper will still ask you “why you are calling” and “if they are expecting your call”, however this is still a much better approach.
I am one of those rare people that kind of enjoys making cold calls. It’s a lot of fun and if you treat it like the numbers game that it is, you can do quite well. I have sold financial services, marketing services, and likely other services that I can’t recall via telemarketing and I have been paid quite well to do it. It’s not for everyone, but if you are in a position that requires it, you will need to learn a lot of strategies for connecting with the right person. If you own a business and don’t have enough customers, then cold calling is definitely a way to spur some sales activity. Keep in mind, the real sales process doesn’t start until after you have made the connection, but getting to the right person is such a big part of the battle.
If you are someone who cold calls for a living, I’d love to hear some of your insights, so feel free to share in the comments below.
If you are in sales and want to learn a system of selling that will literally change your financial destiny, reach out to me and I will be happy to share more on what I believe is the best sales training system on the market (and I have been through several of them).
If you can’t find the person on the website, try using LinkedIn. Do a company search.
But definitely look at the website and learn about their business before calling them.
Great advice MaryLynne! LinkedIn is a great resource for finding company contacts.