There’s always a way of doing things to achieve a particular outcome – especially in business. There’s always a formula, a process or basic steps to follow. If you have an understanding of what it takes to attain certain results plus the will, drive and determination, then you’ll be successful. This is especially true with prospecting for new business. As a CEO, president or business owner, you cannot wait for business to just show up. You have to let your ideal target market know you are in business to address their needs and can solve their problems. There are many ways you can let potential customers or clients know your business exists. The key is to find what marketing, prospecting and types of communication works for your company to bring in a continual steady stream of profitable business. In today’s accelerated, technology driven business world human-to-human interaction is still important for success. That’s why a cold call to a prospective customer may be an effective way to initiate business. In fact, it may be the only way to get another business person’s attention – especially if the timing is right and your product or service is needed. Regardless, whatever your industry it’s just part of doing business successfully.
To be comfortable with making a cold call, it’s vital to know where you’re going with the call.
Here are 4 basic steps to a successful business cold call:
- Introduce Yourself: This may seem obvious but it’s important how you quickly position yourself and establish a connection with the person on the other side of the phone (even if you get voicemail and must leave a message). It all begins with knowing who you are and what your name is. Do so with confidence and professionalism as briefly as possible. People like to know who they are talking to!
- Introduce Your Company: You only have a very few seconds to grab and hold someone’s attention on the phone (or for that matter, in person or online these days). When initiating a call to someone all you have is the phone and what the person hears on the other side of the phone. Command of your voice is important to making the call successful. They may not know your name but introducing your company can pivot a call from an instant hang up to listening to the next sentence you speak.
- State Reason For Calling: When making a cold call, it is imperative to keep the call moving along at a brisk pace and hold the other individual’s attention. Remember: You essentially interrupted their day. They weren’t expecting your call! You haven’t any idea what is happening at that moment on the other side of the phone! That’s why you must quickly get to the point and clearly state the reason why you are calling. Otherwise, the call will seem aimless and without an intended purpose. State the reason as concisely as possible in just a sentence or two.
- The Benefit(s) Of Working With Your Company: If you’ve made it to this point in the call and you still have the attention of the other person, you need to swiftly explain why it may be of benefit to work together. The tendency though is for the caller to start listing features or facts that are not of interest, relevance or importance to the prospect. The key is to get a conversation started and ultimately, continue the conversation with an appointment being set. What can you say to intrigue someone enough to agree to the next step in the sales process? Most people initially just want to know:
- How is this of benefit to me? In other words: What’s in it for me and my company?
- Does it solve a specific problem or improve the work environment?
- Will this product or service be a good decision for our company?
- Will it help to increase productivity and/or profits?
The goal of any business conversation is for it to be concise with appropriate information, so the time spent is productive and potentially, profitable. The key is to have a dialogue with the other business person. If you’re doing all the talking on the call and feel like you’re doing a monologue, then you probably are and it likely will be wasted time and effort. If you follow through on the 4 basic steps of a successful business cold call the result will be an appointment or an agreement to continue the conversation at a future date. Positive results for your business and for the customer or client!
These 4 basic steps also apply to other calls, not just cold calls, you initiate during the business day.
- Identify yourself.
- Identify your company.
- Identify the reason you’re calling.
- Identify the value of your call. Be prepared with your thoughts.
Remember: In business, communication is everything!
Effective communication takes practice. It also requires:
- an awareness of who you are as a business person
- your representation of the company
- knowing your product or service.
Business, at every level and circumstance, is about people. It’s imperative to know how to contact and communicate in ways people understand.
When making a cold call or other business calls, often you will encounter getting voicemail rather than the actual person. Just think about how many voice messages you may receive in a typical business day! Most companies today have caller ID, not just at the main desk but at every employee desk or station. There are times in the day business people just don’t want to pick up the phone or are not available, perhaps working on a deadline or are in a meeting with others. Be ready with a sharply tuned voice message. Always leave your name and contact information twice in the message, as a courtesy to make it easier for intended recipient to respond. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to repeatedly play back a voice message just to get someone’s name and phone number! How many times has that happened to you? It’s a good enough reason not to do it when you are calling other business people. You can learn much about how not to conduct business just by observing what happens in your business day.
So often in today’s modern technology world people don’t pick up the phone and actually talk to other people. Instead, email, social media and texts have replaced the tradition of picking up the phone. As a CEO, president or business owner it is essential you do not lose the art of talking on the telephone. It’s important to have your voice heard by those you work with. Often picking up the phone can be more efficient than messages going back ‘n’ forth; bringing clarity to a situation.
Remember: Business is about people. Without people, there isn’t any business.
Pick up the phone!
To your success!
Business expert and strategist, Howard Lewinter, guides – focuses – advises CEOs, presidents and business owners throughout the United States across a wide range of industries, to MORE success – MORE profit – less stress. Business people trust Howard’s vast business knowledge, intuitive insight and objective perspective to solve business problems and issues. Get MORE from your business. Talk business with Howard: 888-738-1855.
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