What if I took you to a place and I showed you a room and then I told you that there are plenty of diamonds in that room (of course, I am someone you trust so you would believe me) and that you can have all the diamonds to yourself except that I don’t have the keys and the toy is built with very strong steel that cannot be easily compromised; what would you do?

Would you just walk away leaving behind treasures which are potentially yours just because of some silly doors of steel. Steel be damned! (Pardon my French). Most people would do whatever it takes to penetrate that door of steel, just to get whatever lies inside.

Cold calling is just like what I have just described above. I who showed you where the treasures are, am the lead, the room is your prospective client and the door of steel is the front they put up initially that makes it difficult to convince them to do business with you. Just like you cannot break the door of steel with just one strike of the hammer; you cannot get customers after the first call. You have to keep on digging to make the door give way just like you have to keep on trying to persuade the customer to patronize you.

Yes, they would yell, some would tell you they already have someone else, others would totally make you feel like crap. But you don’t cold call to win over every customer you call, you cold call for the few who would patronize you and then encourage others to do so too. So, you don’t have to see cold calling as a difficult marketing strategy; it is actually very effective when done the right way. I have analyzed a step by step guide on how to cold call to build new customers.

How to Cold Call for Sales and Build New Customers

1. Decide on what you want to achieve

Before you start cold calling, ensure that you have a clearly analyzed objective. If you are calling a prospect for the first time and expecting to get a positive response, you might be disappointed 90% of the time. The first call should be for getting to know the prospect and introducing yourself and your business.

People generally patronize people they can trust and cold calling for the first time makes you a complete stranger, so your focus should be on establishing a relationship and earning a right to call again other than selling your product.

2. Find out who is responsible for decision making

This is especially important for corporate organizations. You don’t want to waste your time and energy chasing someone only to find out at the end of the day that the buying decision would be made by someone else. Therefore, it always pays to find out who makes the buying decision; that’s the person you should be running after.

3. Gather information about the prospects

When you have information about the person you are talking to, it puts you in a position of power. It’s just like friendship; you are never nervous when meeting or hanging out with your friends because of the level of familiarity. Get to dig up some information about this person so that it feels like you know them when speaking with them.

4. Decide on what you are going to say

Well, most people would advise you to have a script but I would say; have a guideline. Having a script might lead to you reading from the script, and that would certainly put most prospects off. Instead of having a script, why not have a guideline that you would follow and let all the discussion flow naturally. Some of the things to include in your guideline are-:

  • Introduction

Introduce yourself, the company you represent and your products/services.

  • Include a case study

Next, you should include a case study. Say something like “We are in charge of fleet management and maintenance for Ace Haulage Company and since you run in a similar business, we were just wondering if you would be interested in excellent fleet management services as well.”

  • Add a statement of benefit

Ensure that you inform them of the benefits of patronizing you. You can say “When you patronize us, we take the burden of repairing your large fleet of haulage trucks off you. We would also offer you 24/7 repair services to get any faulty vehicle up and running so that your clients are never disappointed by delay of their goods”

  • And a promotion

Add any special offers or discounts you are offering too.

5. Draft possible questions and practice answers

Prospects are certainly going to ask you questions, to learn more about what you are offering them. If you are not well prepared to answer these questions, you may start stammering and sounding in a way that may put prospects off so, you should practice by listing the possible questions you may be asked and then practicing how you would answer them.

6. Expect no

If the sound of ‘NO’ still makes you feel bad then you are not quite ready to be a marketer. You would hear a lot of no’s in this business; don’t feel bad, it’s not personal. However, you must know how to use no to your advantage. Instead of giving up after a client says no, why not ask for his e-mail address instead, maybe an e-mail marketing strategy would convince him.

7. Choose the right timing

To be successful in cold calling, you must understand perfect timing. You must know when to call and when not to. Calling people at busy periods is a bad idea. Choose a time when people are just settling into work like between 8:30 am and 9 pm, a time when people are likely to be on break or shortly before the close of work. These are times when people are generally at ease and less busy. Avoid calling people when they are still in bed or trying to have dinner with their family and certainly not when they are on the hot seat at work.

8. Respect the gatekeepers

Not just the uniform wearing ones who open the gates for you to drive in; I mean the secretaries, assistants, receptionists and all other people who you have to go through to gain access to the decision makers. Make them your friend and get them interested in your cause. Consider offering them complimentary products, offers and other things that would get them to sing the gospel of your goodness to the boss.

9. Be confident

Confidence is like smoke, it would always escape. Ensure that you are confident and convincing before cold calling.

10. Be persistent and never give up until you break down the door of steel and get the diamonds to yourself.

Ajaero Tony Martins