Let me guess...
You’ve decided to take the plunge on your next big career or business move and are looking for the best possible opportunity?
Out of the many ways you can connect with your future potential employer, partner, or B2B client, cold calling may be the most controversial method as well as the toughest to pull off.
Especially, if you’re not a trained telemarketer or often get nervous and tongue-tied when speaking to people.
That being said, cold calling success stories are not unheard of, and if you do it right, it MIGHT just work for you.
Here are 5 secrets about how to make cold calling work for you in your next search for a new job, partner, or client.
Treat this cold call like you would treat a scheduled interview.
At the very least, research the company you’re about to call. At this point, you don’t want to just cold call any old company; you want to make sure it’s a company you actually want to serve.
By doing sufficient research ahead of time, you can find out and prove that you have what this company needs.
Use this preparation time to find the best contact. Not just someone you think you can easily get ahold of, but someone who has some clout, be it the CEO or the head of the department you want to work with; and find a way to reach them directly, if possible.
Send an Email a Few Days Ahead
Think of this step as part of your prep work as well. Really take your time in constructing a great email.
Much like setting a good first example during an interview, first impressions everything.
Think of this as being your introduction. Your first impression.
Use some of the tips from How to Introduce Yourself in an Interview.
By sending an email ahead, you’re giving them clues that you mean business.
If possible, supply them with some relevant material they can refer to if they decide to contact you in the future.
Don't make it too 'me'-centric. Make it brief, informative, and personalized.
Show that you're interested in helping them, No that you're interested in them helping you.
Practice Your Pitch
While you may think there's no harm in a friendly call just to get an idea of what the company needs, keep in mind that they have a business to run and a schedule of their own.
To them, your call is only worth a few minutes of their time; and that's only if the person on the other end of the line is actually convinced that what you have to say is actually valuable to their business.
This means that you have to have your pitch down PAT.
The difference between success and failure can be as simple as practice and repetition.
Write down your main talking points - preferably in bullet point format so that you don't forget to hit all of the highlights.
Do NOT write a script and try to read it verbatim.
Chances are, if you go this route, you'll sound robotic and completely unnatural. This doesn't inspire trust.
Just keep brief notes on the really important points you don't want to exclude during the initial pitch and leave those near by for easy reference during your call.
And most importantly - practice what you're going to say, over and over again until you feel comfortable.
The more naturally and fluidly you speak the more confident and knowledgeable you appear!
Have a List of Questions & Be Ready to Answer Theirs
When you’ve scored a few precious minutes with the right decision-maker at the company you’re cold-calling, you’ll want to let them know what you’re speaking about with your introduction.
Then, it's time to proceed to the question and answer portion of your discussion.
This isn't just a time for them to question you. It's IMPERATIVE that you have some great questions for them as well.
Make SURE to ask the right questions!
You really want to know the full extent of their need for your skills and services just as they'll want to figure out the same thing.
If it’s ultimately a good match for both parties...
You'll likely be hearing from them again.
One final note on this topic: Make sure to ask when you should expect to be hearing back from them and if it's ok to contact them directly if you haven't received a reply by the specified time.
(Much like you would expect at a job interview.)
Have Realistic Expectations
Did you know...
Based on marketing statistics, only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment?
That being said, don’t let it discourage you from trying.
As with any new endeavor, if at first you don’t succeed...
Use your initial (or first few) cold calls as an educational tool to learn more about what your potential employer or clients actually want and need.
Use this information to your advantage and leverage it to figure out the best way to help them with your particular set of skills (and experience).
That way, even if things don't go as expected the first time around, you'll be more able to figure out a more mutually beneficial plan of attack for next time.
And trust me, now you've made a contact at the company it's MUCH easier for there to be a next time!
Bonus - Just Make the Call!
Have you heard the story of how, at the age of 12, the late Steve Jobs landed his summer job at HP?
Reflecting back on that time later in life, he shared that the main thing about being successful with cold calling was... to actually make the call.
Having made the proper preparations, it would be foolish not to follow through now.
As with anything, practice makes perfect.
Get out there and make that call!!
Join the Facebook group #LevelUp Your Career for support from others looking to achieve career success.