Whether you are conducting a work search or panning for business, making cold calls to strangers to ask for something is not a heck of a lot of fun for most people.
The experts tell you to turn them into “warm calls” by getting a referral. Great idea, but what if you just don’t have one?
David Cohen of Technicolor Umbrella says that rejection is the primary reason people hate making cold calls.
One of the things we have to overcome is negative self talk. When we denounce our own abilities we need a bit of a slap. You are not too old, or too tall or too inexperienced — just make the call.
Best and worst
Cohen says to ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen on a cold call and what is the best that can happen?” If you can live through either occurrence, go for it.
Once you have overcome call reluctance, you need to prepare a script, know why you are calling, whom you are calling and why you are calling now.
Outline what your clients or potential employer will get when they do business with you or hire you. Have a list of results or accomplishments at your fingertips.
When I sold advertising for the Edmonton Sun in its infancy, we used to send cakes designed in the shape of a company’s product to encourage business. Being creative with props or invites can open an otherwise closed mind.
A computer-cleaning consultant started his pitch with the startling statistic that “there are more germs on your keyboard than on your toilet seat.”
When it comes time to script the call, Cohen encourages directness. Don’t ask if it’s OK to call now, just make the call. Make the first 10 seconds count, then be quiet and wait for the prospect to lead.
Be sure to be professional and friendly in your approach. According to a Xerox sales survey, clients want their vendors to ask questions and listen. So do both, well.