Just the phrase sends shivers up many sellers’ spines.
Prospects don’t respond. Gatekeepers padlock their gates shut. Sellers shut down.
It doesn’t have to be that hard. This year has changed the face of prospecting and opened up a whole new set of tactics to help you grab the attention of your contacts. As I’ve tested them myself I’ve discovered that cold calling is now actually FUN!
I know you’re doubting me. I see that look on your face across the wire, but really, with a few tweaks to your technique, you can have fun too.
Shake up your message. We all know that what we say can make or break our ability to get noticed. Yes, your value proposition must focus on a business need you uncovered in your triggering event research, or on a breakthrough idea you have to share. Now go further. Bring it to life in your email by adding a bit of your personality. Help prospects imagine the real person that wants to speak with them.
For example, “I’m looking forward to our conversation. I noticed you’re based in Hartford, Connecticut. I used to ski nearby when I lived in Danbury. Can’t wait to hear how it’s changed!”
In a voicemail or an email, that bit of individualization distinguishes you from other sellers also calling with strong value propositions. You sound friendly and engaging. They’re going to want to speak with you.
Shout your message. Today you have many more opportunities to get your message out in front of your target market, from Twitter and Facebook, to LinkedIn, email prospecting and cold calling.
The secret is to be sure you’re using every avenue, including social media, to be heard. Comment about projects you’re doing, vendors you’re working with, results your clients have seen. Mention clients by first name and geographical location to add credibility but retain anonymity. If you’re not worried about competitive eyes, mention contacts and companies by name. These little comments don’t just create awareness, they generate interest in learning more about you. I’ve actually had prospects contact me from similar ones!
Enjoy the gatekeeper. If a real person is stopping you, revisit your value proposition. The bottom line is, your message isn’t compelling enough.
If your gatekeeper is silent, engage the new tools to entice a response.
Check for your contact in LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Get connected and send a direct message using the internal mail systems. For LinkedIn, use the same message from your cold call, even the personalization.
On Twitter, with only 140 characters your message might be something like, “Wanted to connect by phone. Had some ideas on IT security I wanted to get your opinion on. When’s a good time?” Here there isn’t much space, so your objective is only to start a quick conversation, then set an appointment.
Don’t forget about referrals and introductions. It’s the people you know who can get you to the people you want to know. Use your social media network connections and reach out.
Embrace recession objections. There are two primary objectives most companies have as they make changes today: make more money or save more money. Use these to break past the “no budget” objections. Eventually you may find there really isn’t an opportunity because they can’t spend, but I’m seeing some pretty creative deals happening in situations of no money. Don’t let it stop you or the prospect from exploring a valuable idea that can help their business.
Switch up your cold calling techniques and you’ll soon find you’re getting in the door despite any economic situation!