Cold calls
Illustration: Adam Fitzcharles

Everyone hates cold callers...

But for most of us, this was the only sales tool we were given.

It’s kinda like getting a job as a carpenter and your boss says, “Here’s a brand new shiny hammer, go build me a house.”

However, if I was offered only one tool, I would take a hammer anyday.

Like most salespeople, I have always loathed simple “cold” calling and thought it was a waste of time.

For most salespeople reading this, depending on what they sell, I would imagine it is a contract, service or product worth anywhere between 2 million yen to 25 million yen or more.

Do you think anyone is going to give that kind of money to someone, whom they never heard of, calling them out of the blue?

How many cold callers have you met when they called YOU?

Stop wasting effort, grab your company-approved, concise value offering script, and start Smart Calling instead.

1. Mindset preparation/goal setting: Your goal is to get a face-to-face meeting, not sell anything on the phone.

2. Make a list of no more than 10 companies per set to go after. Looking at a list of 100 companies freaks me out too, so break them into bits and take small breaks in between.

3. Research your target company’s industry and find out their top three competitors, general target customers and history in Japan. Also get the financial results if available. (And if your target doesn’t want to meet, maybe their competitors do…)

4. Write down a few issues/challenges your clients may be having and how your service can help them achieve better outcomes. Outcome examples are: Higher profitability, decreased turnover, reduced waste, time savings, reduced down time, more new customer reach, increased market share, etc.

5. Be ready to show/send/fax a written positive client reference. Or send them your press-kit (do you even have one???)

6. FOCUS on clients that are close to you (easy to pop into on short notice, easy to hand-deliver contracts), or lumped together in one building so you can travel there.

7. LEARN time schedules/habits of contacts that may vary by industry. CEOs often get to work very early, around 7:30am to avoid office noise and requests, don't call HR on Monday mornings or at the 1st of the month etc. Learn habits from successful calls and repeat these in future phone-work.

8. Make calls happen. Turn off mobile, incoming emails, instant chat, other applications on your PC. Focus on this activity.

Update targets in your list often, on the same paper notebook, so you can see your call history and look back often at the awesome effort you are putting in.

Next, here are some quick-tips for client meetings after you break in:

1. Write down your experiences with their industry or brand. You can also bring your research notes about them, great for asking questions about things not on their website.

2. Write down your experiences solving similar problems they MAY have. Don’t assume too much, calm down, let the client finish their sentences!

3. Get your client references/case studies ready to hand over.

4. Have a list of your benefits and match them to possible needs.

5. Remember you are meeting to HELP their business. But first you need to listen and ask questions. Small mouth, big ears.

Smart calling is just one tool in your box for building your business and breaking into new clients.

Over-reliance on any one method will limit your potential.

Ask any professional athlete about their methods, do they just run, or just lift weights, or just eat right?

Laziness is often a symptom of fear, be brave, stop talking at work with your mates about the next season of some FOX drama series or American Idol.

Make your Smart Calls now!


Other posts by Jason de Luca:

Comments

I like what you have written, Jason. Probably because I agree with you; the phone scares a lot of people.

Your writing is succinct and accurate and enjoyable to read. Looking forward to further columns.

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