The Art of Cold Calling

Topic: Helpful Ideas, Startups, Strategies|


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In the web development business, and many other small businesses it’s tough to stand out from the crowd. Designers are a dime a dozen these days, especially with the advent of outsourcing services such as ELance.

Personally, I’ve relied on top notch service and client referrals to maintain a steady income. Things are going quite well, in fact I’ve reached the point where I must turn down work on a regular basis.

Yet recently I have been looking to grow. Hiring another developer does’nt quite yet make sense, because the number of jobs I’ve turned down doesn’t quite justify the expansion. However, I just finished reading a fantastic book on cold calling entitled “Cold Calling Techniques That Really Work”- and by following the techniques I feel I’ll be able to sustain enough business to justify hiring additional developers.

There are five basic elements to the successful cold call:

  1. Get the person’s attention. But not using a cheesy introduction.
  2. Identify yourself and your company
  3. Give the reason for you call
  4. Make a qualifying/questioning statement
  5. Set the appointment

Below, I have included some time tested scripts that can be used when making your calls:

  • Initial Contact
    • Good Morning Mr. Adams, this is Brett from Brett Adams Design LLC. The reason I’m calling you today specifically is so I can stop by and tell you about our latest web site implementation (or service, or product, or program) that increases traffic and click-thru sales (or whatever applies to your business). I’m sure that you, like (name of previous client) are interested in increasing site traffic.
    • Generally, you are given a positive response by the prospect at this point.
    • That’s great Mr. Adams, let’s get together. How’s this Thursday at 2:00?

As I mentioned, lots of my business comes from referrals or third-party endorsements. But the great thing is that there is a script for those scenarios as well.

  • Referral Script
    • Good morning Mr. Adams, this is (insert brief commercial about your business). The reason I’m calling you to today is that Mr. Smith just suggested I give you a call to set up an appointment. I wanted to if Thursday at 2:00 would be okay.

What tends to make these scripts successful is the fact that they generally require a positive response. You aren’t giving them the option to dance around or avoid your request. I’ll be implementing these strategies heavily in the coming weeks and I will keep you updated on the success.

Here are some tips, in no particular order, when cold calling:

  • The object (for me at least) is to set an appointment. I’m not looking to close a sale over the phone, I’d rather sit down face to face and explain the value of choosing my services over those of the competition.
  • No matter how good you are, sales is still a numbers game. 1/3 of your clients will fall into your lap, 1/3 won’t say yes no matter what, and the other 1/3 can potentially be convinced – and that is the portion that matters when it comes to being a successful cold caller.
  • Practice your script, you don’t want to sound as though you are reading off of one, but it’s vital that you do in fact have one.
  • People respond in kind. Think, feel, act, and sound positive and you will elicit positive responses.

Somewhat long post today but I hope you enjoyed the lesson and can utilize these techniques to grow your student startup! Class dismissed.

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2 Responses to “The Art of Cold Calling”

  1. Tyler Says:

    Well instead of trying the whole cold calling route you should work on a system that gets people to hunt you down, instead of the other way around. You need to position yourself in the marketplace so that when people need the type of work you do, then immediately find you. It’s not that hard to do and getting enough work so you can expand would be a cake walk. Nice article though.