Cold calling may make you feel anything but warm, however it is still an effective way to reach the right people that can lead to a sale. Plus, it's much easier to ignore an email than a direct phone call.
Whether you're picking up the phone and reaching out to someone for the first time, or you just need a few reminders after years in sales - we're talking about sales call strategy.
According to Peter Lamb, sales consultant at Lamb Consulting and strategist for the Meta Branded Content Project, the first rule of cold-calling is to practice, practice practice!
"Don't make that call until you've role-played it ten times and you've recorded yourself," Lamb said. "If you've never done that, do it once or twice!"
Recording yourself will help you understand how you come across to a stranger and give you insights into how you actually sound. Lamb says it's not about sounding like someone else, but yourself. Be confident, clear and to-the-point.
Because he or she who remains flexible will never get bent out of shape, Lamb stresses the importance of being flexible while on the phone with a decision-maker. If they want to talk for a half-hour, let them, but also don't stay on the phone too long. Lamb recommends telling your prospect you'll only need three or four minutes of their time, and keeping to it. Once you pass that point, ask them if you'd like to schedule another call or continue. Be realistic about the call - you're establishing a relationship and point of contact.
"This is the start of the relationship, even the best reps I work with in the world, you are not that good that you can close on the first call," he said.
Remember to listen twice as much as you talk, explain back to the decision-maker what you heard them say about their business and advertising goals, and then always follow-up with what you promised. If you didn't get the right person on the phone, ask for a referral.
Cold calling doesn't have to make you break out into a cold sweat. When done right and often, it's a great way to generate leads that can lead to a lucrative advertising relationship.
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The Meta Branded Content Project is designed through a strategic partnership between the Local Media Association, the Local Media Consortium, and the Meta Journalism Project to help facilitate additional growth, engagement, and revenue success for more publishers of all shapes and sizes.