Note: This is part two of a four part series on marketing calls. Last week, in part one, Terry talked about the first 30 seconds of making a cold call. Three goals must be achieved in that time, he said: Get attention; Avoid rejection, and; Establish a dialogue. The remaining parts of the series will publish on each of the next two Thursdays.
In our last article we stated, “The most critical skill set to develop is not getting people to listen to you. Rather, it is the skill of getting them to talk with you, to open up, to willingly share the specifics of their individual situations”. Many times on an initial marketing call (cold call), the first step of this process of “… getting them to talk with you …” can be accomplished by explaining the reason for your call.
Think in terms of the person you are calling. Put yourself into their position and you will understand that your call (as well as any unplanned call) will be viewed as an interruption to their busy workday. Therefore, you must give them a reason to listen, you must stimulate in them an interest or curiosity, and you must engage them willingly in a two-way business dialogue.
Within a brief time frame you must explain in understandable terms, exactly why you have selected their company to call, why you are contacting them specifically, and what potential benefit could accrue to them as a result of your call. No “smoke and mirrors,” just a forthright statement explaining the reason for your call.
Obviously, it is important to utilize certain criteria when selecting the companies to call. These criteria are usually reflected in your company’s strategic marketing plan and may include any or all of the following:
- area of specialization;
- industry/market focus;
- size and number of employees;
- research findings;
- referral source;
- competitive positioning;
- technological capability, etc.
A Reason For the Call
Whether by plan or happenstance (not generally recommended), you do have reasons for selecting your prospects. Make certain those reasons are based on solid business principles that make good sense to you as well as to your prospect. Without these criteria as a guide for the call, you may be perceived by your prospect as an “unnecessary annoyance” with little to offer. If that happens, your prospect will immediately begin to execute an exit strategy from the call. Once this occurs, it is extremely difficult to redirect the call in a positive fashion for both of you.
The two primary things you have to work with are your time and your ability to make things happen through the proper utilization of that time together with your available resources. You choose when and how to utilize your time and resources. Those choices will determine the level of success you experience in this business and they begin when you determine who to call and why you are calling them.
Remember: Do not approach the call from a position of need, i.e. you need an order, you need their business, you need to reach your goal or achieve your numbers. This is a weak position, which allows you few options. Rather, approach the call as an opportunity to engage a peer in a two-way business discussion that could bring benefit to both of you.
(For ideas on how to properly market a candidate see my article “Candidate Marketing.”)
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Explore the Role of Incentives in Performance Management
The following examples of openings are designed to stimulate your creative instincts when building marketing scripts. They should be considered merely as points of reference, not absolutes. The principles they represent are far more important than their actual wording. After greeting the prospect and introducing yourself, you might say:
Based on the research we conducted, it appears as if your organizational profile is similar to that of several companies who have dramatically improved their performance capacity through using our services. Whether or not we could replicate those results with your firm is unknown at this time. However, if we exchange some basic information, we should be able to jointly determine if it makes sense for us to take this discussion to a more in-depth level. Should we take a few minutes now or would a scheduled telephone appointment be more convenient?
I have never spoken with you before and I only have a limited amount of information on your company. However, my area of specialization is (state specialty) and I am aware of no other way of determining if I can be of service than picking up the phone and calling you. After a brief discussion we should be able to determine whether or not you can benefit from the services we provide. Does that work for you?
My call to you is prompted by the position your company (division) holds in relation to your market (customers) and competition. Where performance is concerned, little margin for error exists. If this is true for your company, then my call may be particularly well timed. Can we take a few minutes to have a candid discussion?
My call to you could be well timed if building and maintaining a strong team of professionals (or appropriate job titles) is one of your critical priorities for the coming year. Can you speak freely for a few minutes?
Experience has demonstrated that firms similar to (name of prospect’s company) have benefited the most from our services when there is a careful alignment of resources along a predetermined timeline in order to support the accomplishment of their organizational objectives. This allows us to focus our priorities and deliver results. Would learning more about this approach to staffing (recruiting) be of interest to you?
(Name of prospect) if we could take a few minutes and share information, we should be able to jointly determine whether or not the specialized services I provide could be of value to your firm. Can you speak freely for a few minutes?
My research leads me to believe that an opportunity may exist for us to do business together. If this is in fact true, then both of our firms stand to benefit. That’s the reason for my call. Can you speak freely for a few minutes?
These are merely examples of the infinite variety of approaches that can be used in your opening comments when making cold marketing calls. With proper training, you can quickly learn how to customize your approach and improve your ability to get the prospect’s attention, eliminate a reflex rejection, and set the stage for a two-way business dialogue.
However, the specific wording is only effective if it is properly presented. It has been proven that during the initial portion of a cold marketing call, approximately 80 percent of your message will be carried by the manner in which you say the words, while only 20 percent of the message is carried by the actual wording. Therefore, in addition to building your scripts, concentrate on developing your presentation skills, specifically the speed at which you talk and the tone of your voice. Our in-house training programs have demonstrated time after time the value of developing both script building and presentation skills.
Our next article will consider the “Why are you calling me?” question from the recruiting call perspective.
As always, if you have questions or comments about this article or wish to receive my input on any other topic related to this business, just let me know. Your calls and e-mails are most welcome.