As you guys and gals are well aware, I do my fair share of networking for our cleaning business.
On the whole, networking gets me many leads to follow up on.
Sometimes an event will yield very little, while other times I may get several leads to pursue. The ones I do get I usually follow up on by a phone call.
Once you get your feet wet making calls, you learn really fast how hard the tele-marketing business is. The outcomes are not always good. In fact, it can get downright ugly at times. With that said, you need to keep plugging along!
Consider my most recent attempt at making calls. The other day I made 10 phone calls to doctor and dentist offices (I received the names of the doctors and dentist from referrals).
I had a phone script all written and ready to use for this series of calls (which I thought was pretty good). My script was concise and to the point, or so I thought!
I started by stating the benefit of my phone call rather than trying to sell my services (after all, the whole point here it not to close a sale, just to generate some interest). Even though I did use the name of the person giving me the referral, I realized no one (on this list anyway) wanted to talk about their cleaning needs unless they already had a problem.
This was dis-heartning at best, but a little rejection will not slow me down! I will continue to reach out to as many leads and referrals as I can get. If the phone doesn’t work then I will send out a sales letter for them to read at their leisure. To be honest, I send them a sales letter no matter what they say on the phone because they may just hate to be bothered over the phone.
At the end of the day, just keep refining your message and learn from each set of calls. Don’t give up! Remember, it may take 100 phone calls to get one acceptance. It’s a numbers game and you must make a fair amount of calls to get some interest.
My approach has always been to make a series of 10 to 20 calls at one sitting (avoid making the calls on Monday and Fridays as people are too overwhelmed on Monday and looking forward to the weekend on Friday). You are able to really get into a groove this way, plus making 10 or 20 calls does not really take all that long.
Just think, in less than an hour you would be able to be really productive, and on a good day you maybe able to schedule a meeting or two which could result in landing an account. Trust me, the effort is worth it!
What keeps me motivated on these calls is the fact that much money can be make by landing an account. On a job that you profit $200.00 per month, you would have made a call that would put $2,400.00 in your pocket. On a job that nets $500.00 you put a cool $6,000 in your bank account in a year!
Not bad for making a few calls huh?
Here are some tips on cold calling that will benefit you greatly. These cold calling tips are quite simple to implement (the best advice usually is!). Review the detailed description of each cold calling tip below the graphic.
# 1 Focus on the goal when cold calling.
Beginners tend to think that cold calling is about making the sale. It’s not about that at all. It’s about getting the chance to make the sale. Specifically, the purpose of a cold call is to set an appointment to make the pitch at a later date.
# 2 Research your markets and prospects.
You need to target your cold calling to the right audience. This means you may not use the same script for calling a doctors office as you would for calling a shipping company. This gives you a huge advantage of being able to talk about their business and their needs when you call them.
# 3 Prepare an opening statement for your cold call.
This lets you organize your thoughts before the call takes place. It also helps you avoid common mistakes in the cold call opening statement that would give the person you’re calling the chance to terminate the conversation. For instance, don’t ask, “Is this a good time to speak to you?” or “How are you doing today?”
Don’t read your opening statement into the phone, but use it as a framework to get the cold calling conversation off to a good start. Structure the call along these lines.
- A greeting and an introduction.
- A reference point (something about the prospect).
- The benefits of your product or service.
- A transition to a question or dialogue.
Consider this example:
“Good afternoon, Ms. Davis. This is Bob Smith with Green Clean Janitorial Service. I read in the local paper that you recently broke ground for a new office complex. We specialize in commercial cleaning services that will allow you to reduce in-house maintenance costs and improve the overall appearance of your facility. I’d like to ask a few questions to determine whether one of our programs might meet your needs.’”
# 4 Prepare a cold calling script for the remainder of your cold call.
Work on laying out the benefits of your service and the reasons your prospect should buy. Write out any possible objections and your answer to them. Without this cold calling script, it’s too easy to leave something out or let the conversation wander.
Remember, it’s not that you’ll be reading your script word for word when you call, but that you’ve prepared the framework of the cold call in advance.
# 5 Ask for an appointment at a specific time when cold calling.
How you ask is very important!
This way works: “Would Wednesday at 11 a.m. be a good time to meet?”
This way does not, as it just invites a big fat NO: “Can I meet with you to discuss this next week?”
# 6 The gatekeepers are your allies not your foes.
Be pleasant to whoever picks up the phone when cold calling. Work on strategies to get the gatekeeper on your side. Sometimes asking, “I wonder if you could help me?” act like magic words!
These magic words help you get the information you need, such as the name of the right person to talk to or when the best time to contact the prospect is. Learning the names of gatekeepers and being friendly when cold calling helps and is a good business practice.
# 7 Send your prospect a small unique promotional item.
This paves the way for success. It also helps you break the ice and stand out from your competitors. We send magnets, which are great because no one seems to ever throw away a nice refrigerator magnet. Simply add it to your direct mail piece and send out a week or two before calling. When you call, they may say, “Oh yeah….you were the one that sent me that…”
# 8 Do your cold calling early in the morning, if possible.
That’s the best time to reach the decision maker directly, and for most people, the time that they’re most energized and willing to entertain offers.
# 9 Be persistent when cold calling.
Here is a little know fact. Eighty percent of new sales are made after the fifth contact, yet the majority of sales people give up after the second contact. This means you need to keep forging ahead!
# 10 Practice, practice, practice.
Though cold calling may never be the joy of your life, you can get better at it. The more you practice cold calling, the more effective a sales weapon it will be. So get your script and your call list together and reach for the phone. The people who want to do business with you are out there! You just have to let them know about you first.