Out of the Cold – Cold Calling and Cold Emailing Demystified
At some point, whether it is in the beginning of your career or when the flow of customers slows a bit, drumming up some new work is in order. One of the time-tested methods that scares the hell out of a lot of people is cold calling.
Part of what people dislike is feeling like they are begging for work. This is not the case though. I won’t get into the psychology of it, but people tend to doubt themselves more than they should. When you’re cold calling with an actual service, you shouldn’t see yourself as bugging the prospective business your calling. You should see yourself as offering a service that will better their business and make them more money. What happens on these calls is kind of a fine line to walk. You’re teetering on being in over aggressive salesperson and educating the potential client of the service they may not know about.
Law of averages
The law of averages simply put is, if you call enough people you will get business. I heard a statistic, I’m not sure how true it is, that roughly 80% of the calls that you make will be rejections. As always you go in knowing that the majority the people you call and present your service in a professional manner will still reject you.
The same is true for emails. The more emails you send out to potential clients, the more work you potentially get. And again there’s a high percentage of people who reject you. The difference is, the rejection through an email usually comes as a non response vs. someone telling you that they do not want your services.
How to get started cold calling or cold emailing
The first tip I can give you when cold calling someone is to do a bit of research. There’s nothing more embarrassing than calling someone for the first time to solicit their business and you not knowing anything about their business. If you run a business like web design or copywriting, you can group your cold calling into industry groups. This means if you are trying to create websites or web copy for several industries you can call all of the construction companies in your area in one bunch. Then move on to non-profits or something else.
What this will allow you to do is create a basic script with words commonly used in their industry. You can do general research on the industry once. Sounding like you know what you’re talking about or having a basic knowledge of and industry will get you a lot farther than sounding like some random salesperson calling them up. Even though you may not know everything, having a basic knowledge of their lingo will help. this will also help you create a basic template if you decide to email a bunch of them with information or cold email them.
Sample cold calling script
The transcript below is something you can use to talk to the person who answers the phone. Depending on their reply, you may have to wing it a little but there are some fairly set responses you can use.
Hello, my name is ___________ and I am a freelance _______ contacting local [insert type of business here] to determine if you have any ongoing or occasional needs for [insert service here]. Who might be the best person to talk with?
Many times the people answering the phone are not the decision makers. When you are talking to someone who isn’t a decision maker, the main thing you’d like to do is find out the name of the person who can hire you for your services and try to get their email address. Many times an email address is fairly easy to get. If they do not want to give it out, look at the company websites to determine what format the company uses for email addresses. What I mean is many companies use a format such as first name.last firstname.lastname@example.org. If the person answering the phone is not willing to give out an email address but lets you know what the person’s name is, you can shoot over an email to the person with the basic information they might need to know about your service.
Ideally, the person you talk to will offer you the decision makers voice mail as an option. If you get sent to their voice mail you can leave a short detailed message letting them know that you will be sending them a link to your website or other samples of your work for them to check out.
Some wording you may want to use talking to the person answering the phone might be:
- Is there a particular person or department who handles [marketing, your website, current freelancers]?
If they tell you the person’s name, you might also ask for their email address at this time.
How to handle cold calling objections
Because there will be so many rejections, the main thing to keep in mind no matter if it’s your first call or your 10th call of the day is to stay polite and professional. Sure you’ll end up being little cranky but you never know, a positive attitude can mean the difference between setting up a meeting with a potential client vs. having them hang up on you because you too pushy.
Do you have any tips for cold calling or cold emailing?