Even the best of sales people will often cringe at the though of making a cold call. A cold call is intrusive, usually unwelcome, and difficult to pull off flawlessly. Love it or hate it, there is no denying that cold calling works. It’s an age old sales technique that will never cease to create results and as long as business is to be had cold calling will be present in one form or another. Fortunately for sales professionals, there are ways to use the social web to gather enough information to make the call a warm one instead of a cold one.
Has this been you before?
“Hello this is John from ABC Marketing, can you connect me with your director of marketing?”
Gatekeeper: “He’s in a meeting/out of the office/busy right now. Leave a message and I’ll give it to him”
All too common scenario and any sales pro will tell you that one of the biggest hurdles is getting past the gatekeeper. There are ways to attempt to get past the gatekeeper (such as calling at odd hours or leaving vague messages with a tone of urgency), but I prefer the method of winning them over with credibility.
Establish prior connections
One way to increase your odds of getting through to the right person is to know exactly who you want to speak with from the beginning. The first and obvious place to look is LinkedIn. If you’re connected to anyone within the company use that to your advantage.
to Gatekeeper: “Hello this is Bob from ABC Marketing, can I speak to Mary M. over in customer service?”
to Mary: “Hi, this is Bob from ABC, (say how you know this person from LinkedIn) I’m a former colleague of ____ over at ____ and was informed that you might be able to help. I’m trying to get in touch with your director of marketing, can you forward me over to the appropriate person?”
This technique will instantly help your cold calls.
To go even further use a service such as Jigsaw to find exactly who you need to reach. Jigsaw can help fill in the blanks of your LinkedIn network and point you in the right direction. Once you know the name of the prospect you need to speak with (director of marketing in this example), you can learn more about them. Do a quick search on Google and look for a Twitter account, company or personal blog, and spend some time do some research. Arm yourself with as much info about the person you need to reach as possible.
to Gatekeeper: “Hello this is Bob with ABC Marketing, is your Director of Marketing John D. available? I need to speak him with regarding some work he has done with _____ company/or _____ person.
to John: “Hi, John this is Bob with ABC Marketing, I noticed that you’ve done worth with _____ at _____ company and wanted to get in touch. We offer services that benefit people/businesses such as (tie in possible connection if applicable) and would like to talk with you to see if we can help your company benefit/save money (insert value proposition) as well. Etc…
By working techniques similar to this into your sales calls, your contact ratio should increase over time. Establishing credibility through relationships increases both trust and confidence between you and your prospect. Ditch the cold calls and start warm calling.