How to do cold callling yourself without appearing desperate

One of the questions I get asked by sole practitioners, consultants, and sole traders in the professional services sector is how can they do cold calling without appearing too desperate for work.

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There is a fear that getting on the phone yourself as a business owner smacks of desperation.

There may be a teeny weeny bit of truth in that but honestly it really is only a little bit in my opinion and the benefits far outweigh this tiny negative.

But here are some tips to keep your sanity and motivation if you are a small business owner doing cold calling yourself for lead generation:

1)  Forget your own experiences of receiving cold calls

This is the number one barrier and usually the most important.

People have the view that if this is what they think of others then this is what others will think of them.

I asked someone yesterday to describe in five phrases what their perception was of cold calls they received and they answered “Pushy, Salesy, Intrusive, Broadcast, Can’t get another job”

So let’s look at these perceptions

Pushy & Salesy = This is where telemarketing calls are different to telesales. The objective of a telemarketing call is to build up brand awareness, get known for the right things, and to find qualified leads. This is done by research, listening and qualifying people in or out as a prospective customer.There is an element of persuasion and call handling techniques but bottom line is to establish interest first and foremost.

So many business owners get telesales confused with telemarketing in that they get on the phone with the objective of trying to persuade everyone that they talk with to purchase their services immediately during that call. This is a tall order and a very challenging goal to set. It can lead to feeling like a failure if things don’t work out as successfully as hoped.

It’s a bit like dieting. Yes, there are people who manage to shed three stone in a month whilst eating nothing but celery but it’s hardly sustainable or enjoyable :)

Moving onto the word “Broadcast” now … this is typical of someone who receives telesales calls that are just broadcasting a sales message. Typically this style is followed up with lots of “overcoming objections”.  There are loads that I could say on objection handling but to keep this short and sweet I will just try to summarise by saying that objections are dialogue. It’s all about conversation. Two-way conversation. To get the best out of this you really really need to listen properly and demonstrate that you have listened. Do not come back with sales-patter that pushes someone away if it is too standard a reply. Taking a consultative approach can work so much better. Ask questions, check your understanding, find out what your prospect is in the market for, understand what would deliver benefits for them. Once you have that common ground established it is much easier to go back and see how your services may be suitable.

Can’t get another job = This really comes down to how the individual portrays themselves. If the caller is all down in the mouth and Eyeore instead of Tigger then this impression comes across over the phone. It’s giving the recipient of the call the view that you think you are not worthy of another job or doing anything else that day. If you change your mindset to being more upbeat and proud of what you do then responses will change.

The reason to forget this is that your calls are going to be different to those … aren’t they?

Great ways to open a call as a Sole Trader …

Don’t shy away from making calls as a Sole Trader or Consultant. It’s fantastic way to get feedback from you potential customer base. Chances are that even with the “No Thank You’s” you will still get an insight into what your potential customers believe is most valueable to them or what is a turn off.

Useful phrases…

“I’ve been carefully researching a few businesses to introduce my services to”

“I have been researching from your website and can see that ….”

“I am working with xzy company who seem to be similar to you in that …”

“What would the benefit be to you of xxxx?”

Obviously these change depending on the product or service or the audience being called but they give you an idea of how to open a call to get conversation going without sounding desperate for work!

Good luck and as always I would really appreciate comments or suggestions or feedback from this article. Let me know how it goes.

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