Most of us hate cold calling, and this job has became more difficult with the advent of voicemail. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to speak to anyone directly. Instead, I recommend sending carefully targeted and well-constructed e-mails.
It is important to research your prospects carefully, identifying the right person in the company that theoretically should be interested in your products and services. If you do not have the skill or time to find these e-mail addresses, a reputable telemarketing company can do this task for you, without their attempting to do any selling on your behalf at this stage.
Then, the skill is in composing a very short initial e-mail. Most people think that the more features that are crowded into this first-e-mail, the better; in fact, the exact opposite is true. I always recommend a four-line e-mail, which is designed specifically to raise some interest for an initial fifteen-minute meeting.
The first line is the most important and should be specifically tailored for each individual client. It should suggest the specific problem that you can solve, such as improving their revenues or reducing costs.
The next line should be a simple premise of what you do; how you have acknowledged expertise in helping customers solve that problem. People are generally sceptical about sales pitches, so your third line should feature some proof, such as a similar customer you have worked with, who could potentially provide a reference.
The final line should suggest a short meeting at a specific time and date. Ideally, they will be able to agree immediately; if they are interested but cannot make that specific date, they might suggest another.
This type of “Magic E-mail” (as I call it) is inexpensive and unobtrusive. If they are not interested at that particular time, they will delete the e-mail and swiftly forget you. People who have used this approach tell me the response rate is much higher than for more traditional methods.
It has the added advantage of significantly reducing your unanswered voicemail messages and the curt, dismissive customer replies that are often endemic to cold calling.
Copyright ©Mike Southon 2012. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission in writing. Mike Southon is the co-author of The Beermat Entrepreneur and a business speaker.