Cold calling is necessary to grow your consulting business. As tempting as it is to focus solely on marketing on the Internet, you have to contact prospective customers if you want to generate enough income to make a living. Things may look good now without cold calling, but it won't stay that way. Eventually, you'll need to muster up the courage to pick up the phone and call a prospect.
A Cold Call Is Not a Sales Call
You probably dislike telemarketers as much as the person you're calling, so don't approach it as a sales call. The goal is to make a sale at some point, but not with your first call. Expect at least seven or so points of contact with the prospective client before they agree to do business with you. Cold calling is one the firsts points of contact in your arsenal. When you nail down the art of cold calling, your consulting business will thrive.
Fears to Overcome When Cold Calling
Don't ignore the fears that stop you from making cold calls in the first place. Deal with them, and learn what to do to overcome them. Some fears that stop consultants from making cold calls are:
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of confrontation
- Fear of failure
The first key to learning the art of cold calling is to overcome your fears, so that you can make calls.
Cold Calling Preparation
You should never take a spur of the moment approach to cold calling. The prospective client may not be expecting your call, but you should be well prepared. Write a script, or make a list of bullet points to mention in the call. Don't read or even hint that you're reading on the phone. If you've ever received those calls, you know how awful the person on the other end sounds. It shows a lack of professionalism and know-how, and no one will want anything to do with your consulting business. Don't call someone without doing your research first either. You should know as much about the person you're calling and their company, so that you don't ask questions that you should know the answer to with a simple Yahoo! search.
On the Call
Instead of making a sales pitch, your goal is to learn what the problems and challenges are of the person you're calling. Everyone faces problems, and you need to find the ones that you can solve using your expertise and skills. Bypass the problems that don't have anything to do with your consulting business, and don't get side tracked with those on the call. The best way to learn the challenges that prospective client face is to ask questions. Those who master the art of cold calling, master the art of questioning. Jot down a list of generic questions to ask during the call, and try to work them in as naturally as possible.
Before you make your first five calls, ask someone to practice with
you. Family members, friends or a business mentor will be willing to
help your consulting business by pretending to be a prospect on the
other end of the line.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.