Consultant’s Corner: Cold Calling Techniques

Consultant’s Corner: Cold Calling Techniques

Question: What is business etiquette concerning cold calling and how often to follow-up with a prospect if they do not give you a time? How should you toe the line between checking in and being annoying?

Cold calling can involve phone calls to set appointments or cold call visits to prospects to have a sales meeting or set an appointment for a return visit. Also, in many industries it is common to send letters of introduction, brochures, catalogs, or other marketing materials before calling to set appointments or making direct sales calls. However, if the goal of a cold call is to set an appointment for a sales presentation, then you should ask the prospect for an appointment during the call. If you are unable to set an appointment on the initial call, then you should try to get the prospect’s commitment for a follow-up phone or in-person call by asking for and establishing a specific date and time for the follow-up call. On this follow-up call you can ask again for an appointment or review any information sent to the prospect in response to the initial call. With an indecisive prospect, this technique avoids the uncertainty of knowing when to make a follow-up call and helps qualify the prospect.

As for follow-up time frames, they can vary depending on the particular products or services being sold, the typical sales cycle and other factors. Thus, there is no standard time frame for following up with indecisive prospects in every situation. In many cases, it takes multiple calls before closing the sale, so persistence is necessary without being perceived as too aggressive or pushy. The following are example discussions on follow-up call techniques:

8 Essential Tips on How to Make a Perfect Follow Up Call: salesgravy.com
Making the Perfect Follow-up Call to Prospects: fordyceletter.com
Follow-up Calls That Seal the Deal: fordyceletter.com
7 Steps to Cold Calling Follow-up: monster.com

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As to cold calling in general, the best method and message varies by situation due to the different selling circumstances; however, there are many good resources for developing effective cold calling techniques. The most important elements to successful cold calling will be to understand the services and products, belief and confidence in the benefits of the products and services, having a good sales message(s), and reaching the right person. You can review books, suggestions, and other materials on cold calling best practices, techniques and tips at the following websites:

Cold calls:

Cold Calling Best Practices: demandmetric.com
Cold Calling Tips: about.com
Cold Calling – How to Make it Work: bridgegroupinc.com
Warm Up to Cold Calls: entrepreneur.com

Sales script development:

Getting Appointments by Cold Calling and Scripts: wolfram.org
How to Win the Sale and Keep the Customer: amazon.com

B2B sales methods:

What Is B2B? wisegeek.com
The Fundamentals of B2B Sales & Marketing: amazon.com

About the author

Bill Wortman

Bill Wortman is the Chief Business Consultant for GoSmallBiz.com, with over 40 years of business experience. In addition to 12 years consulting small business owners, Bill’s professional career includes a big-eight CPA accounting firm, national consumer finance, big-three automotive manufacturing, Arby’s fast food, marketing, and other industries. He’s held multiple executive-level positions and fulfilled the role of CFO at large, publicly held (NYSE, NASDAQ, and AMEX) corporations. In addition, he’s been an owner of private ventures involving residential real estate development and a General Motors new car dealership.

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