It Pays to Do it Right… (cold calling)

As a small business owner, how often do you cold call another business without gathering any information beforehand?

I’m hoping that your answer is NEVER.

I can’t tell you how many times in the last year that I’ve gotten a mailing or a phone call from someone trying to sell me on their product or services and they have no idea who I am or what my company does.

They’ve gotten my name from a listing on new businesses and just picked up the phone or mailed me a letter.  I’m not impressed.

My favorites have been a phone call I got from a web developer (I develop websites) and a postcard I got from a PR firm (which I also do).  Then there was the law firm that had the most horrible brochure they mailed to me – but that could be another blog in itself.

Please, if you are going to cold call a company, do some research first.  Go to the internet and see if they have a website.  Review the LinkedIn profile for the company owner.  Read their reviews on Google Places or SuperPages.  See if there are any recent news stories on-line.  Try to learn what they are doing right and learn where they may need help.

Think about it, would you go into a job interview without doing research on the company?  A sales call or sales letter is very much like a job interview.  Either way, you are selling yourself to a stranger.  Don’t go in ignorant.

How can your product or service be perfect for their company if you don’t know their company?

If you start your letter or phone conversation with some specifics about their organization they will realize that you really care about their business.

Can you do this for hundreds of businesses at a time?  Probably not.  But, I’d suggest breaking prospect lists down into manageable groupings.  Do some initial research, make that first call or send that first letter.

Try to build a relationship; the sales can flow from there.   Even if your initial prospect doesn’t need your services, they will be impressed with your interest in their organization.  They might send referrals your way.

Next time you go cold calling, give this a try and let me know how it goes.