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Tips to improve your Cold Call Marketing
by Glen Chapman
Before you embark on your next cold calling exercise, read these top ten pointers and see which ones you can employ to help you get better results. More appointments, sales and more customers.

1. Know the benefits and hot buttons for your product or service. A lot people trying to sell, fall into the trap of selling the features rather then the benefits. "This washing machine as five wash cycles and two heat settings", where they should be saying "you are able to select the perfect wash setting for any type of clothes, giving you control so that you have cleaner clothes with less time". Which is going to sell the washing machine? The wash cycles or the cleaner clothes.

2. Use a script! This is vital. It ensures that you get across to the prospect what you have to and not forget important information during the call. It also allows you to be more fluid and confident with your call. If you are trying to think about what to say as you make the call it can come across as if you are unprepared.

3. Make calls in a group and once you start don't stop. One of the hardest things is getting started, so keep going. Alan Pease even suggests don't put the phone down between calls so you avoid the pressure of picking it up again. Make sure that you tell everyone else to not disturb you during your calls.

4. When you talk make sure you are smiling. If you are smiling then it comes through in the tone of your voice. Another tip is to use a mirror and talk to your reflection (with a smile). By doing this you will again come across more comfortable and confident, and make the call more like a conversation then a wrote presentation.

5. Do some research before your call. Know something about the person you are calling if you can. For example, if we get a response from an email promotion and we see that the email is a company one, we always go to their web site to see what they do. By knowing something about the person you are calling and introducing this into the call will make your call more relevant and important to them.

6. While you are on the call take notes, don't try and remember everything. Use a contact management system (such as ACT!, Maximizer or GoldMine) or even a spreadsheet to record information you get throughout the call. Use this information in any letter that you send with follow up information. It shows that you have listened and if you include some relevant information that adds value to the letter then it will have a bigger impact.

7. Remember the primary purpose of the call is to get an appointment, not make the sale. If you are a web business like we are, then the 'appointment' is to send more information to the prospect. Don't give too much information on the phone that will enable a decision to be made. You want the prospect to either meet with you or read the information you send. So the idea is to raise interest and then get the appointment.

8. As questions. To effectively qualify and uncover the specific needs of you prospect you need to be able to ask both closed and open questions. Closed questions are ones that get a yes, no or fact type answer. Open questions reveal feelings, emotions, beliefs and ideas.

Open questions are ones that use things like - "What do you...", "Which kinds of...", "In what ways..." or "How would you...". These allow you explore the needs of the prospect so that you can help propose some solutions that best fit their situation.

9. Don't take rejection personally. Remember that there are many reasons why they are not in a position to look at your product or service. The other thing to remember here is the law of averages. You will have an average number of appointments that you get from a series of calls, and you will have a known outcome from a series of appointments.

Allan Pease(1) quote research that "where the average commission or profit for a sale is between $350 and $2000 that for every 5 prospects who say 'yes' to an appointment 1 wont be there when you arrive, you wont get to present to one, leaving three that will hear your presentation. Of these three one will say 'yes' to the product or service."

So work out what your averages are and work them. No what your conversion of visitors to your site is to subscriptions or sales. Know your calls to appointments average.

10. If you are organising appointments, when you get to setting the appointment time there are a few ways to go here and you will need to choose the one you are most comfortable with.

The first idea is to offer the prospect a choice of two times and make them something like 3:10, 2:40 or the like. For example you would ask "Which time would be better for you 2:40 or 3:10 tomorrow". This does a couple of things. Firstly rather then just asking for a single time and having the chance of a 'no' a choice means they actually pick the one that is better. The second part about the actual time chosen is that it is unusual and they will tend to remember it.

The other thing is that if they ask how long you will take, again say something like 7,9 or 13 minutes. These are specific and unusual. Everyone says 'about five minutes' - which means more like 15 or 20, or 'about 15 minutes' - which means more like 30 minutes. The specific time frame is believed because it is specific and shows that you know the material and the presentation time etc so you are more professional.

The second way of setting a time is to say that you will be there 'around' at time. The argument behind this is that it allows for flexibility on both your part and the prospects part. If you say you will be there at 2 o'clock and they are still in a meeting then they will start to get concerned and pressured about your meeting. Also if you are a little delayed due to traffic or your last appointment then you won't be considered late. As I said it is a personal choice.

Resources and References
(1) Allan Pease - How to make appointments by telephone (1991)
(2) Bob Burg - Endless Referrals (1994) - (
(3) Rain Making - Ford Harding (1994)

(© 1995 – 2007 Glen Chapman)