As you may know, I’m currently running a small project to attract customers for a fabulous new product I’ve developed from beyond my current client base. This involves me dedicating at least an hour a day, three days a week to cold-calling my select list of 50ish initial suspects, as well as email follow-ups and the like out of hours.
It’s been years since I cold-called and times have changed. My early results are encouraging, and I’ve learnt two ‘new’ things already.
People are more rude than I remember. I try and speak to those that head up sales teams, and I’m constantly astounded at how dismissively they treat canvassers considering that they themselves wish their charges to go about their business in a similar fashion. To help avoid people simply saying ‘no’ after the first sentence (after which it is of course impossible to make an informed judgement) the first change I’ve made is to alter my pitch structure. In days of yore, I successfully utilised a structure that was a dozen words on what I do (‘features’, if you like) followed by a benefit with numerical impact. I’m already switching this around to hit with the bang first, and crucially, framing this in question form to identify whether the desire for it is a pertinent issue.
Secondly, email is not the answer. I’ve sent emails to all and sundry attempting to introduce myself, and when I reach someone, I start with whether my mail rang any bells. Only one person even slightly recalled the mail. There’s a slew of stuff on the web about cold-call emails. The main advice is to make it personally relevant. I need to think some more about this, as my first paragraph mentions something specific to them that I’ve researched, yet I still fall short of recognition. So, for now, it’s back to brochures via snail mail.
One thing does stay true though. After every pitch I get to make, I thoroughly assess what worked or did not about it, and test out any modifications necessary immediately. I really feel I’m getting somewhere as a result.
And on the contact front, if you call the same role as I’m doing, my connection rate (the number of dials that turn into a pitch or conversation) is currently running at around 1 in 5. That is, for every five numbers I dial, I get to speak to one leader of a salesteam (although on a number of occasions, such contact has amounted to “I’m in the middle of something, call me back…”).