Cold calling sucks. Everyone hates being in the middle doing ten things at once when the phone rings and some poor schmuck starts rattling off his notes asking those two bit hypothetical questions to “engage” me in a “conversation”. Do you enjoy holidays Mr. Coote? or Would you like to spend more time with your family Mr. Coote? Of course I reply – No I hate holidays and I go to work to avoid my family so what do you have to sell me schmucko?
Aaaaaand everyone hates being the cold caller. The idea of calling complete strangers and pretending to be honest and trustworthy to peddle something which they may have no desire to buy is an experience which eats away of the souls of even the most hardy among us.
The success rate of cold calling is abysmal. Depending on what you read the success rate of cold calling is between two and five percent which means for a hundred calls you may have three people who are interested to know more. Of course you all know how to calculate percentages but what you need to imagine is the time invested in calling a hundred strangers only to have at the end three of them being positive.
Even if this is still tempting for your business because you think – hey I got nothing else, I don’t know anyone and I have no contacts so why not give it a try – I’ll tell you why not. The flip side of having those precious three positive hits is that now ninety seven people are about to be pissed at your company before you have signed a contract. This is the worst negative publicity you could have. Imagine immediately annoying nintey seven percent of the people you talk to who are more likely to remember your company’s name but for all the wrong reasons.
Even lukewarm calling is better than cold calling. Ask if you can send some information before calling back. Go in person to leave some stuff and then ask when the best time to call back is. If you have nothing else do some homework for Christ’s sake. Know who to speak to if you must call at all.
Of course the best thing is to incite people to call you. Create links, partnerships, tournaments, workshops, sponsorship deals (I’m not talking about sponsoring Tiger Woods but if you have a book shop why not sponsor a kids read-a-thon or if you have a restaurant what about doing workshops with kids in the school holidays, if you have offices why not organize a painting exhibition every month etc. etc.), the list is endless in a world of ideas (Google is your friend).
It takes some imagination but motivating people to want to call you is the holy grail. Cold calling is being forced to go to Sunday school. You choose.