The struggle of cold calling is real! No one likes to pick up the phone and call a stranger, or drop in on them to pitch your services. It will never be fun, but there are at least some things that you can do to be better prepared as well as speed it up.
Yesterday I went out and stopped in to local designers and architectural firms to start getting my name out there. I feel that, in hind sight, things could have went better.
Taking what I learned by fumbling through it the hard way, I created 6 steps that you should keep in mind when you are ready to hit the streets or pick up the phone. Read on or CLICK HERE to grab the bonus infographic that lists these steps so you can be sure to not skip a step when making your sales calls.
Plan ahead– I was driving all over. Saves time, and helps get it over with. The goal is to get through it before you get worn down and walk in looking defeated. This goes for calling too. Once you are in the zone of talking to people and confidence is up, you don’t want to have to stop and decide who the next call is going to be to.
Research– Find out as much as you can about the business before you drop in on them. First impressions are everything so don’t act surprised by what you see when you walk in, or get them on the phone. Know what the business does and what they specialize in.
Practice– Practice may not exactly make you perfect but it does help. Build your confidence by practicing what you will say in the first 15 seconds of the introduction. Get used to what you sound like. Confidence is a major selling point. Lack of confidence can come across that you doubt your own abilities. We know this isn’t true. We just hate cold calling… but their opinions are the ones that matter, so practice projecting confidence in what you say and how you carry yourself.
Connect personally– Your research won’t tell you everything but if you are observant then you can pick up on areas that you can relate with them and make a personal connection.
Kids, pets, hobbies, where you grew up…. it could be anything. It helps them feel like they know you a little, which means they will be more likely to trust you.
Listen first– Be sure to not just give a speech about yourself. Choose what you say and how you move forward by first listening to them. Engage them about their business and learn about their customers. Them becoming your customer is directly affected by what value you bring to THEIR customers.
Keep Records– Keep records of everything. Know who you called or who you met in person. You’ll want to know when you talked with them, as well as any important details that you learned about them or their business. Sales people make notes on anything that can help deepen their connection with them during any future interactions. For example if you learn someones favorite football team, that they are going to Europe on vacation next summer, and that their oldest is about to graduate high school, you’ll want to keep that information on hand. Why? Lets say football season starts… you now have a reason to reach out and talk about their team. You realize it’s september and your potential client went on their vacation 2 weeks ago, this calls for a follow up to learn about Europe and to see how it went. Do you see what I am talking about? How about a personal card congratulating their kid for graduating? If you do it right, they could be begging you to take their money now that you all are “friends”.
If you are ready to start planning out your day of sales then be sure to grab this PDF to keep you on track. CLICK HERE for bonus content! When the calls are done, take a break… you deserve it!
Welcome to Smart Tradesmen. The show dedicated to bringing Entrepreneurship into small business. Whether you are a seasoned business owner or just starting out, it is our mission to help you design a business that works for you… and not the other way around. Now, here’s your host Daniel Eric Bowling.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] Hi welcome to today’s episodes of Smart Tradesmen. I am your host Daniel Eric Bowling, I am very excited for you to join me for yet another episode of this amazing podcast I can only say that because I have the best listeners in the world, so thank you so much for joining me once again. In the last episode, I told you how l decided and I am going to start on clients, and I hit the streets trying to drum up some business. So I will tell you today how that went. Just in case you are wondering nothing has changed, still not a fan of having to go out there and do the cold calling and talking to people that don’t know who I am. I got to tell you really make me realize how connected I was in Cincinnatti. That I had people knew who I was for the job that I did and they never really had to make calls to get more work. I got to admit I kind of took it for granted that I should just always have work but coming into a new city I did realize I have to get my name out there somehow. I have just been dreading doing it. My biggest take away from all of this is if you need work , the quickest way to drum up new business is with your existing client. Before you’re are worried about how can you start reaching people that you are not servicing currently. Look at your current clients and see how you can better service them? I bet you are leaving some work on the table. If you reach out to them and you that you have an opening chances are they will find work to fill that opening so before you get so caught up on and cold calling make sure that you are not leaving any money on the table with the people that already know that I can trust you. When you already to move on to cold calling and reaching people that don’t know who you are, especially if you just starting out in a new city like I am, then today’s episode is for you.
Yesterday I went out for a few hours, probably about 4 and just stopped in a local designers and architectural firms I was trying to target people that is similar to my old clientele in Cincinnatti. A lot of what I am going to talk about today I didn’t exactly apply myself, I came up with some guidelines to help you base up of on everything I did wrong, but first thing I want to tell you is you need to plan head. I did not have a plan. I jutted down some names from Google people that I want to talk to while I was out and just figured since I have a smart phone, I can find other people on the go. That was all well and good except for with no clear plan. If you saw a map of where I drove it was lot of friend crawlers crisscrossing going on. Colombia, fortunately I guess and also unfortunately, but fortunately for myself yesterday it is not very big. This leaves me concerned for how much work there actually is here. But as far as the driving around with no plan at least Columbia is not that big in that aspect. I do believe though with a better plan I could have found more potential clients. I really got burned out and fatigued and I just didn’t see the sense in trying to fake it because I would just walk in and look defeated before I even started because mentally I can only handle a few hours of it. So with a better plan in place I think I could have hit more places and kept my confidence level up throughout each level up throughout every stop that I was at. So the goal here is to hit as many places or make as many phone calls as you can before mentally you tap out.
Step no.1 Get your plan together and while you are getting your plan together, you got a list of people you are going to call. Next step, research anything that you can find out to give you the upper hand you should do that a head of time so you are not going into these in an awkward “you have no idea what you’re talking about” kind of way. What I am saying is find out about their business as much as you can so that you can make a first impression so you can know exactly how you can help their business. So you don’t act surprise when you walk in and they kind of give you a curve ball or you get them on the phone and you don’t freeze up because you don’t know what to say. Have a plan in place because you do your research, know what they do, know who you’re talking to, and when your researching if you can find out anything about them personally. But the small enough company you already know how you can possibly make a personal connection. When your research is done, you have a game plan to move forward, you have your head around what you want to say and where you are going to go, Step no.3 is to practice, go over it in your head over and over again but also say it out loud. It may sound silly but if you are going to sound confident you need to comfortable with your own voice. So be ready to say what you are going to say, you are not going to know everything that comes up but at least your approach the first impression is going to come across confident and you are not going to be doubt. You’re own words because you are used to hearing yourself saying anything out loud. So you have to go over it in your head but stand in front of a mirror watch yourself speak, see how you carry yourself practice these things. If you have a tape recorder or your phone, if you have a smart phone you will be able to record audio in the notes or something. Record yourself, do some practice calls even get a friend or loved one to be at the other end of the call. Record yourself and see how you are coming across, all of these things will really help you because let’s face it we are not by nature sales men. We are creators, we make cool ship but we don’t know how to sell it. So do yourself a favor and practice that skills set a little bit before you go out there and just come back running and stick your head in the sand. We have planned ahead, we have researched, we have practiced, we are ready to go but all these steps so far can’t prepare you for everything so you have to be prepared to be observant. Step no.4 is connect personally you have to be able to think on the go, yeah if you know something of them going into it use that to connect with them. But be very observant if they have kids, if they drive a certain type of car, then you drive the same car and you are from the same town. Do anything you can to make a personal connection, don’t jump straight into the sale of what you can do for them because when people make a personal connection they will be more likely to trust you and give you their business. Be on the lookout for things do they have kids, pets, hobbies, where they grew up, what they drive and the places where they like to eat in the city anything could be help full. Don’t be a fake about it but if you really can make a personal connection and sound educated about the topic that you are trying to connect with them, then do so. But if you don’t know shit about football and you are trying to force a connection with football, then it is going to come across fake. I am not a sports fan, why? I like sports but I don’t follow sports enough to talk about it. Like to sound intelligent about sports so sports wouldn’t be my go to but I know many people out there who love sports and can tell you everything about sports. So maybe your sports knowledge won’t come across and make you look like an idiot, maybe it can make you sound intelligent and confident in a subject. That confidence will be directly related to the confidence in your work even though has nothing to do with each other; confidence across the board will help you make a sale. In connecting personally with them make it about them because you are going to take that on into step no. 5 – is you are going to listen first before you just tell them everything about yourself, what you have to offer and how you are going to make their lives better. Find out what they need and who they are and how you can actually help them before you going to this sales speech because if you do right it doesn’t sound like a sales call. Or it doesn’t sound like you’re only wanting a relationship with them if you are selling to them right this second. You are trying to develop a relationship to where they will keep you in mind in the future when they need your services. Coz not everybody who wants what you have right this second, look at everybody as a potential client if not now in the future or they know somebody who is. So focus on building that relationship by listening first. I know a lot of us creative people are in relationships in our personal lives, then we get blamed for not listening because we are going a million miles a minute when we think we are on the next subject. And it is not that we are not listening, we are just all over the place. Information overloaded and if that’s you, this is going to be a time you are really going to focus on shutting up and turning off your thoughts for just a second and really taking in what they are saying. Because you are going to need to pull from this information immediately so you can make that personal connection. Sitting there quietly is not listening. You have to actually listen, I think I am stressing this one so much because there is so many people that confuse letting somebody talk to listening. You have to absorb what they are saying, and not just sit there waiting for your turn to talk, I believe those 5 steps so far, now on to the 6th step. The 6 one is kind of a big on because if you don’t do this one nothing else matters, you need to measure and track everything. Record, you need to record everything, you need to know when you talk to them, where you talk to them. Was it on the phone? Did you leave a voice mail or did you personally reach them? Did you stop into their shop or their place of business and actually talk to the owner or did you talk to the secretary to need to follow up. Make notes on all the details like that, but it goes beyond that. Good sales people make personal connections, they remember things about you and it comes with practice. We are not sales people, we have established that so we have to be really focus on this. Sales people even have programs that keep track of contacts and all the information about the contacts but the more you know about them personally the better your connection when you call them in 6 months and follow up. Or you need to ask them a favor to connect you to somebody else or you are just looking to grow your sales but they had not bought from you yet. Anything that you know about them personally will give you the upper hand. I know from experience doesn’t matter how many times you tell yourself, you are going to remember all these details or even a single detail about somebody. You are going to forget you are lying to yourself, so things like what’s your favorite football team. Their kid is about to graduate from high school or let’s say they’re going into summer to a vacation in Europe. Why do these things matter? Because let’s say 3 months from now football season starts, you are looking to call them up and find out if they want to buy from you or hire you to do your services. That’s a sales call but if you can call and lead with, “hey I saw your team was doing good last week, wanted to congratulate you” or whatever because I already establish them I don’t know much about football. So whatever somebody who knows football would say and then lead into I have an opening blah blah blah. Sounds differently then, “hey I’m panicking because I have no work next week, can you please send work my way.” It sounds a lot different when your conversation starts in the personal connection mode. Or let’s say it’s graduation tim, you don’t need exactly the work right now but who is going to turn away work any opportunity to sell yourself and get more work is always a good one. So personally send their kid a graduation card if you know where they live or if that’s appropriate. That may not always be appropriate but let’s say they are also in a small business and they would appreciate you reaching out on a personal level and congratulating them or their kid or somebody for something because you made a note that, that’s going to happen at a certain date. That gives you a hard date an excuse to follow up or they get back from their Europe vacation and you reach out because you saw pictures of them on social media and you say it looks like fun. I want to hear about what Europe was like there is no sales call there. But the wheels are in motion for you to get a sale eventually.
Those are you 6 steps to cold calling customers, if you go through these steps and you don’t skip any you should be alright. It will at least give you the upper hand. Did I do all these? No, I am not even sure if I did any of them. But I learned the hard way and now I am telling you what I learned. I know it’s hard no matter what to force yourself to do this step for our business. To go and meet with people that don’t know us is never going to be easy for us. So that being said I too will also make an effort to do the cold calling with these steps in the future because I believe based on what I did yesterday. That this a much better way to go about it, if this is something that you struggle with as well I want to give you a little bonus for this episode. If you go to www.smartradesmen.com/ccc 3c’s for cold calling customers, you can grab an info graphic that I created with these steps so that when you sit down to plan out the next day of cold calling you customers and try to draw up new business. You can pull up this info graphic and it will allow you to not skip any step. It’s very simplified and very straight forward. I don’t think you will need anything else other than this one info graphic to keep you on track and allow you to just worry about to making the call and not fear skipping any steps. So again go to www.smarttradesmen.com/ccc I hope this episode on cold calling and sales is really going to help you into your business. If you are not currently picking up the phone or making stops and giving out business cards, you need to. Having something that you are struggling with I am here to help so reach out to me as always. I am more than happy to connect and help you through getting unstuck. This episode may be over but your journey is just beginning go on over to www.smarttradesman.com/ccc grab your info graphic to keep you on track when you are making the sales calls and good luck into everything that you do. I will see you in the next episode. I am out of here. See ya.