How Should I Make Cold Calls?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

12 September, 2008

Salesperson making cold callsI received a question recently from “J” who asked how he should go about making some cold calls.

His email was quite lengthy so I’ve copied it below along with my thoughts:

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Hi Sean,

I’m just about to start a call out to follow up a mailshot we sent our recently.

The mailshot I sent out was just a brief introduction of our product and name dropped a few of our existing customers.

We sell cashless catering solutions for schools and bookings and lettings software for their rooms and sports halls for conferences and adult education and community learning. Our software will also link with other applications so the students who have a card or biometric fingerprint to access and pay for their school lunch, can use the same method of identification to work with access control systems, school library systems, registration systems. We also link our software with online payment systems which allow parent to load money onto their child’s lunch account but also to pay for school trips online, library fines, uniform, music lessons, anything the school charge for really.

We have some very high profile schools and academy’s currently using the system and our other market is in sports and leisure and we have over 400 sports and leisure clubs across the UK and Ireland.

The main benefits to our cashless catering system are

Reduced administration costs
increased information is available to the school through our complete EPOS system
De stigmatisation for the kids who receive free school meals as its offered discreetly.
No bullying for money within school as it creates a cashless environment.
Healthy eating rewards for students.
Increased turnover as all money given by parent must be spent in school not on junk food down high street.

Basically this is our product in a nutshell but I wondered how best your thought I go about calling the schools.

Unfortunately the mailshot was only addressed to the Business manager at the school and isn’t personalised.

Salesperson making cold callsHow do you suggest I get there name from reception and talk to them after such a cold calling mailshot?

What would be your advice when speaking to them. Ideally we want to go out and demonstrate the system to those schools that are interested.

I would appreciate any help or advise you could give me. I’ve only been in this job for 6 months so I want to continue to impress. My background was retail management before I moved here.

Thanks

“J”

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OK, here are my thoughts on this…

I’ve highlighted 3 of your comments below with my thoughts underneath.

I’m not going to give you some cold calling tips per se because what you’ve just told me has just reduced your chances of success by about 90% before you even pick up the telephone!

“Unfortunately the mailshot was only addressed to the Business manager at the school and isn’t personalised”

You are selling to schools and this is probably one of the biggest school errors you can make!

I really mean that.

Do you know what the first objective a direct mailer is?

Nope, it’s not for you to tell them about your wares. It’s not for brand awareness either.

It’s to get the envelope opened!

That’s it in a nutshell – your first objective of your direct mail piece is to get your letter opened.

Now by addressing it to “The Business Manager” I’ll bet that the gatekeepers or PA’s at the schools etc will throw away between 50-60% purely because you have not addressed it to someone and have classed it as junk.

So that cuts your chances down by half before you even start – you don’t make it easy for yourself do you?!!!

You are also putting your trust in others who sort the mail. “Business Manager – who should this go to?” says the admin bod. So another 10% are routed to the wrong person who duly throws it in the bin too.

Then, for the remaining 40% who receive it, because of the lack of personalisation I would say another 30% just glance over it, see that it’s a sales jobs and throw it in the bin.

That leaves 10% tops that may or may not see your message and who might be interested.

But then, because your mailing sales copy is not good they don’t read any further.

Your most important copy in your mailing is your headline. Because this will “sell” them to read the rest of the mailing.

You might want to think about your mailing strategy!!!!

Now I may sound a little harsh here but so many cold calling campaigns fail before they even start because of this. You need to give yourself a chance to succeed!

How do you suggest I get their name from reception and talk to them after such a cold calling mailshot?

You need to do some pre-qualification before your mailings. Call up the receptionist and ask for the person’s name and then add that to your database before the mailing. At that stage try to get the telephone number too. Then after the direct mailer is delivered you can call them directly.

Another good approach is to put the following in your direct mail piece:

“I’ll call you in a couple of days to get your feedback as to whether this will be of value to you”

Then, when you call the receptionist and ask to be put through to your contact you say “He’s expecting my call” Because he is! You said it in your mailing didn’t you?!

What would be your advice when speaking to them. Ideally we want to go out and demonstrate the system to those schools that are interested.

Don’t sell your product or service just sell the appointment – simple as that.

There is a lot more about setting up appointments here

Happy Cold Calling! There’s far more to it than just making calls!

Sean

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

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