More and more business is done over the phone these days but it is surprising how unprepared many businesses and individuals are when they start telephone cold calling. If you are planning to start cold calling or want to do it better here are some hints and tips to help you.
1. Always make sure you are clear about the objective of your call before you make it. Are you calling to find out about the company, to find the right contact, to speak to a named contact or to make an appointment? Whatever you decide is the reason for your call should become your goal for that call.
2. Prepare fully before picking up the phone. If you know the objective of your call you can prepare what you will say and how you will reply to likely responses. The better you prepare the better success rate you will achieve.
3. The tone of your voice is all you have on the telephone so make sure you use it to good effect. Tone never lies! Don’t speak in a monotone or a sing song voice but try and find a balance between them and always try to be yourself. Change the tone of your voice based upon the importance of what you are telling someone. ‘Lean’ on important words or phrases and change your tone of voice when you ask someone a question.
4. Ensure you know who you need to speak to before making the call. Regardless of the department or division you need to get through to always ask to speak to the most senior person (e.g. the MD, the Operations Director, the Finance Director etc.) as you will get better results.
5. Many people struggle when speaking to receptionists. They are not trying to make life difficult for you but are doing what they have been employed to do. Therefore make them your friends not your enemies. This way you’ll get through to whoever you want to speak to quicker and more often.
6. People buy from people and that’s really important to remember when you’re talking to someone who probably gets many calls from people trying to sell them something.
7. It’s better to ask the receptionist for their help rather than telling them what you want. For example, “I wonder if you can help me please?”. When they ask how they can help say, “Could you tell me the name of the MD, Operations Director, Finance Director etc.?”.
8. When you have got the name of the person ask to speak to them. The receptionist will ask who you are so tell them your name and company name. If they ask why you are calling tell them why. Be clear, don’t waffle and avoid mumbling. Try pausing after the end of a sentence as it stops you from blabbering on! If they tell you they can’t put you through ask when it would be more convenient to call back and make a diary note to call back at the time they suggest.
9. If you can’t get through to the decision maker at all ask the receptionist for an email address. Don’t forget to ask the receptionist’s name and make a note of it and always thank them personally.
10. Always call back when you have been asked to do so and if you haven’t been given a time call back within 48 hours. When you speak to the receptionist use their name. If after three attempts you still can’t get to speak to the decision maker, send them an email then follow it up. If at first you don’t succeed try again because polite persistence is important and is all part of building a relationship.