In addition to sending emails... they should be in Arial text only and in a 10 pt font because it is that much easier for your prospect to view on a BlackBerry/PDA/SmartPhone.
In addition and as first step: a good way to increase the rate of your prospect taking your cold call is to send him/her a dimensional mail package first, well crafted to get their attention and interest. When you make the call you ask if they received the package and the doors are open, a conversation has gotten started, the chances of you getting that appointment increase tremendously. The rest is up to you.
When making cold calls I usually direct mail a letter that is brief and to the point that leads the prospect to know I understand there business and I have value to provide. When I call, my first statement is “I sent you a correspondence and did not hear back from you. I as concerned you did not have a chance to read my letter or it was discarded and it never made it to your desk." The typical response is I did not see it or what was it about. Both comments open the door to a conversation.
@ Al. Thanks for posting. I have 2 questions for you.
1. What response rate do you get to the actual letters?
2. Do you think an email would work just as well?
Sending a package rather than a letter will cut to the clutter and when you call the person they do remember, which increases the chances of getting an appointment, we get about 70% appointments when doing this. We recently did mouse pads cut in pieces shaped as a puzzle, we kept one piece and enclosed a letter offering to bring the missing piece if they gave us the chance to present our services to them. The promotion well paid for itself! If you'd like to see a sample of this piece send me an email and I'll gladly send you a picture.
@ Gloria. What a great idea! Now I have 2 questions for you.
1. How much does something like that cost in a cost per lead ratio? Ballpark pricing of course.
2. Any ideas on how to translate that same strategy into something that could work for inside sales?
I would just add that when I was in telesales we were given a rule: You've got 12 seconds to grab their attention. If you can't make it meaningful by then, you've lost the sale. Too often people go into call ill-prepared to make their message relevant from the first word that leaves their lips.
It is likely that at some point you will have to pick up the phone and attempt to convince strangers of the strength of your product or service. It’s a business fact of life, but inevitably, so is getting rejected – cold calling gets around a 5% success rate if done very well - so the most important thing to do is develop a thick skin.
Cold calling is not all about making an instant sale. It can often be used for gathering information, or trying to arrange a meeting, so launching straight in with the breathless description of your product may not be the right approach. Calling to confirm names, titles and contact details can be a good way to start. You get information confirmed, and you might be able to take it further.
If cold calling isn’t something that comes naturally, then consider a script. But be very careful - sounding like you’re reading from a piece of paper is off-putting to the person on the other end of the line, as you probably know from being cold called yourself. Perhaps a better way of using a script is to remind you of the points you need to make, rather than be a word for word recital tool. You have to be able to be flexible, and listen to the needs of the person you’re calling.
You will get people who put the phone down straight away (don’t you do that occasionally?) but don’t be scared of this outcome or let it get to you when it does happen. It’s not personal. Keep calm and smile, and this will come though in your voice and make people more receptive. Monitor your success rate and attempt to strategically perfect your approach.
If you ask for information by using open questions, and keep your voice friendly and inquisitive, you’re more likely to get people’s interest. The aggressive sale usually won’t work in this context because people are so wary of cold calls.
Offer meeting times if it looks like you won’t be able to make a sale, and confirm in writing.
Like Bruce, I've been in the telemarketing sales
industry. I do cold calling to gain <a href="http://sevensis.com.au/SEO_Leads.html>SEO leads. I keep track of my potential customers, call them or email them until I finally close the deal with them.