“In order to communicate effectively, one must know what is worth knowing and what is worth saying...and the difference between the two.”

—James Halloran

How To Cold Call

Rarely does it happen that a business starts up with a ready-made clientele and the phone ringing off the hook. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to do some sales and legwork to recruit customers and sell them on why they should do business with you. Having experience in this field, we have a few tips for you.

Do some research before the call. This will have the effect of turning a “cold” call into a “warm” call. You don’t have to stalk your potential customer or hire a private detective. It can be as simple as reading their website, getting a referral from a third party, mentioning a mutual acquaintance or discovering someone or something you have in common. Find that personal touch to get you a ‘toe in the door’ instead of being an annoying interruption.

Something else that can help is an actual premise or excuse to call, beyond ‘”I want you to consider using my business the next time you require my expertise.” Perhaps you’ve gone to the same conference, have a mutual business, person, or interest in common, maybe a similar business or philosophical goal. But look for a “hook” that will interest the person and establish some rapport or trust, a reason to remember you and consider working together in the future.

After making the call to the best of your ability — and feel free to make a script or notes of some kind if you’re nervous or afraid of blanking out, even to practice alone or with a trusted supportive friend or family member — make sure you follow up on the call at a later date.

And don’t forget to ask for leads or referrals, while you’re at it. While every call may not lead directly to work, it may provide an indirect but invaluable lead and get your name out there.

Be sure to have a standard sales message you can deliver to a potential client. Target your market and talk to the people who make decisions, people with the power to move things forward.