Posts Tagged ‘cold calls’

You Produce Videos? So Do We.

Monday, June 11th, 2012

In this line of work, there’s always a balance that has to be struck between the creativity and the administrative extremes of the business. It’s the whole right-brain-left-brain thing. You must produce good work for the client. That falls under “creative.” But you must also learn how to develop new business through networking and sales. That falls under the “business” side of things. If you have spent any time reading about selling, you have probably heard the little piece of wisdom that says to “know your target.” In other words, know who you are going after. Research those businesses. Who are they? What do they do? What do they offer? What do they like/dislike? It’s fundamental to many different arenas of life. So, I found it interesting when I received two emails this past week from the same company, offering me a particular service. And what were they offering? Video production. The email talked about how they could produce marketing videos for me and how I could increase my exposure and sales by using video. I had to write back and politely point out that I am not a good target for their services, because, you know what, I do the exact same thing. Know your audience. Take the time to do the research. It lends credibility to you, because it shows your potential customer/client that you respect them and their time.

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Take ‘No’ For An Answer

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
139/365 - Cold calling

Image by AdamBindslev via Flickr

Lead generation is tough, especially for business owners in a creative field. When the economy is bad and money is scarce, marketing and advertising budgets are the first to be cut. However, in a previous post, I pointed out how businesses who continue to spend on advertising and marketing during a recession are in a better position than their competitors once the recession ends.

However, not everyone will follow this line of thought, which means that in every business life cycle, there will come a time when you must invest time in finding new business. Now, there are a myriad of blogs, articles, books, white papers, podcasts, etc. that give advice on how to earn new business. Some people are firmly against cold calling (like Frank Rumbauska’s book Never Cold Call Again). Others feel that it’s a necessary part of doing business, so you need to know how to do it right.

I really enjoyed Rumbauska’s book and the creative strategies he recommends for earning new clients and customers. In fact, I employ many different strategies of attracting qualified leads. This blog is one example. However, I have spent time cold calling as well. I see cold calling as simply another tool among many lead generation tools. Is it the best tool? Probably not. I understand that there are better methods out there. I realize that ultimately, a referral from an existing client makes a bigger impact than a cold call. However, if you find yourself having to cold call for new clients, here is some advise I would give:

  1. CONDUCT SOME RESEARCH. Before you even start cold calling, it’s a good idea to narrow your focus. Don’t just open the yellow pages and start with “A.” Determine which businesses might benefit the most from the services you have to offer. Start there.
  2. USE SOCIAL MEDIA. As part of your initial research, it would be helpful to hit up your friends on Facebook or LinkedIn. Tell them, “Hey, I’m a video producer who has done a lot of work for manufacturers and I’m looking for some introductions to other manufacturing facilities. If you have a contact with anyone in manufacturing, I’d appreciate an introduction.” Having a foot in the door before you make that first call is a big step in the right direction.
  3. DETERMINE WHO YOU NEED TO SPEAK WITH. This point ties in with point #2, but it’s helpful if you already have the name of the decision-maker before you call. That way, when someone answers the phone, you can say, “May I speak with Glenn, please?”  Search the company’s website. If you are in video production, see if you can find the marketing director, or communications director, or director of development. Those people are probably more qualified to talk with you about your services than the bookkeeper or receptionist.
  4. DON’T READ FROM A SCRIPT. It’s easy to spot a sales call when the caller immediately jumps in with a rehearsed, “Hi, my name is Art Vandelay and I am with Kray-merica Indsutries.” Know what you want to say without looking at notes. Be conversational in tone.
  5. GET TO THE POINT, AND QUICK. Cold calls interrupt a person’s daily routine. They don’t want to chit-chat. They want to get you off the phone as quickly as possible. I once received a sales call from an individual who started off with a joke – and a bad one, at that. However, “Get to the point,” doesn’t mean talk faster. Slow down and speak clearly. Tell them exactly why you are calling.
  6. TAKE “NO” FOR AN ANSWER. Nothing is more irritating than a salesperson who simply won’t get off the phone when you say, “No thanks.” So, anytime someone tells me that they aren’t in the market for my services, I politely say “Thank you,” hang up, and move on. You don’t want to get on someone’s bad side right off the bat. Alternatively, I might ask, “Well, would it be okay if I emailed you my contact information for future reference?” The point is, don’t be pushy, and don’t get offended if they say “no.” Sometimes finding someone who will say “Yes” is the result of contacting someone at just the right time.
  7. KEEP TRACK OF WHO YOU HAVE ALREADY CALLED. It can be a little awkward, not to mention aggravating for your prospective lead, if you accidentally call the same company twice. So, be sure to keep up with who you called and who you haven’t called.
  8. BE POSITIVE. It can really get discouraging when you have spent several hours making calls without one “Yes” to show for it, but an apathetic attitude can affect the tone of your voice while you’re speaking to a prospective lead. People can tell if you care about what you’re saying, so keep the tone of your conversation warm and friendly.

Yes, cold calling can take up a lot of your time, and you might not have a lot to show for your efforts at first. However, just two or three clients gained through cold calling can grow exponentially if those clients tell others about your services and introduce you to others in their network.

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