Cold calling is being out of favour as businesses are increasingly using screening to decide which calls to answer. The most valuable people you need to contact, are those that protect themselves with layers of gatekeepers who seem to take it as a personal affront if you manage to speak to any of their charges.
Even consumers at home are beginning to use call screening technology as they are sick of being pestered to change telecoms provider or to check whether they were sold the wrong insurance.
This all makes for a hostile environment in which telephone-based sales or marketing professionals are finding it harder to communicate with their intended audience. What you think is a courtesy call or a low level demand generation exercise can easily be regarded as “nuisance calling”, “invasion of privacy” or just plain offensive with legitimate business calling becoming grouped in with spam calls.
This means that the wrong call at the wrong time can easily damage any potential business relationship.
How to stop this happening;
- Don’t call out of the blue. Ideally have some contact on email or social media beforehand. Even if this is just a message they haven’t replied to, it will at least provide some reason for the call.
- Find out a little about who you are planning to call so you can start the call with something relevant. Avoid appearing like a stalker, but focus on something about their business life.
- If you can’t find anything about the individual, make it relevant to their company to contextualise the call.
- Don’t be a robot. Try and avoid a script, or sounding scripted. A normal conversation will go a long way.
- Don’t rush to close. Follow the ebb and flow of the conversation and subtly steer it towards a natural conclusion.
- Be sure to offer an appropriate next step. Many people do not want a demo immediately after they have spoken to you for the first time. Think about what else you can offer first – e.g. an insight into the industry, a detailed case study on a similar business or something else that will help establish your credentials as an expert.
No two people are the same and every conversation is unique. Every customer interaction will be different, so don’t use a standard “one size fits all” approach.