“Most young people have no clue how to build a conversation on the phone.”
Cold calling. Everyone hates it, but it is absolutely critical to your success as an entrepreneur. If you don’t cold call, your business will fail. Plain and simple.
I started cold calling at the very beginning of my career as a Financial Advisor. I didn’t exactly have family or friends with millions of dollars they were going to let me manage, so I was stuck with the only way I knew how to get in front of new people, calling them on the phone. This might seem like an old school way of prospecting for new business, but I’m not that old (I’m 32), and cold calling is still one of the most effective ways to get in front of new people.
Think about it. If you have any kind of business that relies on getting new business (which is all businesses), you have some type of sales process you follow. You may even have a sales team. Everyone needs to cold call for new business.
So how do you overcome the fear of calling a stranger and explaining your pitch? You just pick up the phone and do it. Seriously, there is no silver bullet or magic sauce here. There are a million excuses and only one solution: pick up the phone, dial a number, and start talking. For many in the younger generation this may seem impossible. Most young people have no clue how to build a conversation on the phone. They’ve never really done it, they’ve grown up texting and the individual phone calls are kept at a minimum. Unfortunately, if you’re a young person and want to succeed, there is no better way than getting on the phone and asking for the business. Plus, I promise you, your prospects over 30 years old all know how to talk on the phone. It’s how we grew up. I would much rather someone call me then send me an email, especially if it’s someone I don’t know. If someone sends me a “cold email”, I never respond. If someone calls me on the phone and is good enough to engage me in that way and build rapport, chances are they’ve hooked me.
Start small. Set a goal of calling 5 people a day, that’s nothing, that may only take 5 minutes. But start small. It’s a dauting task, I know. I’ve done it religiously for 14 years, my goal is 50 dials at least 3 days a week. When I’m really hitting it hard, it’s 5 days a week and between 75-100 dials. I promise you that cold calling will do more for your business development than any other activity you engage in, especially if you are in any type of professional service business. Any business really.
So how do you cold call? Other than picking up the phone and just doing it, there are a few ways you can increase your success rate. First things first, identify your target market. You don’t want to waste your time calling people that don’t want what you have to sell. Once you have that down, make a list. You can buy lists or make your own. The hardest part about cold calling is knowing what to say once you have someone on the phone. The only way to learn how to do that is by practicing. You have to get good at building rapport with people on the phone. You have to have the “gift of gab” as they say. But once you do, you will start bringing in business like you never thought possible. Just get started, that’s all there is to it.
About the Author:
Matt DiNinno is the Managing Director of DiNinno Consulting, LLC based in Redlands, California. He and his team help Small and Medium Sized Enterprises thrive. Matt spent 13 years as a licensed Financial Advisor with firms like Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch (see his FINRA Brokercheck Record here).