Cold calling is by far my favorite tactic to grow a startup or small business.
The adrenaline and excitement you get from cold calling is unlike any other. Before the call you are freaking out, you’re stomach hurts and you’re shaking. You secure a phone call, and possibly a meeting, and when you walk-in and begin talking to the person you quickly realize—they are human just like you.
Then after it’s all done you walk out feeling like the man (or woman)! It’s such an emotional rollercoaster! In my experience, it also brings in the most prospects, clients and customers than anything else that I have tried. The best part is this: because we live in a digital age no one wants to put in the work and do it anymore!
So how can you leverage the benefits of cold calling in today’s digital age?
1. Get your pitch and objective down pat.
Before you even think about cold calling someone you need to memorize your pitch and understand your objectives. Is your objective to schedule a meeting, get their email address, or ask them to purchase your product? Know your objective.
Here’s my opening pitch to a key decision maker:
“Hi! My name is Michael Tandarich and I run a company that does marketing and branding. We’ve done work with Ferrari, Bayer, and the Nasdaq. I was wondering if we could send you an idea proposal?”
Let me break it down for you. First, I start the pitch with my name. I know there are a lot of people that say not to do this because people don’t care about hearing your name. However, I find that it brings a personal touch to the pitch.
Next, I tell them what my company does. The name of my company doesn’t matter right now because they will just forget it anyhow and it makes the pitch longer. They just need to know the main details, like what we do. I then tell them who we have worked with to reinforce credibility.
Lastly, I cut to the chase and tell them what I want.
To create your own pitch break it down like this: Share who you are, what you do, who you have done it for, and what you want. Now memorize your pitch! Get to the point where you’ve memorized it so much that it doesn’t sound like a pitch.
No one likes to be pitched to, so make sure it’s natural. A large majority of the time the prospect is open to me sending them an idea proposal after hearing my pitch. Hit me up on Snapchat if you need help with your pitch.
2. Do your research.
Before cold calling and walking into your next meeting do some research on the company and your prospect. This isn’t to say that you can’t cold call without some research, but it does give you an upper hand.
First, look into their business or company. Would they qualify to purchase your product or service? If yes, who is the key decision maker? If you are able to identify your key contact, then put their name into every major social media platform (e.g., Twitter, Instagram and especially LinkedIn). Most importantly, always be open to learning.
For example, I had a friend tell me a story about a cold call with an executive who he later met at their office. On the wall hung a painting by an artist that my friend had just learned about. He was able to strike up a conversation about that artist and it helped to break the ice with the executive.
All that being said, don’t spend too much time researching. The more time you spend not taking action the more time fear has to set in.
3. Just start cold calling, a lot.
Now that you have your pitch, objectives, and potentially some research—it’s time to go do it.
Part of the cold calling game is learning how to get past the first person, also known as the gatekeeper, and get to the decision maker. To become better at cold calling you need to just do it, a lot.
I spent a good year simply reading about how to cold call, thinking about it and perfecting my pitch. But here’s the thing! No matter how much you read about cold calling it doesn’t compare to what you learn by actually doing it.
I wasted a lot of time by not taking action and then my fear of cold calling grew even more during that year. So mess up, learn, and try again, because nothing will ever be totally perfect and you won’t ever be fully ready.
Quick Cold Calling Tips
Now that you’re ready to jump in, here are a few must-read cold calling tips to help you along the way.
Offer a concrete meeting date and time. Never say “When can you meet?” because it gives a prospect an easy way out. Instead say, “Can we meet next Tuesday at 3:30 or Wednesday at 10:00?” You have to guide the conversation.
Be agreeable. If a prospect says something like, “I don’t have the time,” or “I don’t have the money right now,” always start your response with “I completely understand, …” No one likes to feel like they are being attacked, invalidated or wrong. Always agree and then share your perspective.
Pitch more than you plan to. Let’s say you plan to pitch 10 people this week. After pitching or meeting with those people go and pitch someone new after each meeting. By doing this you can effectively double your pitch roster and those entering your sales funnel.
Dress the part. First impressions are everything! Always make sure you are dressed professionally and pay attention to the details. Not only will it give a good first impression but it will also make you feel confident.
Read books on cold calling. I personally recommend reading “Going in Cold” by Chuck Piola, also known as “The King of Cold Calling”. It is the best $20 I have ever spent.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Michael Tandarich is the founder of the TandarichGroup, a creatively driven brand agency. e enjoys exotic cars, spending time with his family, and he is always looking for new clients! Connect with @MikeTandarich on Twitter and Snapchat.