Cold calling has different meanings in different businesses, but for B2B Lead Generation, cold calling is the art and the science of using the telephone to introduce a helpful, relevant, new idea to a company or contact with whom you have not worked in the past.
The degree of pre-call preparation will vary and how much to prepare for a call is a tough question, especially for new reps. You need to have a reason to believe you can offer value to the lucky person on the other end of the phone. On the other hand many of the reps I have worked with over the years will over-prepare for a call, given the low probability of making the connection on any one attempt. Over preparation is often ego based. If you connect, use the opportunity to set a meeting – nothing more. The first call opens the door. It doesn’t close the sale- that won’t happen until a lot of questions on both sides have been asked and answered – the magic of a dialogue.
There is a middle ground that recognizes the need to offer value, the advantage of covering as much ground as possible and respect for everyone’s time. Work with lists of similar companies who are likely facing similar issues. Craft an umbrella value proposition and create a 30-45 second summary to communicate that message and leave the door open for a follow up from you. Accept that the chance of making a live contact is pretty low. Use voicemail for the opportunity it presents as a tool to introduce you to your lists. Be honest, direct, personable and client focused. Leave your call back information. Follow up with an email that includes slightly more content. Wait a week and repeat with a different message that follows the same format.
Be respectful. Be patient. Stay client focused. Measure your results. Modify your messages. Be persistent. Expand you contacts in any organization when you don’t get a response after 8-10 attempts. Don’t be afraid to aim high! In years (and years) of selling, I’ve consistently found that it’s no more difficult to reach a VP than a Manager- and generally a lot more helpful.