Thoughts from @jeremyjacobs. London UK.
For the second time in a few days, I received an unprofessional telephone cold call. The caller, who was a rather meek sounding young woman, represented The Daily Telegraph and was offering a cut-price deal for the next few months. Her opening question was, in my opinion, wrong. She said, “Is that Mr. Jacobs”? to which I could have replied in a negative or abrupt manner. I had no idea what she wanted, who she represented and what her call was about. A good minute was wasted before I established the purpose of her interruption at 7.45pm on a weekday evening.
You see, not only have you got to sound professional but you must open correctly. Cold-calling requires you to be very clear about the purpose of your call. So my cold-calling tip is this – the young lady concerned should have opened with “Mr Jacobs please” in a confident manner. I almost certainly would have responded with “Yes, what’s it about”? then the path would have been open for her to deliver her message or product proposition.
The Follow Up Telephone Call
A week or so after a networking meeting or other social engagement, you may want to call back a potential business contact. The prospect is one you’ve had an “Aha” moment and whose details you’ve carefully noted down. You’ll probably get his secretary or P.A. who’ll say: “Does he know what’s its about”? at which point you must say something like this: “Yes, we met each other at the networking event last week in Oxford, and he asked me to call him today”. (Naturally, you will have asked permission to call him at the event). At that point, hopefully, you’ll be put through by the gatekeeper and you can pick up where you left off a week or so earlier.
If you’re approach is more “cold” (many businesses send out personalised marketing material prior to a cold-calling campaign) then bear these points in mind.
1. Explain the reason for your call and that you are following up on a mailing. Whatever you do, don’t ask them if they’ve received the information, otherwise you may get a firm “NO” and with it great embarrassment. Simply give a very short overview of your company and what you do and how you could help them. Add pieces about their own company and why literature was sent to them in the first instance.
2. If the prospect starts to ask leading questions, then book an appointment. If they baulk at the idea, simply explain that in order to answer their questions, you would need to know more about their business.
3. Always, always offer alternative times and dates and don’t ask them what date would be good for them as it is likely that no date is good for them. Remember they are very busy people.