In the world of business, contacting a prospective client is an essential part of expansion and growth. Unfortunately, the process of cold calling is rarely an easy one. If you’ve ever been on the other end of a cold call from a business, your first instinct was likely to end the call as swiftly and politely as possible—it’s incredibly hard to win over prospective customers if they’ve already decided they’d rather not be talking to you.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common mistakes people make when soliciting potential new clients—along with some alternate methods that may actually work for you.
1. Don’t ask run-of-the-mill marketing questions
Many businesses follow a familiar format for all of their cold calls, in which they ask a series of cookie-cutter marketing questions. While you may think that questions like, “What are your business goals?” and “What’s the biggest challenge your business is facing?” will open up the conversation with your potential client, in reality, these questions tend to be counterproductive.
Remember, when you make cold calls or send unsolicited emails, you are contacting someone you don’t know—by asking them questions, you are putting the onus on them to keep up the conversation. In fact, you are making the conversation more challenging for them, which will instantly make them want nothing more than to get off the call! Plus, these run of the mill questions are, quite frankly, a little dull and cliched. By asking them, you’ll only demonstrate that your business is somewhat lacking in innovation and creative thought!
2. Contact the right people
Many businesses make the mistake of creating a list of prospective clients that is too long. While you may think that a long list will give you more chances to find new customers, it’s usually only a waste of time and money. In reality, only a small fraction of the prospects on your list will be interested in your business—and usually, it’s easy to determine who these prospects are.
Instead of thoughtlessly compiling a long list of people to contact, use your time more efficiently and intelligently, by doing a little extra research to find out if the prospective client is really worth contacting in the first place. By whittling down your list before you make calls and send emails, you’ll save plenty of time, energy, and money.
3. Train your cold callers
If you have a team of cold callers, make sure they are well trained and well informed. Callers should know your business inside and out. When they need to win over a prospective client who is on the fence, they will be able to use their in-depth knowledge of products and services to explain why your business is worth the investment.
It’s also important to ensure that your team of cold callers isn’t motivated by meaningless conversion numbers. Many businesses think that they should offer incentives for each marketing opt-in and each “maybe.”, however, these incentives will often create a workforce of cold callers who are aiming to get a quick email address or a hesitant maybe, instead of a workforce who are aiming to give prospective customers a detailed, thought-through call.
4. Don’t expect an immediate business relationship
If you are making calls and sending emails to potential customers in the hopes of making a sale in the first few exchanges, you may benefit from reassessing your timeline. In fact, you don’t even need to bring it up! Instead of immediately trying to convert new clients, use your first few exchanges to give something of value to the prospective client. Think of the first communication as a means of establishing a connection and a relationship with the prospective client, upon which you’ll later be able to build towards deriving more value for your business.
5. Avoid annoying follow-up calls and emails
While the follow-up call or email is an essential marketing concept, be careful not to overdo it. Schedule follow-ups a week or two after the first communication is made. Make sure the follow-up call, email, or card is friendly, brief, and offers substantial informative information. There’s nothing worse than following up without a clear plan of how you want the conversation to proceed from there, so prepare before the call.
Written material can often be effective because it’s repeatable and doesn’t rely on your phone skills. A greeting card thanking them for their time and giving them your number may be all it takes to make your next sale!
When it comes to prospective customer marketing, don’t be the businesses that make the same common mistakes. Remember to spend some time planning cold calls to potential customers so that your first communication is helpful, engaging, and intriguing, rather than off-putting. By implementing some of these tips, you’ll immediately increase your chances of converting new customers and making client relationships that may last for years to come.