Cold calling … we can’t avoid it. Cold emailing … it’s a task that must be completed. But, what if you could ease the pain of sending out a blanket email that results in a despondent “no,” or even worse the crickets of silence? What if you could avoid making that painful phone call that results in the awkward silence as the secretary decides whether you should be connected to the C-level executive or the intern?
Well, the truth is, if we had the definitive answers to avoiding the above scenarios this would rapidly become one of the most popular blog posts of all time. However, we don’t have a definitive answer. Instead, we have a few key pieces of advice that will make it easier for you to turn cold calls or emails into inviting scenarios.
Tip #1 — Do Your Research
Ask any writer what over 80 percent of their job is, and they will tell you that it is research. Take a page out of a writer’s thesaurus or a farmer’s almanac and discover that research is the first step to turning cold calls or emails into lukewarm introductions. Your research should take you to the following areas:
- Connecting via LinkedIn.
- Interacting via a common LinkedIn Group.
- Following the contact’s LinkedIn Company Page.
- Researching the contact’s public record, i.e. any business profile that exists or interview that they have conducted.
- Following the prospect on their professional Twitter account.
- Re-tweeting relevant tweets that can be used as conversation ice breakers.
- Reading and commenting on any relevant blog posts.
Tip #2 — Approach The Contact With The Right Order
Did you know that you can warm up the email with an initial phone call? That’s right, if your email communications are more important and vital to the sales process, then you should warm up the email with an introductory call. Use the call as:
- A chance to establish contact;
- The opportunity to gain personal or professional insights into your contact; and
- The “in” needed to determine your prospect’s top pain point.
Be sure to take detailed notes during your call, so that you can use these valuable insights during your follow-up email. Finally, within the subject line and opening paragraph, make sure that you mention the previous phone calls. Research shows that prospects are far more likely to read emails from pre-established contacts, than they are from an unknown source.
Tip #3 — Incidental Similarity Should Be Embraced
An incidental similarity is something that seems inconsequential, but is in reality a key component of your life. These similarities are things that you have in common with a stranger. For example, your incidental similarities with your prospects could be:
- The same alma mater;
- The same first or last name;
- The same hometown; or
- The same country of origin.
Incidental similarities can be used to establish trust. Once trust has been established you will be well on your way to bridging the gap between cold calling or emailing and a warm introduction that results in a meaningful business connection. While incidental similarities can help you to avoid cold calls or emails, you must remember this cautionary piece of advice, “your job is to put the prospect at ease.” The over use of incidental similarities can backfire if your prospect doesn’t find the commonalities comforting.
Tip #4 — Be Personable. Don’t Sell.
The temptation to oversell on a cold call or cold email is great. You might think to yourself, “why not,” or “what do I have to lose.” The answer to the first question is simple. You shouldn’t oversell because a) it can easily become a turnoff, and b) you never want to oversell and under deliver. The answer to the second question is also simple. You have everything to lose. When you oversell via a cold call or cold email, you have the chance of not only turning off the prospect, but also the entire company.
Instead of overselling, or selling at all, you should instead choose to be memorably personable. During a cold call or cold email it is your job to establish the beginning of a beautiful relationship. If you oversell, then your prospect will forever identify you as their contact who “is always selling”; rather than the contact who “has my best interests at heart.” By remaining personable and listening attentively to your prospects, you can successfully introduce them into your sales funnel, without turning them off to the products or services that your company has to offer.
Tip #5 — Be Confident.
This last tip goes hand in hand with the preceding tip. If you want to be memorable, and if you want to create a good relationship, make sure that you are confident. Your prospect should associate your confidence with the products or services that your business offers. In this way, you won’t be forced to preemptively sell your products before the prospect is ready to listen. Being confident is enhanced when you:
- Maintain honesty at all times;
- Tell, instead of asking;
- Create a positive first impression;
- Speak clearly and at the correct volume; and
- Avoid reading from a script.
The Bottom Line: Dreading Cold Calls Or Cold Emails Is A Thing Of The Past
The moral of this blog post is simple — by implementing any of the above tips, you can avoid the dread that is often associated with cold calls or cold emails. The more research that you conduct up front, the better you will understand your prospect, and the easier it will be for you to transform a cold call or email into a warm encounter that creates the foundation needed for a good relationship.