October 2, 2014
I’m not a huge proponent of doing extensive research prior to cold calling. In the amount of time it takes you to research 100 leads you could have called all of those leads and learned everything you needed to. In my opinion, research is often a form of procrastination or call reluctance.
I do like to be prepared for a call, and the tool I will use most often for this is LinkedIn. You can find out most of what you need to know for your call while it’s being connected and eliminate a lot of the time you spend doing pre-call work.
If you aren’t a Premium account holder, LinkedIn will still be helpful, but it does make sense to invest in an account that will give you a much larger reach, especially if you are starting with a small network.
First, set up your work environment so it’s conducive to cold calling. You will need two monitors. On one monitor, open your CRM or PSA — whereever you are tracking your activities in. Look at the company and phone number on the list, and dial the number. On the other monitor, keep a browser window with LinkedIn open.
As the call is ringing, look up the company on LinkedIn. A quick scan of their company page will provide answers the following questions:
How big is the company?
Do they have current job openings that could indicate a need for services?
How many employees are listed?
Now click on the list of all employees at the company — if you did not have a contact name, now you do.
Are you connected somehow to any of the employees on the list? LinkedIn will tell you if you have a mutual connection. If you reach the contact live, you can use that in your introduction:
“Hi Joe, it’s Carrie calling from MSPros. We (whatever you do!). I noticed today on LinkedIn we have a mutual connection. How long have you known (connection name)?”
Instead of going right for the pitch, you can have a much friendlier conversation that leads into the reason for your call. Ask if they would be comfortable with you adding them to your network and collect their email information if so. Ask for a in-person meeting at this time.
If you are not connected through any channels, you can say something like this:
“Hi Joe, it’s Carrie calling from MSPros. We (whatever you do!). I found your profile today while doing some research on LinkedIn. I would be interested in connecting with you. I’ve just now looked at your profile, so you should have no problem finding mine for a quick review of who I am and what we do. Can I send you an invite to connect?”
If they are open to it, you’ll need to ask them for their email address. Send them an invitation to connect with you, with a note asking them if there is anyone in your network they might like an introduction to. That will open the door for you to ask for introductions to their network later in your relationship, and also encourage them to spend a little time looking at your profile. I try to make only one “ask” per call. In this case, you have asked for the privilege of joining their network. After a few weeks, reach back out to this contact and ask them for the opportunity to meet with them to discuss your services.
It takes on average six touches to get a meeting scheduled. They don’t all need to be done on the phone — and when people say cold calling is dead, what they’re really saying is you need to use multiple tools to get your prospects attention. Mixing it up with tools like LinkedIn will allow you to connect with prospects in the way that they most enjoy connecting.
How many different ways do you connect with your prospects? Where are you seeing success?
Carrie Simpson is founder and CEO of Managed Sales Pros.
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