Cold-Calling: A Necessary Evil?
There are points in every work at home mum or dad’s career where work dries up a little. It might not be a permanent problem, it could be a gap between projects, but must of us still want to plug the gap with work. The most common modern ways of finding work include utilising social media, e-mail marketing and utilising content for promotion but many of us shy away from cold calling.
Many people working from home have chosen to do so because they work efficiently in isolation and the idea of needing to phone people who aren’t expecting your call can be daunting. It’s not fun but it can be extremely fruitful. If you do your research beforehand then cold calling can be highly successful and although there are other methods cold calling remains one of the most successful around. It’s much harder to say no to a living, breathing person at the end of a telephone line than your 1000th email of the day. Below we’re looking at how to make successfully cold-call in five steps.
1. Slow Down
Some people get in a spin about needing to force the sale as soon as they get on the line. This is not the case, remember you’re a stranger and therefore you need to try and connect with your potential client before forcing your product or service upon them. You could ask to arrange a meeting, offer to send a LinkedIn invite or send over your product brochure. Taking things slowly to begin with is often much more successful than aggressive sales techniques.
2. Know who you’re talking to
You can’t go into cold calling blindly. It’s OK for large corporations to phone just anybody but self-employed parents, at least those running their own sole trader or very small businesses, need to research. You may be put through initially to an administrative assistant or secretary and this is where you need to employ your slowing down techniques. Try to arrange a meeting with the person at the company you really want to speak to. LinkedIn is once again useful for this and you know then when you do speak to a receptionist perhaps, you can ask for the person you really want to speak to.
3. Who are you going to call?
This is another integral part of your research stage. You need to make a shortlist of only the companies you really want to work with before you start phoning. You need to ensure you genuinely believe you have something you can bring to their company. You may even have seen they are advertising for full-time staff and want to pitch in with the idea of using an outsourced freelancer as an alternative.
4. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
There’s nothing worse than not knowing what to say when you’re the one who has initiated contact. You need a contingency plan for if things go off your prepared lines, as is very likely to happen. You don’t want to sound scripted but equally large gaps can sound incompetent. Make sure you have all relevant information such a price lists, website details and anything else they may need to hand. Have their company website open so if you get asked the dread ‘What do you know about us?’ then you are prepped to at least share the basics.
5. Track your Success
Log the results of every call you make. Whether it’s an out and out ‘no’ or a ‘maybe’ then you should make sure you’ve got it recorded. It helps for future reference in case you run into the companies in future work. Keeping records will also help you refine your technique and if you try something different and it works you can note that too.
The Argument Against
Cold calling isn’t for everyone and some freelancers and work at home mums and dads would argue that it reflects badly on their business. Calling local companies and fishing for work can give the impression that you’re not particularly busy and therefore there must be a reason for this. Others will argue the time investment in cold callings is too high but if you’re experiencing a dry spell then it may be you’ve got nothing better to do.
Cold calling isn’t something many people are comfortable with but it can have a seriously positive on your business. Of course there’s also the ongoing battle with actually managing to get through a phone call with the children present but we’ve already looked at some coping mechanisms for that!