Even if we live in highly technological times, the old fashioned way of making calls to acquire potential clients and customers still work. In order to drum up business, you still need to have that personal connection with a prospective client, business partner, or customer. The best way to make that personal connection is by placing calls, which is also called cold calling.
However, just because the term involves the word ‘cold’ does not mean that that should be the nature of your conversation. In fact, the flow of the call should be warm, friendly and interesting. If you would like to earn the trust of the person on the other line, you have to look for something that will connect the two of you – and this is where research comes in.
How do I Research Potential Clients?
Let’s say that you are a freelance writer and you just moved in a new state where you do not know anybody. You may have regular clients, but you still need to acquire additional ones to increase your income. Cold calling is the best way to offer your freelancing services to the local businesses in the area where you moved.
You pick up the yellow pages or go online and make a list of clients who might be interested with what you have to offer. But once you pick up the phone and start dialling, what are you supposed to say? How can you make that connection to prolong the conversation, and make the person on the other line interested with your offer?
For the call itself, you can have a script where you introduce yourself and tell the person on the other line about what the call is. Say “My name is John and I’m calling to see if you have a need for a professional writer to help with advertising, copy or marketing material?” You can say this outright if a person answered. If a machine answers, you should also leave your phone number, website or e-mail address.
If you’re lucky enough not to get answered by a machine, you need to have your researched material as extra weapon. Google the local business you’re calling so that you would know if they could use the services that you have to offer. You can also visit sites like LinkedIn or Mool.com where you can search for information about the business, or view clips from local and national media outlets. The material that your research will bring up will help you establish that personal connection with the person on the other line.
If you find that personal connection, you can also use that to your advantage and be surprised at the rate of call backs that you will get. More importantly, instead of selling your services right away, ask a few questions about their business and make it all about them instead of about you.
After all, you are selling your services and it is you who can do something for the potential client. By doing your research beforehand, you can find that common ground between you and the person you’re calling. Before you hang up, you are bound to establish that connection and hopefully get a yes to whatever it is that you are offering as a business.