Do you hate cold calling?
Does the thought of picking up the telephone to call a potential client you’ve never spoken to before fill you with terror?
If so, you’re not alone. Most of us hate the thought of picking up a ‘phone and trying to “sell” to a stranger.
Done correctly, however, and cold calling can be an important weapon in the sales arsenal of any IT Solution Provider or Managed Service Provider. So, how can you make those cold calls just that little bit easier?
Here are 3 tips to help you to pick up the ‘phone and make those cold calls successfully.
How many times have you been cold called and the caller has irritatingly told you “Don’t worry, this isn’t a sales call?” before they talk continuously and try to sell to you? How much do you trust that caller and how quickly do you look for an opportunity to get them off the ‘phone?
Don’t be that person. Try be honest in your cold calls and ask for permission to talk to them - people are much more receptive when you’re upfront and you set their expectations correctly.
For instance, instead of cold calling someone and opening with “Hi, this is Richard at XYZ MSP. May I take a moment of your time?” why not try “Hi, this is Richard at XYZ MSP. This is a cold call. I’m know you’re really busy, so would you mind if I took 20 seconds to tell you why I’m ringing and you can decide whether we should continue talking or not?”
It’s my experience that most people will happily give you their permission to take 20 seconds of their time knowing that you’ve given them full permission to end the call afterwards. What’s more, at the end of those 20 seconds most people are happy enough to talk to you a bit more!
Always remember that the purpose of your cold call is not to sell - it’s to gather information on whether the prospect is experiencing any pain in their business and then deciding if you’re a good fit to explore helping them by making an appointment to meet.
But even if you don’t get the appointment, you should look to gather further information - on their pain, on the impact this issue has on their business, what they’d done to try to fix this, what has worked and what hasn’t, on who they currently work with for their IT support, what they like and don’t like about their incumbent supplier - any of this type of info can help you to continue the conversation next time you speak.
At the end of the call it’s a good idea to ask their permission to stay in touch - would they mind if you sent them an occasional e-mail that they’d find valuable, for instance. You can then continue the conversation another time and based on the information you’ve already gathered.
When asking prospects questions, try to avoid questions that involve black and white yes/no answers and instead ask for their response based on a scale of 1-10.
Using the right words allows your prospect to more easily answer your questions and feel less pressured.
For instance, instead of asking a prospect “Are you happy with your existing IT Support provider?” ask “On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you with your current IT Support provider?”
Typically, an 8-10 score means they are genuinely happy. But a score of 7 or below means there is definitely room for improvement. You can then ask some further questions to understand why they aren’t as happy as they might be.
Nobody likes making cold calls, but they are typically a useful ingredient in the sales system of any growing IT business and so need to be made.
By preparing yourself and using the techniques above, your cold calls should be more fruitful.
By being honest with your caller and asking their permission upfront, you build trust to start conversations.
And by not selling to your callers but focusing on gathering information - you’ll more often than not gain permission to continue the conversation, either through an appointment or a follow-up call.
Listen to our October webinar on improving your cold call techniques!
As the former owner of an award winning IT Managed Service Provider, Richard Tubb works with MSPs to help them increase sales, take on employees and build up relationships with key industry contacts. You don't have to do it alone any more - contact Richard and have a chat about your needs and how he can help you.