by Michelle Jobst, CPMR, Jobst Incorporated
Cold calling — It can seem like an old fashioned and inefficient task. I would imagine that most salespeople enjoy other contact points more than this one. So why do it? When it is used as one of the many methods to interact with customers, I find that there is value in cold calling. I have defined five steps that have helped me over the years put it to good use.
Like all sales tools, you apply it when it can show value in getting you to a specific result. Defining your goal should be your first step; lay out what specific results you are looking for. I have used it to expand my contacts, refresh contacts in my territory, and reach additional contacts (in current or new departments). Do you have numbers or metrics in mind that mean success for your type of product or service? Add those as they relate to your goal. Include in your plan how you will measure success. Define the goal of every contact (educate, touch point, request referral, face-to-face meeting).
So how do we most wisely go about regularly rotating this action item into our already busy schedule? I would rather spend time working with my customers on innovative solutions than dealing with the large rejection rate that is par for the course in cold calling. If it does not add to my energy level than I had better understand my own cycle of preparedness needed to do this higher consumption calling. That means scheduling it.
What reward will you put into place when certain levels are attained? Scheduling allows you to add rewards that will feed your tank. This is critical to making this a regular activity. Some analysis suggests that Wednesday and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. in your customer’s local time zone, are the best times to make your calls. Will you put in one chunk of a bit each day or week? Include in the plan the regularity you will use to get through your list.
Now that you have time tables in mind, it is time to define who will be participating in making the calls. Are you making all the calls or will one or more people complete this portion? If it is a team effort, make sure that the whole group understands the plan and pieces. Everyone should be reporting in the same way so results can be measured.
After calling has been completed make sure to review the results. Without this analysis you will miss out on understanding the value. Did you get a high percentage of the goal? What feedback did you get from your contacts about how you are going about your process? Were your contacts receptive to the timing on your communication?
If you found value in the cold calling process you developed, then evaluate the timing of when it should be repeated for your territory. Results gathered in the previous steps will dictate the cycle.
The complete cycle process includes all five steps: define your goal, schedule it, have a process to complete, review the results, and then evaluate the need and time to repeat the process.
Every organization must do their own evaluation to know if this tool is a good fit. I hope your efforts to develop a cold calling procedure for your market are fruitful.
Resource: Meg Prater in a recent blog for HubSpot How to Make the Best Follow-Up Sales Call in 2019 (https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/best-times-to-connect-with-leads-infographic).
Michelle Jobst, CPMR, is a graduate of the College of St. Catherine, St Paul, Minnesota with degrees in speech communications and international business economics. Jobst has over 20 years experience in technical sales; her work history includes experience in customer service and export. She is a member of the Rubber Division, ACS (American Chemical Society) and SPE (Society of Plastic Engineers). While she started working at Jobst Incorporated in 1994, she grew up with the business in her home when her father started out in 1978.