7 Ideas for More Effective Cold Calling

I love cold calling — I really do. It isn’t that I personally love doing it, rather, I love it as a sales technique that is powerful in fast-growing markets with an average ticket value high enough to warrant the effort. Way back in 2001, I personally made many cold calls to web design companies in an effort to sell my content management software. While I wasn’t successful then, by 2004 when we started cold calling college and universities to sell content management software, the technique proved extremely effective.

Here are seven ideas for more effective cold calling:

  1. Look for clues online for qualified people to call (e.g. tweets, LinkedIn Group discussions, Google Alerts, etc)
  2. Develop a compelling 20 second value proposition to get the message across quickly suitable for both live phone conversations and voicemails
  3. Incorporate relevant social proof into the opening line (“We helped Acme Corp make $500k/year more by automating their lead nurturing…”)
  4. Recognize that the goal isn’t to make a sale on the first call but rather to get them to see a web demo or take some next step
  5. Connect SmartSheet.com with Amazon Mechanical Turk to outsource high quality list building
  6. Use SalesLoft’s Automated Prosepctor to harvest names, job titles, and more automatically via a Google search
  7. Hire a sales assistant to take care of the heavy lifting

Cold calling is effective and works for startups. Like anything, it’s hard work and takes time to get good, but the results speak for themselves when well executed.

What else? What are some other ideas for more effective cold calling?

5 thoughts on “7 Ideas for More Effective Cold Calling

  1. Cold calling is my favorite technique. Out of all the customer acquisition channels I use, it has the best ROI.

    My method is:
    1) Put together a list of targeted sites (associations, clubs, etc.)
    2) Either write a scraping script or use mTurk to get contact info and other data.
    3) Write a few email templates.
    4) Send 50-100 emails of each template (measure open rate, response rate, close rate).
    5) Rinse, wash, repeat.

  2. Personally, I oh-so love cold calling. I love the challenge that it offers in thinking about what the listener finds valuable, and being able to tune your message to a 20-sec pitch. And like you said, it’s not about selling which most people tend to think about with cold calls. For me, it’s about getting the second date — a meeting or a demo. Also, I like that most people don’t cold call well so it’s my own challenge to succeed where others may not.

    I do plenty of cold calls now, and may have landed a great opportunity today with one of the largest fitness gyms in the US! Fingers crossed the second date goes well!

  3. David,
    Have you evaluated Cloud Dialer applications? Have you used these before? I am doing a bit of research and I am finding a lot of options.

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