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Cold calling is a proven, cost-effective tool for obtaining crucial appointments or selling of products and services. Based on real experience, this Guide has many practical tips on how to succeed in this sometimes “daunting” technique. Details on what to research, mental/physical preparations, making the call, questions to ask and effective handling of objections are included. Find out how to improve with “perfect” practice and learn the pitfalls that often await the “green” novice.
  1 Expert Insights    1 Effective Cold Calling in Telemarketing Y. K. Loo Abstract:  Cold calling is a proven, cost-effective tool for obtaining crucial appointments or selling of products and services. Based on real experience, this Guide has many practical tips on how to succeed in this some-times “daunting” technique. Details on what to research, mental/physical preparations, making the call, questions to ask and effective handling of objections are included. Find out how to improve with “perfect” practice and  learn the pitfalls that often await the “green” novice. Keywords:  cold calling, telemarketing, selling, sales, closing, marketing, prospect, prospecting,telephoning. I NTRODUCTION Cold calling, as a sales tool, can be very effective, direct and cheaper if it is appropriate for the market, for the situation, and executed properly in the right hands.Many telesales people would have wasted many op-portunities to make appointments or sell, due to inad-equate prior research, lack of preparation, and use of poor techniques. How often are we victims of a cold caller, who mumbles incoherently, asks the wrong ques-tions and worse still, not listen properly to our response?Cold calling can definitely be learnt and be improved upon. This conclusion comes from my personal experi-ence since 1989 ( > 100,000 cold calls) when I have de-cided that it was the best overall technique to secure the vital, face to face appointment. As a technique, it compares favorably in terms of the economics and ef-fectiveness of other means, viz., advertising, exhibiting and networking using social media.Written succinctly, this article contains most of the invaluable lessons learnt personally over 27 +  years and includes useful tips from other “experts” whom I’d learnt from. Although not fool proof, it can be used to inform the uninitiated about cold calling, as a refresher for the veteran cold caller or as a checklist to help you move closer to making a “perfect” cold call next time. Y. K. Loo,  Founder of K-L ASSOCIATES, As a chartered engineer, with an MBA from London Business School, Kwan Loo has 40+ years’ experience, including advising varied organizations and mentoring their management on motivating leadership, competitive strategies, change management, sales growth, minimizing “wastes” in processes/operations, and performance. Providing invaluable insights into complex situations and customized solutions using proven techniques are his specialties.  e-mail : kwan@k-lassociates.com  Expert Insights Effective Cold Calling in Telemarketing 2 R ESEARCH This has to be the first step before one cold calls. This means spending time to gather the essential information about your tar-geted prospects.Confirm that cold calling is indeed the  best (i.e., most relevant) and effective method since other forms of making con-tact may be better.Determine and justify who (in the tar-geted firm) would make your “best,” i.e., potentially most profitable target(s). What are your reasons for your choices?Decide the criteria you would use in selecting your preferred targets—business type, size, turnover, location etc.Obtain the key details of your targeted prospects—title, first name and surname,  job title, telephone (ideally, mobile/cell phone), career history, personal interest/hobbies, memberships of clubs/bodies.  Always aim for the top decision makers who can decide.Try to find an important fact/detail that you may share with your prospect; by ex-ploiting the “birds of a feather flock” logic, or links with others in their/your network.Think of a short key phrase or a few key words to “hook” the initial attention/excitement (why would he want to listen to you?).Find out if there is an opportune time to call, thus maximizing the positive recep-tiveness from your prospect. For example, ‘bad’ days may include Monday mornings, Friday afternoons and the day just after the prospect’s holidays. Y OUR  M ENTAL  P REPARATION Pick the best day and time when you are mentally most alert and have the best frame of mind.Therefore, unless you have to, do not call if you don’t feel mentally right or feel fatigued, as this may waste the only oppor-tunity to impress your valued contact.Think positively all the time, i.e., try to psyche yourself up for those few moments of action.Have a regular rest or break (after six consecutive calls?) or after 1 hour of non-stop calls to recharge your alertness and enthusiasm; especially if any sign of fa-tigue has noticeably crept in.Keep an open mind at all times—be pre-pared to hear the unexpected and respond accordingly. Always be prepared to think on your feet; a few minutes’ break is often well jus-tified if you feel inadequate, either physi-cally or psychologically.Lock out for all possible distractions in your vicinity—noises, chatting, other per-sonal problems or worries that you might have. Try to rid these before cold calling.Mentally treat your prospect as a friend; pretend to have a friendly chat and indulge in info exchange.Treat your calls like having proper, pro-fessional face-to-face meetings and avoid giving impressions of any sloppiness.It’s a two-way communication. Few strangers would listen to, let alone buy from their enemies (or anyone sounding  like one). P HYSICAL  P REPARATION Have at hand your detailed plan of action for activities you wish to cover.This is the last preparation you should do before making the actual phone call.Have nearby to your telephone all the key info of your prospect, ideally in front of you so that these are clearly visible.Keep your diary handy or dates that would suit you to meet your prospects.Meticulously design your  flexible  script—one with all the key info and potential an-swers to handle the range of commonly expected objections. These must be legible,  large and make good sense.If you have prices and attractive offers, have all these handy too, to minimize stumbling, which will certainly cause bad impressions.Make sure mentally and in your re-hearsal that you don’t sound as though you are reading a rigid script! Don’t be one that  Expert Insights  3 Effective Cold Calling in Telemarketingsounds like a human automaton or playing a programmed message.Sit comfortably in front of a writing surface (or you may prefer to stand/move around instead for more energy) when making your calls. Call from your favorite locations, which may not be at your official desk.Be ready to take detailed notes for use in future follow-up calls.Keep a psychological anchor (e.g., from NLP), which you can use to re-energize or psyche yourself periodically.To help focus and see your state of mind, cold calling in front of a mirror can be use-ful if it does not distract. M AKING   THE  C ALL This is the most important component in cold calling. Experience will help but ulti-mately, it is your voice, manner, words and immediate responses that count.Speak clearly, slow enough , confidently and fairly assertively (check voice for its deeper tone, right volume, firmness, tempo and sincerity). In Transactional Analysis  jargon, use the formal Adult ego style most of the time although the Child ego state can occasionally help break any ice present.Occasionally inject short pauses so as to create some useful pressure and allow you to gain useful composure/control.It can often be useful to grab attention by mentioning influential names that might make a positive penetrative impact, but be careful in using selective name dropping.Do NOT argue strongly; you should aim to handle any objections professionally, calmly and hook the interest of your target  before moving him into the desired action.Frequent use of “but” in your response can negate the much needed enthusiasm or empathy.It can be a risky strategy to come across as arrogant or domineering over the phone, as most bosses are naturally egotistical and defensive when criticized.If there are objections to your claim or statement, initially agree verbally with the objection and then  tactfully give your honest opinion. Psychologically speak-ing, this amounts to positive “stroking” (in Transactional Analysis) by acknowledging his objection. Avoid sounding too familiar or patroniz-ing as this can generate negative outcomes in sensitive ears.Try to restrain from criticizing their current suppliers, the prospect or his organization—another potential ego issue.Inject your enthusiastic energy to moti-vate and energize the listener—it can be off putting to listen to a monotonous or robotic voice. This will help distinguish the pro-fessional from the average, badly trained script reader.It can annoy to shout or whisper; as this may project a negative impression (aggres-sion or no confidence) from the listener.Do not interrupt or talk over the pros-pect; and apologize if this happensDo not hesitate, stutter, add too many “ums”’ while speaking or pause unneces-sarily, as these may indicate undesirable nervousness.Listen intently to what is being said by the recipient—try to determine his mood, mental state and general receptiveness. It may well be a “bad” time to call and ex-pressed empathy is then required. It is  better to listen more and talk less (use the ratio of “2 ears to 1 mouth”).Do not go off the subject in a tangent, thereby losing the all-important focus by  becoming over-relaxed.Try to mimic/mirror the pace, words used (i.e., visual or auditory), volume and pitch of the target person—another NLP tool for creating psychological rapport.Have a pen or PC ready for making notes unless you have a fantastic memory that  lasts a long time and remembers many de-tails from all earlier telecons.Physically smile as you speak. This will help you relax, and interestingly, may proj-ect a good warm, friendly tone down the phone line.Politely ask relevant questions, to dem-onstrate your genuine interest in the
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