How to make a Proper Cold Call from Scratch: Part One

Ah the Cold Call. It certainly has had its fair share of critics and on the other side the believers. Some say it is dead, others still swear by it. At the end of the day it comes down to the question of are they a good way of generated greater business and a good use of time?

To this, I give a resounding answer of “it depends”. It depends on what definition you give a cold call. If you think a cold call is grabbing the yellow pages and thumbing through pages dialing like a madman and flogging something to anyone who answers the phone, then I would say ‘no’ it probably isn’t the best way to generate more sales.

However, now (unlike 10-20 years ago) we have a wonderful thing called the internet, which has helped us to make higher quality cold calls. But before we discuss the cold call its self. We need to find the right company and person to speak to first now don’t we?

Firstly, if you don’t have a Linkedin profile, I suggest you stop reading this post and go create one now. Why? Linkedin isn’t just a great resource to build your professional network, it is a great place to research your ideal target market (providing you are selling a B2B product or service). Just type in one company name in the search box that most closely fits your ideal client profile and it should bring up a summary page of everything you really need to know about the company before making the call.

From here, there are 2 way’s you can start to build a list full of companies that are similar to the one you just entered into the search box.

  1. Once you are on the company’s Linkedin page, click on the ‘Check out insightful statistics about Company X’s employees’ and it will bring up another page which you then want to look for the ‘People who looked at company X also viewed’ section, where you’ll find similar companies to that of the one you originally searched. Bingo!
  2. The other way is when you performed the search of the first company it would have brought up a listing of all companies that have that company name or word on their company Linkedin page. Hover your mouse over the name of the company you want to contact and write down the key information that pops up (Company Size, HQ location and industry type). Now on the left hand side there is a section that says ‘Modify Your Search’. Delete the company name and populate the remaining fields with the same information you have just written down about the one you searched for.

Press search and up will come a listing of all companies that are similar to the one you originally searched for.

Once you have enough companies to contact, the next step is to find the DM (Decision Maker), this can be usually found by either going directly to your prospects company website, typing in the position and company name into the search box (people) in Linkedin or by simply calling the company.

The person you ideally want to be speaking with is someone who we refer to as an economic buyer (usually a C-Level professional, MD or GM). Be careful not to mistake HR Managers or IT Managers as the key person to contact. They can certainly help the process of the sale and are a great resource to support your approach and may even say they are the right person to speak to, but 90% of the time they will have to go to their superior to gain approval of any new business or deals made. The higher the better in my opinion! Too many people aim to speak to mid-level managers because 1) they think it will be easier to contact them (you’ll be surprised how often CEO’s will be interested in speaking with you if you have a great reason) and 2) They are often too scared to speak to someone with such authority (they have 10 fingers and 10 toes just like you, they go home and have dinner with their families just like you). So be confident and go for it!!

Now that you have the right person to speak to, you need to find the LINK. What do I mean by the LINK? I mean a connection that you can use to gain the trust of the person you’re going to be speaking to as quickly as possible. There is no better LINK than another person who your prospect is either a friend of, business partner, client or authority of (their boss). If they trust the person you mention, the trust level of you rises dramatically, thus giving you the opportunity to speak more freely and attaining their listening focus.

Linkedin is again perfect for this, as once you have found the correct DM enter their name into the search box and see if any of the people in your network are connected to the person you want to speak to.

If you cannot find a direct person LINK than one of the other following LINKS may work too (although not as strong); current industry trend, same supplier or industry research study/paper. The key is to find something they can instantly relate to and relax.

Now that you have them relaxed and open to listening, you have about another minute to gain their further interest to a level of wanting to meet with you.

Of which I will explain in Part Two of this post. For now though, have fun compiling a ripper target list and researching the best possible LINKS you can find.


Posted on January 31, 2011, in Business Development, Sales Advice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Thanks Luke. Found your suggestions in this article helpful to ‘get the ball rolling’. Owning my own graphic design company means I enjoy and am good at the design side of my business….but always appreciate good advice in the ‘chasing new clients’ side. Cheers Janine (ps. my maiden name is McLeod : )

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    Thanks for the feedback Janine 😀
    Go the McLeods!!

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  1. Pingback: Top 10 Sales Tips of All Time (well we think so anyway…) « The Top Shelf

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