I read an article in Harvard Business Review years ago that changed my mind forever about cold calling. Basically it said something to the effect that warm calling was 7 times more profitable than cold calling. Seven times? How do they know that? And then I thought… “Why am I arguing with Harvard?” If it’s not 7 times, it’s 6 times or 5 times. The fact is warm calling is way more effective than cold calling and we all know it.
So why cold call when you can warm call?
From that day forward I have made it a mandate to develop systems that “warm up the call”. The foundation of this system is my network. Instead of working hard at cold calling, I decided to work harder at developing a valuable network.
This network has helped by:
- Providing the name of a decision maker;
- Making an introduction (in addition to providing a name to drop);
- Providing valuable background information on the prospective customer.
All information to take the chill off that first “cold call”.
The key to making a cold call warmer is to find commonality with the person at the other end of the phone. If your network is valuable enough, you should be able to uncover some kind of commonality, be it a name, a hobby, an association etc.
“Hello my name is Dan Debreuil of Sales Expert. On recommendation of “someone in my network who you know” I have just joined the Manitoba Food Processor’s Association. I noticed that you are also a member of the Manitoba Food Processor’s Association and was looking to introduce myself this morning”. As simple as that may sound, the commonality provided by name dropping in combination with the new association membership is most often extremely well received and welcomed. Turning what could be an awkward cold call into an instant coffee meeting or a warm telephone conversation with promises of follow-up.
Cold calling? The only cold calling I do now is when facing a room full of strangers at a networking event. The goal isn’t to get a sale, it’s to expand my network so that one day I can call upon these strangers to warm up my call.