Don’t let anyone tell you that cold-calling doesn’t work. It does. It really, really does. How do I know? I’ve built a successful business in Cambodia by cold-calling.
As a sales strategy, it’s often over-looked. There’s a myth which states that cold-calling (contacting potential leads out-of-the-blue) is a waste of time and offers a poor ROI (Return On Investment) with regards your time, but I couldn’t disagree more.
I netted my first clients through cold-calls. Not only that, but a year later these clients are the bedrock of my business. They’re what have allowed me to net other clients, thanks to a growing track record in a new city and with a relatively new soft skills training concept.
So if you need to get your business off the ground, or need to explore a new sales strategy to reach that all-important target, here are my 5 “top tips” to successful cold-calling:
- Wednesdays & Thursdays are king: Statistically-speaking, you are going to have more chance of a reply if you cold-call in the middle of the week. If you think about it, this makes a whole lot of sense. No-one wants to bothered with a message from someone they don’t know on a Monday. Mondays are for clearing out the weekend inbox, setting tasks for the week ahead…Mondays are busy days. Tuesdays aren’t much better. I have found that targeting Wednesdays and Thursdays for cold-calls does results in a greater response rate.
- “You never know”: This is my cold-calling mantra. Cold-calling can be soul-destroying and tiring. You’ll doubt yourself and wonder if the person you’re about to send an email to will really be all that interested. But, YOU NEVER KNOW. If you have an email address for a promising lead and they just happen to be the CEO of a major bank, go for it. Hit “send”, because you never know.
- Be warm & friendly: I aim to send up to 20 cold-call emails a week. Obviously, I don’t write every one of those from scratch. Write yourself a template, personalising the message as much as possible. Strike a warm and friendly tone in your message, sending the sort of email you’d like to receive yourself. Remember that “you never know” where this could lead. This email could be “the start of a beautiful relationship”…Get the tone right.
- Follow up: I rarely get replies to the initial approach, but waiting a week and following-up does wonders. None of us like to be caught out having ignored someone’s email. Every cold-call I send is filed into an Outlook folder (let’s call it “Cold-calls”) and a week later I forward the initial email to the same person saying that I’m following up, not being sure if they managed to go through my email of last week. Trust me. This works. 60% of the meetings I land come as a result of a follow-up to a cold-call.
- There will be haters: You need a tough skin to cold-call. Not everyone appreciates that a new business in a new city has little option but to send out cold-calls. Of the hundreds of emails I have sent over the past year in Cambodia, I have had three replies that really got under my skin. “STOP SPAMMING!” read one of them. That was all. Three words. All in caps. It hurt, but I reminded myself that you can’t please everyone all of the time. I did my best not to take it personally and tried to see things in perspective. These replies are rare. Very rare. And they shouldn’t put you off trying. There will be haters. Water off a duck’s back.
Andrew Barnes is the director of The Presentation Clinic in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He teaches sales techniques and sales strategies. For more information about his programs, visit: