First, you need to find people who need what you’re offering. In the language of the sales business you’re looking for qualified or "warm" leads. That means professionals should be working on creative marketing initiatives instead of using their precious sales time on cold calls.
The success rate of cold calls is low, especially in an age of voice mail and caller identification. Do-not-call lists have made things even more difficult by shrinking the pool of potential customers.
When you call someone and try to sell them on something, you’re in a very different position than when someone is calling you to ask you for information. That’s a warm call.
Alternatives to cold calling
Here are some low-cost alternatives to cold calling for finding warm prospects:
You want some form of creative marketing that will cause clients to contact you. Then you deal with those people. That’s warm-call selling.
What to do if you must cold call
If you’re forced to cold call, you must strive to give your calls a purpose and context. Don’t expect or try to make the sale during that initial conversation—your goal is to arrange an appointment.
Inform the prospect of something, such as an upcoming discount promotion. Then work to engage the person in a brief, focused conversation about the unique benefits of your offering, ending with a request for a meeting.
It comes to the same thing: Building relationships.
Provide valuable information. Help the client sort out a problem. Become a trusted advisor. That’s the way to make sales.