Winning at Cold Calls

There are very few people that like making cold calls, but those who do thrive and are really successful. When I was chatting with a client recently, they asked me for tips on cold calling. I thought I would share a few with you.

It is far easier to cold call today than when I was pounding the pavement selling sponsorships. With Facebook, the internet and LinkedIn, most cold calls can be warm calls. It makes quite a difference. Anyway, here is a sample of cold calling tips.

1. Remember that the sale here is to get the meeting, not sell your product or organization. You need to stay focused. Don’t let the prospect divert you to telling about your charity, municipality, sport organization, or whatever. Focus on getting the meeting. You don’t want to get into selling your product by phone, email, or LinkedIn. All you want is to set up a meeting-face-to-face or on the phone.

2. Know that you are going to have objections and prepare for them. Know how to deflect them and gear back to getting a meeting. They will have responses as to why they should not meet with you, such as: I have no budget left, sponsorship doesn’t work, you cannot measure sponsorship, I gave to your organization already, our donation budget is allocated, etc. For each for these, have a quick response (not a rebuttal) such as “That is interesting. It is working for a great number of our partners and I would love to learn why your experience with sponsorship did not work” or “Great news that you have no budget. I am not asking for money at this meeting. I just want to learn more about you and your business.” Then, once the objection is deflected, (again, not a long diatribe rebuttal of how they are wrong), go back to asking for the meeting.

3. Set them at ease from the outset. Since this is a cold call-a discovery session-you are going on this call to learn. So let them know that when you are making the cold call and trying to get the meeting. Let them know that you are seeking to learn more about their business, and see if you and your organization can help them down the road. Tell them you have neither a proposal nor a pitch and you will not be asking them for money at this meeting-and don’t bring a proposal or ask for money at the meeting. No one likes to be pitched anything or asked for money on the first visit. Besides, until you learn about their business, how can you build a proposal for them?

4. Have a script. Yes I know, scripts are for telemarketers and you are way above that level! Scripts work. That is why telemarketing is so successful! Whether you are calling, emailing, or going through social media, write a script, learn it, and adapt it as needed for each prospect. Yes, I have one I wrote over 20 years ago (back in those days, it was a telephone script only). And yes, I use an adaptation of that script for every cold call I make!

Cold calling is not easy, but it is doable. Take these steps and move forward with getting more meetings and closing more sponsorship sales. For a more detailed description of getting meetings, be sure to check out our Reality Check – Straight Talk about Sponsorship Marketing.

If you have any cold calling tips you would like to share, please do so on our blog, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.

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