Last week’s Sales Done Differently workshop for entrepreneurs in New York blew me away in many ways — none more impactful than hearing how these bad-ass women were cold calling their way to success.
Wait, cold calling?! Aren’t those the two dirtiest words in all of business??
For most entrepreneurs I work with, the thought of reaching out to someone they don’t know, in order to introduce themselves and their services, conjures frightening images of telemarketers and used-car salespeople.
Further, entrepreneurs get mixed messaging about whether or not they should be reaching out cold. If you Google cold calling, you’re likely to see two sets of messaging — (1) sales experts saying cold calling is dead, or (2) overly-aggressive sales dudes barking about how it should be done.
YIKES! No wonder most of us empathetic, down-to-earth entrepreneurs shy away from cold calling.
But here’s the real deal: When done thoughtfully and passionately, cold calling can shoot your business into the stratosphere.
Check out these three quick anecdotes from women in the workshop:
– One woman sent a thoughtful note to one of today’s most well-known fashion designers and ended up being invited to photograph a show at this year’s New York Fashion Week.
– Another woman shared how she noticed that a brand-new talk show was seeking a best man to redo a botched wedding speech and redeem himself on television. Being a wedding vow and speech writer, she reached out to the producers and offered to help them make the segment a success. They loved her idea, and she is working out the details of her appearance.
– Yet another woman cold called a multi-billion dollar retailer on behalf of her employer and subsequently penned a huge product deal, the largest her company had seen.
These stories are lighting a fire under my rear-end, and I hope they inspire you, too! Now, before you go and cold call every dream client and partner on your list, I’ll share my best tips for making it a success.
1. Earn their attention, don’t demand it.
If you’re reaching out cold, be sure to outline how you and your services can solve a problem or enhance results for the potential partner. In the case of the wedding speech writer, she will make the talk show segment more interesting and impactful to the home audience by offering expert advice on vow and speech writing. Pro tip: Keep your inquiries short and to-the-point — suggest a call or meeting if the prospective partner is interested to hear more.
2. Lean into curiosity, not results.
Don’t go into cold calling expecting to win every client — that’s just not realistic, and you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment. Rather, be curious and focus on the immediate learnings available to you — understanding which angles work for you, and which do not, can be as valuable as landing the sale. Keep in mind, the woman who won the contract from the multi-billion dollar retailer also sent out many emails that went unanswered.
3. Don’t be afraid of the phone.
It’s so easy these days to rely only on email and social platforms for communication, but I challenge you to pick up the phone once in a while. Sometimes old-school wins in this new-school world.
Are you cold calling with success? Have questions about how to improve your results? Drop a comment below!