I love making cold calls. Many people would opt for multiple root canals than make cold calls on a regular basis. The tougher the call, the more I enjoy the challenge. There is a great deal of satisfaction in connecting with the impossible-to-get-to CEO, Chairman, prospective angel investor, business owner or prospective customer.
The American marketing landscape has changed so much in the last thirty years. We’ve all experienced the tidal waves of e-mails, spam, pop-up ads on web sites, phone calls, letters at home, letters at the office, billboards, sign walkers, inserts in magazines that fall in your lap on the airplane, even ads on the shopping carts at the grocery store. ENOUGH! WHATEVER IT IS YOU’RE SELLING I DON’T WANT IT! LEAVE ME ALONE. It’s no wonder we’re on edge, and have our guard up against the next scam artist, the next idiot on the phone soliciting money, our time and resources. “I’m not interested.” Click.
And yet most business development and growth comes down to an initial conversation. Talking. Communicating. Building a personal relationship. Connecting with a prospective customer, company, buyer, business partner or investor. How you approach, contact and initiate a conversation with that target prospect is an art and a science, so much so that I’ve built much of my career around the Art of the Cold Call.
When I think of my success at cold calling and writing effective sales letters, I have to laugh. As a teenager in an all boys’ prep school in Stamford, Connecticut I was terribly shy. I had panic attacks whenever I was asked to read out loud in the French class. I was so shy that when I attended Vanderbilt (B.A. ’78), I would screen the courses before signing up. If they required an oral report of any kind, I would not take the course. I went all the way through college without giving an oral report.
Then I became a businessman. And eventually I owned my own business. Out of necessity to survive, I’ve had to overcome my biggest fear: cold calling and talking to an audience or person with whom I have no connection. What was my greatest weakness is now one of my greatest strength. Funny how that has turned out.
How you present or “package” your company and yourself, and what you write in a letter, or e-mail can make or break you. Words have tremendous power. In an initial cold call, you have just a few seconds to establish credibility, a connection and interest. How to get through to the busy CEO or business prospect to get his interest and make an appointment for a meeting or phone conference is what I do best.
But before a letter is mailed or a phone call is made, you have to create a precise message and know exactly what you want out of the conversation. More importantly, you have to know who you’re talking with and what will get your prospect’s attention and interest. You have to know who you are and where you’re going. That takes a little work. Perhaps you already have a Business Plan and vision for the future. In most cases it’s worth a little time and effort to review that strategic plan and review the fundamentals of your company. That’s where the Diagnostic Evaluation and the Strategic Business Plan come into play. Before you pick up the phone, or mail that letter. Who are you and what do you want?
Steven B. Weintz, President
Phone: (843) 822-7664
E-mail: [email protected]