Now I’m on Step Three — Filling in My Freelance Prospect Contact Log with the Names of People I Need to Reach at the Companies I’m Targeting
As soon as the most challenging part of my cold call task was complete, which was making the first 10 painful calls, I broke through my cold call resistance force field.
The week before Thanksgiving I made dozens of calls, and I started collecting the names of the people I need to talk to — the people in charge of marketing at each company. Acquiring the names of my prospects is an important step in my cold-calling process.
Learning this name is the first critical step of any successful cold-call strategy, because the name gives you a clear edge. For one thing, the next time you call you can ask for the person by name if you reach a receptionist. Or, if your call is routed to the company’s automated phone system, you can use the dial-by-name feature to quickly leave the automated maze. Sometimes you can even gain access to the direct phone number or extension number of a contact person, which greatly streamlines and speeds up future cold calls.
Five Steps to an Effective Cold-Calling Process
Here are all the basic steps of my cold-calling process:
1. Target Prospects. Identify the companies, agencies, associations, publications, etc., for whom you would like to work.
2. Organize Prospects. Make a list of these prospects, either electronically or on paper. I’m currently using Salesforce.com to create my prospect contact list. On your list, include all of the relevant information you can find about the company from its website, such as address, main phone number, and a short description of the company.
3. Find Your Contact Person. You can identify the person you need to talk to a few ways. You can search the website for people on the company team, however, sometimes companies don’t have these lists, or they don’t include everyone. You can search the Internet, and sometimes you’ll get lucky. You can search on LinkedIn to see if a company’s marketing manager is listed there. Or you can simply ask the receptionist when you cold call the company the first time (this is my preferred way).
4. Keep Calling. Continue calling until you reach the person you need to talk to.
5. Avoid Leaving Messages. It’s tempting to just leave a message on your target person’s voice mail machine and hope they’ll call you back. They never do. So why bother? It’s much smarter to just keep calling over and over until you reach them. It could take weeks to reach some people who are never at their phones.
Do you have a cold-call strategy? How is it different from mine?