Don't Hate The Best Way to Get New Business
A lot of small businesses struggle especially in the beginning when they are just starting out to get new business. New business is the life blood of any small business but its especially important when you don't have a steady stream of customers that you have already nurtured and have had for several years. In this article I'm going to talk about the absolute best way to get new business for 99% of small businesses.
You might be wondering what it is. I'm here to tell you it's a tried and true method that has worked for decades and will continue to work into the foreseeable future. That methods is cold calling. Before, you stop reading this article and run and hide because I said the big scary words 'cold calling' let me tell you why should not.
The Case for Cold Calling
Every major corporation cold calls regularly. When I had my waste disposal business I received cold calls from the following enormous corporations:
- Angie's List
- Home Advisor
As well a thousands of other calls over the years from smaller businesses that provided B2B services.
These services included:
- Employee Management
- H R solutions
- Payroll Services
- Marketing Services
- Employee Training
- Insurance Providers
- Lending Houses
- Professional Organization (chamber of commerce etc...)
- And many more...
You know what most of these corporations had in common. A lot of them eventually got my business. One of the biggest ones was Google I paid Google over 30k in the course of 12 months in advertising. Why? For one it worked, and two they called and were very helpful from day one getting my account up and running. They later helped me track conversions, and generally they provided value to my business.
However, the most important thing is that I had never ran a Google Ads campaign before. If they would not have called and held my hand the entire way this never would have happened. Even though I thought I did not want their help and better yet I did not want to spend 30k in advertising I did, and I did it because they were proactive in their sales methods and called me directly COLD.
Getting leads is easier than ever with so many people and businesses online you can find your target audience or businesses immediately. The reality is that cold calls are not as cold as they used to be. You can now know a lot about your prospects and the challenges that they face before you ever pick up the phone by looking them up online. This makes your interactions easier to manage and allow you give the conversation some pre planning.
Cold Calling Prospects
The key to cold calling prospects and being successful at it lies in a few tips and tricks that can make anyone a cold calling expert. When I started my business I did a lot of trial and error in trying to get new business through the phone. I eventually put together a system to cold call and warm call prospects. This was especially helpful during business slow downs. Warm calling is a whole other topic for another post so today I will layout the key factors that you need master in order to be a cold calling champion and to be fearless on the phones!
How To Be Fearless When Cold Calling and in Life
In psychology there is something commonly known as social anxiety. I would say a large fraction of the population has some form of this. It's the reason at parties we sometimes avoid talking to people we didn't show up with until much later in the evening. It's the reason you don't walk up to the pretty girl at the supermarket and start up a conversation even though you wanted to. It's the reason we are afraid of sales jobs and anything involving talking to someone you have never met before.
So how do we overcome the social anxiety that comes with the fear of rejection and paralyzes from taking action? The answer is something called exposure therapy .
What is exposure therapy?
According to the American Psychological Association, In this form of therapy, psychologists create a safe environment in which to “expose” individuals to the things they fear and avoid. The exposure to the feared objects, activities or situations in a safe environment helps reduce fear and decrease avoidance.
In other words the best way to get rid of your fear of cold calling is to start making some cold calls. Set a goal to make 30 cold calls per day. Find prospects on the internet, take pictures of businesses you want to call. If your business is direct to consumer it might be a little more difficult to figure out who you have to call. However you probably have business relationships with vendors and suppliers or bloggers and influencer that need to grow in order to grow your business. Get in touch with these people and start pitching your offer.
Over time increase this number from 30 per day to 40 or to 100. The number is irrelevant what is important is that you start doing more of it. The more you do it the easier it will become and the more success you will have with cold calling.
If you start with a high a number from the beginning it will be much easier. When I start doing cold calls, I only did a few per day because it was so uncomfortable. I didn't know what to say. I thought I would get told to fuck off. None of my biggest fears ever played out.
Over time I started doing more of it and with much greater success. Why did my success increase? My social skills increased tremendously. I already knew what kinds of rejections I was going to get. I knew what questions to ask next. I knew how to keep the conversation going and moving in the right direction. This was all due to me just doing more of it.
Today I can cold call anyone with zero fear and great results. If I were to do it all over again the only thing I would change is that the amount of calls I did in the beginning would increase by a factor 10. When I started I made maybe 3 to 5 calls per day. Remember the more you front load this activity the faster you're going to get better at it.
Some good audio or regular books you can read to get better at talking to people and negotiating are Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People and Chris Voss' book Never Split the Difference.
What to talk about on a cold call?
On a cold call you want to make sure that you have something the customer wants. It would be best if it was free as well. Like a free lead, a 300 dollar ad credit like Google and Yelp or a free month trial of you service. Get creative and give your prospects a reason to trust you and to open the door to you for future business.
My friend Rafael, the owner of Dumpstermaxx.com, recommends having an offer ready that immediately makes the person you call some money. He says if you call someone and tell them I have some money for you, they will always be ready to listen to anything else that you pitch.
The goal of a cold call is not to make the sale right away. It's to build a relationship and then nurture that relationship to the sale. Sometimes that can all happen in one call if you're really lucky. Other times it can take several interactions. Sometimes it might never happen. Even with calls that never turned to sales you can learn a lot and those calls can actually lead to other sales or desired outcome with someone else. Many times I've been told no by one person I cold called only to get a call from someone else that they had referred to me.
Cold calling is far from dead. As a matter of fact it's more alive today than perhaps it's been in decades. Years ago you would have to get lists of potential prospects. Spend hours a day calling hundreds of people to maybe get a response from 2 or 3. Today it's easier than ever to make sure you are calling the right people. With everyone on the internet and posting on social media its a lot less challenging finding out what a business needs.
In the end not every cold call is going to work out. Rejection is a part of life. Remember to use exposure therapy to get yourself into those uncomfortable situations until they are no longer uncomfortable. Cold calling can be very lucrative for your small business. You just need the guts to make the call and an offer that makes sense and you'll be on your way to reaping huge rewards from your cold calling approach.