There are many obvious reasons for people’s resistance to making cold calls. Some are valid (it takes a pro-active effort on your part) and some are self-created (‘I’m scared to call this guy’). First off, I’d recommend changing the phrase “Cold call” to something more interesting such as “Business development call” so that it doesn’t sound so chilly.In the simplest terms, your purpose in making a marketing call is to see if you can help your prospect solve a problem and, if so, to let them know how. Think of marketing calls as a venue to open a dialogue with someone and, ideally, a relationship. There are many good training materials on the tactics of making a marketing call: what script to use, how to get past the gatekeeper etc. This is very useful information but what I have found through working with recruiters is that this alone will not be enough motivation for them to stay motivated over time.My suggestion is that you need to find a way to put more of who you really are (your personality) into each call so that it will not be ‘just another sales call’ in your mind – or in your prospective client’s mind. There is no steadfast rule that says you have to check your personality at the door and become a robot when you are contacting a client. Your prospect can sense very quickly the difference between a mindless sales call and a call from a genuine, professional person who wants to help them solve a problem.There is no one way to do this and, in fact, you will probably want to develop many so that you don’t get bored. Being different than the other 20 recruiters they got a call from this week is a necessity if you want to stand out. Humor is always a good approach. If you have the personality for it you could say, “Hi, I’m an executive recruiter, would you like to hang up now”? This one is a bit out there but it may spark an idea on how to tweak your approach. You could also be known as the “Un-salesy recruiting firm” by telling people up front, “At my firm we don’t pressure people and we don’t chase people. We view ourselves as service providers rather than salespeople.” Another way would be to call a hiring authority and conduct a survey or interview in order to open the relationship.When you are looking for a way to make marketing calls more enjoyable, make sure that you believe strongly in the things you are saying. If you don’t, neither will your prospect. Use a script as a jumping off point or a fall back in case you choke up, but try to become natural and unscripted as soon as you can. Other ‘Back door’ methods are also effective such as conducting exceptional reference checks with key hiring authorities or actually approaching them regarding whether or not you can help them with their career at first and then exploring whether they have any needs you can help them with. The best form of marketing by far is to be referred by a very satisfied client to one of their peers.Here are some steps for creating an environment where prospects are open to what you have to offer:
- Sense and diffuse any pressure that you perceive the client may feel by addressing it directly.
- Let them know that you may or may not be able to help them but you would like to open a dialogue to find out. This is honest and instantly diffuses pressure.
- Ask quality questions to determine whether or not you can add value for them.
- Get to the truth as to whether they have an interest early in the process. Don’t chase.
When I coach people on making marketing calls I look at both the tactical skills involved as well as the originality and genuineness that will make it more enjoyable over time.