What is Cold calling?
Cold calling is calling or meeting a prospect without their consent with an intent to sell a product or service. To understand this better, in the movie, "The Pursuit of Happyness", the protagonist is first seen trying hard to sell a medical equipment by going door-to-door, visiting clinics and meeting doctors. Later, when he goes broke, he becomes a financial services broker, calling random people in his caller list, convincing them to buy spurious stocks. In both instances, he's a salesman cold-calling on the field or on the phone. The success rate of customer acquisition in cold calling is so low that only a skilled 2% salespersons can thrive.
Another jargon for cold calling is 'dialing and smiling'. It is used as a term in the financial and the stock market industry to refer to the act of a random insurance agent cold-calling to convince unsuspecting folks to buy mutual bonds. It doesn't create long-lasting relationships, and is mostly a one time experience.
As cold calling may not target the right audience, most of these calls are marked spam by the call receivers. To put an end to the cold calling menace, the US government has enforced strict laws to prohibit mass calling.
Laws and cold calling
In 2003, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), an independent agency of the United States government, passed the "Do not call registry" scheme. According to the act, people or organisations who enlist themselves in the Do not call registry will not receive cold calls from telemarketers and sellers. Within a short period, the policy gained momentum that 200 million individuals and organisations enlisted to be out from cold calls.
Tips to go about cold calling
There are no hard and fast rules. Experimenting, failing, learning, and evaluating helps figure out the best practices. Applying the learnings and optimising your cold calling strategies lead to better conversion. Here are some tips that come handy:
1. First, grow a thick skin. You'll be facing more rejections than conversions.
The only mantra you have to follow is, "Who's number is next?".
2. Also, modifying your initial conversation with relevant questions can nudge your audience to listen longer.
3. Once you grab their attention, try the elevator pitch. Within 20-30 seconds, explain the following to them:
What does your organisation do
What problems does it solve
How is it going to be useful for them
Even though cold calling is no longer an effective way to pitch your product, the 'art of persuasion' never goes out of style.