The Cold Call Relationship

Cold calling is not like fast food.  It’s not an instantaneous event.  We need to stop treating it that way.  Less than 2% of first call cold calls are answered by the targeted person.   In almost EVERY instance a message is left.  We don’t get to talk to who we want.  We leave a message and the minute that has happened we have started a relationship and it is no longer a cold call.  Once a message is left, regardless of what they did with it, they know who we are.  An opinion has been formed. Usually a weak, fleeting opinion that has little bearing on anything, but an opinion none the less. We’ve penetrated the wall. What’s key to remember is we are now part of their psyche.  The next call is no longer cold. A cold call can only happen once. It’s now a warm call. Understanding this changes the game.

A sales person for one of my clients shared his cold calling approach.  It went like this:

I call and leave a message. I follow up with an email.  I wait two days and call again and leave another message.  I wait two more days, call again and leave another message. If they don’t get back to me I take them off my call list and move on.

If I was cold called like this, called 3 times in a week and hit with an email then nothing, I wouldn’t respond. It’s too insensitive to my time and the message I would be getting would be negative. Calling like this is treating cold calling like a fastfood drive up window and it doesn’t work that way.  Cold calling is only cold once, then it becomes a virtual relationship. One that needs to be nurtured. A relationship that culminates in you getting enough of their attention that they will take the time to talk with you.

Cold calling is a relationship like any other and should be treated that way.  It requires an approach that anticipates multiple calls.  Build scripts that address each call based on the previous call and the anticipated response. Develop the relationship through each call in a unique fashion. Be deliberate.

The most successful cold call approaches address the long term virtual relationship and respects the fact the target is busy.  My favorite approach is to call once a week. Each time leaving a message building off of the last message, adding a bit more information.  Keep calling every week for at least two months.  That’s 8 calls.  It’s not a lot of calls, but it’s a lot of time. The calls are spread out enough as not to bother or smother the prospect, yet close enough they will remember the last call.  The messages should be short, sweet and capture the attention of the prospect. Rarely is it the cold call that get’s the prospect attention.  It’s the virtual relationship you create over time, through the calls, that gets the prospect.

Don’t treat cold calling like a fastfood drive up.  Treat it as a relationship. It makes all the difference.

What is your cold call approach? How do you develop your cold call virtual relationship?


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