Making Cold Phone Calls for Consultants

While you may not relish the idea of making hundreds of cold calls, by following this process you will in effect be testing your advertising or direct mail headline.

By now you have identified what problem you solve; who has the problem and who can afford to have you solve it. The next task is to plan a calling script to test the validity of your offer.

Let’s say your product is a range non-toxic hair products and your target market is ladies hairdressers. The problem you solve is the skin irritation and eczema that some chemical based hair products cause both the hairdresser and the customer.
Your call to the salon owner might go like this…

“Hello Mary, It’s Sue from Acme All Natural Hair Products (exchange pleasantries).
“Mary, my call is to establish if any of your staff or customers experience adverse skin reactions to the chemicals in some hair treatment products?”
(Sue is highly likely to say Yes)

“Mary, Acme provides a wide range of all natural hair products from shampoos and conditioners to dyes which women who suffer from skin irritations from other products find they can safely and happily use. I know you may have a commitment to a specific range of products already, however would it be valuable to you to have an alternate range available for those women who have problems with your other range?”

Assuming Sue agrees, all we have to do is arrange the next step which may be a sales visit or the delivery of a sample pack.

Let’s analyse the call:
The opening line asks a very leading closed question, one which Sue can really only answer Yes or No. We have asked Sue if her salon ever has the problem we solve. We haven’t asked if she would like to see a new range of hair care products which would likely get a No answer as Sue probably gets a call like that every week.

When Sue acknowledges the problem, the solution Mary offers delivers a benefit and answers the most likely rebuttal Sue could have; that she already promotes a specific brand of product. Mary does that by pointing out that her range would be stocked in addition to the current range, not instead of it. This tells Sue that Mary is not trying to get her to change brands.

This simple script can easily be rewritten for other products and industries.

James Yuille is a 35 year plus sales and marketing veteran based in Brisbane Australia He runs Mediaglue (www.mediaglue.com.au), a marketing services company. His book, “Are You Getting Enough?” is available at JamesYuille.com

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  • Anonymous

    I haven’t tried cold calling yet. This article has got me thinking, maybe its time to give it a go.

    • James Yuille

      Go for it, all you have at risk is time…

  • Bart

    This post confused me a bit. The title suggests tips for cold calling for consultants, yet the example provided involves a beauty products salesperson – unless everyone now is considered a ‘consultant’. The example is very simplistic as well, and doesn’t reflect the work and research involved when crafting cold calling messages in a B2B context. Your message will be different depending on who you target in the executive chain of command. And the most critical piece of advice was omitted: pitch to decision makers, not administrators!

    • James Yuille

      Bart, your comments are valid. The process used in any scenario, B to B or otherwsie, is to lead with a question about a problem or challenge they’re likely to have. Depending on your field of expertise, it may be related to cash flow, generating new business, solving staffing issues, getting finance or feeling overwhelmed with the challenge of business.

      I’ve used and taought this process for over three decades and it still works.

      In response to your comment about dealing with decision makers, it’s not always possible to reach them. For that reason, you have to work your way up the chain of command. The key is to make sure you don’t ask for a decision from someone who can’t make it.

      I had a client tackle this in a unique fashion: he did a driect mail campaign and sent the same personalised letter to each of 10 to 15 manages in one large company. The call to action was that he would call them for a discussion about the topic. What surprised him was that as he worked through the call list, he found most of the recipients had talked with their colleagues about his letter so his first meeting was very warmly received as he had well and truly nailed the problem.

      What they didn’t know was that it all started when he cold called another person in the Company to see if there was an issue in the first place. He picked up a $20k plus consultancy / training gig for his efforts!

  • I think the sentiment of the article is great, I haven’t yet tried cold calling either. However, I can see how using this approach that draws them to the desired conclusion can be effective. As a consultant though it would be awesome to have an example that is applicable to my work.

  • It’s true that most of us think of the phone as a cactus & don’t want to go anywhere near it. However, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade & I think asking questions w/finesse, keeping the prospect off balance, & getting a commitment up front whether it be a meeting, specific time to call back is what we should be reaching for. Too often we waste time on prospects that don’t have the need, want, or $$ to pay for our services. Stop giving out free information, qualify prospects correctly, & you will save yourself a lot of headaches.