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Marketing Mondays: 5 Tips to Better Cold-Calling

By Michael Zipursky

Very few people find cold-calling fun. I generally advise against it – at least not as a first course of action.

Sales don’t get made over the phone on a first call.

But when the time comes that you need to cold call, here are a few tips to help you do it effectively:

Select your targets well – Establish a criteria for the kinds of companies you want to contact and who would be your ideal client.

Do your research – Learn as much about each company and person before you call them.

Don’t talk about yourself – Make the call about the person you’re calling. Your job is to figure out how you can help them. What can you do to help them make more money?

Solve their problem. Help them to buy.

Don’t sell – Sales don’t get made over the phone on a first call. The goal of your call is to get a next meeting. You should ask the person whether they’d be interested in learning how they can ___________ (increase their sales 10% in 30 days, speed up their manufacturing process, etc)? If you’ve qualified people properly they will say YES. And then you suggest that you meet on a specified day for 5-10 mins to talk more with them.

Time – Sales takes time. Don’t rush it. With each contact you should be moving closer to the sale. But don’t sell. Nobody wants to be sold to. They want to buy – but because they feel it’s the right decision, not because you’ve sold them.

Another approach is to offer something of value for free to the company. A free audit, assessment, review, report, etc. If they say yes, they are a good candidate to spend more time with. And once they do, you now have your chance to demonstrate your consulting expertise and skills and to build credibility with them…again, moving them closer to being ready to buy.

Solve their problem. Help them to buy.

8 thoughts on “Marketing Mondays: 5 Tips to Better Cold-Calling

  1. Dr. Bryan G. Miller says:

    Good article! I’ll link to it on my blog ( I’ve never had to do any cold calling but some of my new consultant trainees and students face this challenge as they get started. Thanks for the post!
    Bryan Miller
    [email protected]

  2. My coworkers and I’s entire job is cold calling and we make many first call sales. You are right though that people like to buy not be sold and any good sales rep should be able to make as many sales via phone as through in person sales calls.

  3. Lexington says:

    Great tips! What is your feeling about hiring commission based sales reps in consulting?

    • Lexington – when you’re just getting started in consulting it’s better to do the sales work yourself – as you know your product (you!) best. Down the road if you hire other consultants to work with and build your business then hiring a sales person can make sense.

  4. Michael,
    How about email “cold-calling”? I market to restaurant owners and mostly earn business through referrals but recently began accessing lists of restaurant owners that are just a few months away from opening, sometimes a perfect time to engage my services. I am looking at offering a copy of my book or some sample services to prove my worth and establish rapport, and I wonder if emailing a book copy or report of some kind is just seen as spammy or if a good old fashioned phone call is best? I think I already know my answer but thought I’d run it by you as you likely have experience here. Thanks!

    • Hi Greg, getting in front of your ideal clients so they know you exist and can provide value for them is critical. There are many ways to approach this. Think campaign rather than one off. If you’d like some help in guidance with this to build up a pipeline of opportunities get in touch and we can explore that with you: info @ consulting success .com

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