April 2009


by Sheryl Tuttle

Following are nine essential components to a successful new business campaign.

  1. A Good List – Your prospect list needs to be accurate and target the correct decision-maker. It’s a waste to spend valuable time looking up accurate information and chasing correct contacts.
  2. CRM or Database – While a CRM isn’t required for a successful new business campaign, some type of system to manage your contacts with prospects is necessary. This can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or as robust as a CRM system enabling easy look-up, reporting, and more. Expect more about CRM in a future post.
  3. Private Office or Work Space – Let’s face it, you’re making these calls to have conversations, and it pays to have some privacy so you can focus on just that. Conversations. Too many times I’ve heard of teleprospectors and inside sales folks making calls from a call center type environment, which isn’t conducive to a professional conversation. It’s too hard to focus when the room is abuzz with noise.
  4. Keep it Conversational – Forget scripts and following flow-diagrams. Know your pitch points, but don’t read them. Listen to what the prospect says and let the conversation follow that path.
  5. Be Persistent – This can’t be emphasized enough. Persistence is oftentimes the key to reaching your prospect. Persistence is sometimes what sets you apart from your competition.
  6. Enlist the Aid of the Assistant – Think of the assistant as a colleague who has the ear of the person you are trying to reach. Sometimes these gatekeepers hold the key to reaching the prospect.
  7. Professionalism – Always be courteous, direct, and to the point. Conduct conversations in a peer-to-peer level. Don’t waste a busy executives time with idle chit-chat.
  8. Alter the message – Change the message each time you leave a voicemail. Mix it up and leave different company highlights or advantages, but be brief and to the point.
  9. Know your purpose – Get to the purpose of your call, and be sure to ask for the business or appointment.

Do you have a tenth component to add to the list?

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Besides a telephone of some sort it’s likely you will be using a list to make your calls.  The list can come from any number of places.  Most people either buy lists or they put it together themselves.   If you have limited resources,  the internet can give you some basic information for phone numbers and names.

Generally we work with a client purchased list.   Although I have never bought one personally,  D&B http://tinyurl.com/cexp7r has a sales & marketing solution that Sheryl and I have both worked with. I have recently taken a test drive with THE LIST, http://www.thelistinc.com/ It’s a powerful Business Intelligence source, and, I think, well worth the money.

Remember, when you speak with list companies to make sure to ask them how often they are updated?  Do they have email addresses?  Whatever is important to you.  Some, like The List, even include recent news stories about companies.  As Sheryl pointed out in an earlier post, having more information about a company prior to calling them can be helpful.  Calling into a company whose CEO has just left, or whose stock tanked THAT morning is a company that is going through some tumult, so you might want to stay away for a bit.

There are 2 schools of thought here, as Sheryl suggests that depending on the circumstances, at the time changes are occurring, might be the perfect time to call.  Of course it depends on who you are calling for.  So, you decide.  I know someone who called a prospect,  actually, no, he’d sent an email,  and said, “Gee, just read your stock is garbage, so don’t you want to meet with us?”   It didn’t work.  The response was not favorable.   I once called into a company and did share that I’d just read their CMO or Creative Director, or some such high-titled person was leaving, and the person I was talking to was uninformed.  I felt terrible.    So, you don’t want to be too familiar.

It’s a broad topic, lists, and one we will continue to explore on NBP.  When we discover new good sources, we will share with you, and by all means, please let us know what you know about a good source.

by Sheryl Tuttle

A quick and simple look at the headline news before making your calls and some common sense can go a long way.

When making prospect calls, it’s important you know a little about where you are calling. For instance, geographically, in what time zone is the prospect? This is important for timing your calls. Are there current news events or natural disasters in the area? An executive preparing for a hurricane or approaching wildfire isn’t going to be nearly as receptive as one who is not.

Here’s a fun quiz that will test your geography and how well you know your states.

http://www.lizardpoint.com/fun/geoquiz/usaquiz.html (take this quiz)

Let us know how you scored in the comments section.

Wiki defines Cold calling as the process of approaching prospective customers or clients, typically via telephone, who were not expecting such an interaction. The word “cold” is used because the person receiving the call is not expecting a call or has not specifically asked to be contacted by a sales person.

I prefer saying that I make calls.  I don’t think of calls as having a temperature.  I think some of the responses I get are cold – actually some are frigid.   But me, I’m a warm person, and when I make my calls I try to be as polite and sincere as possible, and exude warmth.

Blog under construction – stay tuned for some exciting discussion on how to build your business pipeline.