Cold calling is not dead. Anyone who says it might be is simply afraid that you’ll get their clients when you hustle and put in the calls. We at Calaboration spent a lot of time cold calling and found great success — now that we don’t have to put in so much work and much of it is inbound, we’re even cold calling for our SaaS company, VoteUp.
Cold calling will win you business for your digital agency. It is a numbers game, but once you put in 20, 30, or even 100 calls per day, you get prospects interested in your marketing, web design, and more. You will never be poor if you know how to pick up the phone and dial.
Who Should You Cold Call
You should have some idea of who you want to be calling to sell your digital marketing services. Think about your ideal client and who the absolute best prospect might be — if you were in a room with dentists, would you feel comfortable pitching them all a website or online marketing?
Depending on the size of the company and the industry it’s in, there are probably different ways of finding the information you need to actually call these people. Real estate agents, for example, are extremely easy to cold call because all of their information is extremely public in hopes they’ll get a call from someone wanting to buy a house.
Further, you must ensure you’re calling the decision maker. The worst thing you can do for your agency is waste time calling intern-level staff members at the company you’re trying to make a client since they have no pull nor decision power when it comes to your digital marketing.
If you’re reaching out to real estate agents, the agent is perfectly fine to call. If you’re reaching out to larger development companies with a staff 50+, you’re very likely going to be looking for someone like the VP of Marketing. You don’t want to be calling interns, but you also don’t want to be calling CEOs of companies large enough to the point where they don’t care about the website at all.
If you are reaching out to these larger companies, great job. They’re the clients you’re going to want since they’re extremely high-ticket and will have a much better understanding of what it takes to implement proper marketing that you’ll do well with.
If you need to call the gatekeeper, you should know how to handle that situation as well. Gatekeepers are the secretaries or whoever is managing the phones and incoming calls to a company. Gatekeepers are important if you put yourself in the shoes of a successful business person.
Few people who are running multi-million dollar businesses are going to want to be bothered with anyone or everyone reaching out to them and bothering them with crumby sales pitches — yes, compared to what they’re used to, your sales pitch is probably crumby.
Getting past the gatekeeper is an entirely new skill that you have to master on top of cold calling altogether. Merely sweet talking and tuning on your charm is, sometimes, enough to break down a gatekeeper and get them to hand you over to their boss. This is going to take a lot of practice!
What Are You Getting Out of the Call
You really have one main objective when you’re on a cold call — setting up a meeting. You aren’t going to sell any websites or marketing on the phone during the first touch like this. Everything you say in this call should be enticing enough for them to want to learn more and hear out your entire pitch.
If you’re too aggressive in the initial-touch cold call, you’ll turn everyone off and won’t get anywhere after that. If you’re not aggressive enough, you’ll end up having everyone hang up on you without even giving you the opportunity to really explain yourself.
You may want to be the laid-back entrepreneur and have prospects come to you. That’s great and I’m happy for you for wanting that kind of attention — the sad truth is that no matter how good your product is, no one is going to come to you handing you money unless your sales and/or marketing are so on point that you invite them to.
You must be branding yourself and your company so well within the initial call that you create enough interest and mystery so they’ll invite you in for a real meeting. Again, your main objective of this call is to get a meeting. You do not want to be discussing pricing, in-depth strategies, or anything else that might turn them off (or on) to your services.
If prospects are asking for pricing immediately, they’re probably not the kinds of clients you want to be working with anyway. If prospects are asking any questions that make it seem like they’re looking for extremely immediate results instead of understanding the long tail strategy of it all, they’re probably not a client you want to be working with.
Stick to the mission, sell your services, handle objections, and land that meeting.
Your Opening Statement During a Cold Call
Hey, is this
We find a lot of success with an opener putting in their name. Asking if it’s them confirms (for you) that you’re speaking to the right person and gets them saying to themselves, "who the heck is calling me?"
After they say yes, the game is on. You have to be quick, short, informational, and charismatic all while keeping them from hanging up. Again, they probably will not hang up since most entrepreneurs enjoy hearing from other entrepreneurs.
This is an important thing to realize when cold calling — you’re talking to people just like you: business people and professionals. Think of this as an opportunity to talk to someone who is just more successful than you while you’re offering things they’re completely unaware of. Talking to a big real estate mogul who has no idea how to make a website is a great connection for you and the opportunity is there.
Don’t insult anyone’s website. The last thing you want to say is that you were on their website, it was terrible, and that you’ll redo it for a hefty cost — that’s not how to make friends nor land clients. You should absolutely mention that you’ve studied their online presence and that you noticed one aspect is outdated — then proceed to say you and your team specialize in optimizing that one outdated area. This gets you in the doors so you can always upsell later.
This is all happening very fast so one of the most important thing things while cold calling is to remain calm. You don’t want to talk too fast but you also want to get everything out concisely. Find a solid balance of information, relationship building, and sales and you’ll always land a meeting from cold calling.
Cold Call Objections
You will probably get hung up on a lot while cold calling — interestingly, this is a good thing. This means that you know exactly where that lead stands and they’re not wasting any more of your time.
The more annoying leads are the ones that become qualified prospects and string you along for months and months without having any intention of buying. It is very hard for people to express their disinterest in your company and unless you can recognize that objection you will be wasting a lot of your time trying to win these.
Some of the common objections should be easy for you, as a digital marketing entrepreneur, to combat — we hear people say things like
- This won’t work for my business
- This costs too much money
- It’s not the right time
I don’t have any recorded numbers, but I can certainly tell you that these are the most common objections I receive.
- This won’t work for my business. Is your business in an area with no technology or internet? I didn’t think so — this will not only work in your business, this is essential to your business.
- This costs too much money. This may be valid if they’re a startup with no revenue nor business model, but everyone else should easily justify your prices for this. If a mortgage lender is spending $5000/mo on your services and selling three mortgages for $5,000-$10,000 each they at least 3x their investment.
- It’s not the right time. It’s never the right time.
You will ultimately learn more about how to read people and what their actual objection is once you become more self-aware and learn how to be more aware of other people and their real goals.
Overcome Cold Call Fear
If you sit there and think about what you’re going to say, who you’re going to talk to, and how the entire conversation is going to play out, you will never hit call on the phone.
Like picking up men or women at the bar, cold calling must be done without much forethought. Do the right research so you’re not calling a completely random person without any idea of what they do, but when you have the number inserted in the device, do not think and hit send.
People are more comfortable on email and text message — this is why there is such a great opportunity picking up the phone and dialing. This is why you have to relish in their discomfort and potentially catch them off guard. You are going to notice that things happen quicker, results are attained faster, and goals are met sooner once you start placing more calls and quit waiting for things to happen to you.
You will also notice the results are more often in your favor since you’re taking action and making powerful moves getting people on the phone on your terms. You are injecting yourself into their life every time you place a call and they decide if they want to pick it up or not — if they do, you just carved out a solid 20-60 minutes in their calendar just for you.
How To Warm Call
Warm calling is very effective. You might think you can warm call by reaching out to people you’ve spoken to in the past that might vaguely remember you — this is one way of going about it.
The most productive method of warm calling is by sending out email blasts prior to your calling campaign. Simply figure out where to get a few hundred of the emails addresses of people that are going to be your ideal prospects.
Set up your mail merge so you can easily and quickly email hundreds of them while including their phone number asking if it’s the best one to reach them. This previous sentence is the key because now you let them know you have their information and asking them if it’s okay to reach out.
This move clearly isn’t as aggressive and the results will demonstrate that. Out of these 500 emails you might reach out to, 50 might get back to you with a one-word response, "sure". Even that is pretty great since you bet we’re going to call them next.
That person, now getting a phone call, might very well express that they’re somewhat interested in this and request a meeting. Some of them might get into pricing too early and you say never mind. Whatever the case may be, all of these people, since they were on your initial list, are warm leads because they’re expecting you to reach out.
The outcome of the calls are still the same as they’ve always been, but your nerves and anxiety will be more at ease this way.
Ultimately, your main goal here is to get meetings. Calling, emailing, networking, and marketing are all going to get you these same outcomes but there is only a growing opportunity in calling as the popularity of emailing grows conversely.