In the sales world of the past, you would have made a single cold call to a prospective client. Most of the time, you failed to acquire the meeting, but occasionally, some nice person would agree to your request. Having been told no by the rest of your contacts, you'd look for another contact in another company. You may have believed the contacts who rejected your meeting request weren’t interested, so you moved on to another person. You would decide to call these contacts who refused to meet again after two quarters have passed. When you do, you learn that they have changed suppliers.
There is a more effective way to cold call your prospective clients. You can improve your overall results by using a cold calling campaign (also described as a prospecting sequence or cadence). Instead of calling a contact, being told no, and moving on to find a more receptive contact, you continue to communicate with the prospective client. A cold calling campaign allows you to execute a patient, persistent, professional, pursuit plan, something I like to refer to as 5P. But before we build this campaign, we need to look at two strategies that will make your cold calling campaign more effective.
There are prospects, and then there are dream clients. These are two categories. Prospects are the companies you call on that spend money in your category. Your dream clients spend so much in your category that winning two retires your quota for the year. In Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition, I outlined a campaign that allows you to manage 60 dream clients, communicating with 15 each week using a four-group rotation. Salespeople who have used this approach report they acquire more meetings and win more large deals. The results are due the consistency.
You will need to pursue your prospects, but winning your dream clients is a longer process. Your dream clients already have a relationship with a supplier, and they will not switch unless something changes. By continually communicating with these clients, you avoid missing an opportunity because they didn’t know you or didn’t see you as someone who could help improve their results. Year Zero finds you as an unknown. By Year One, you have established yourself as someone worth meeting. Much of the time, professional communication makes this a faster process.
Cold Calling Campaign +
A good cold calling campaign uses varied methods for more communication. These include voicemail, email, direct mail, and video messages all intended to position you as a person who is paying attention to the decisions and changes clients will need to make to maintain or improve their results.
Some cold calling campaigns mistakenly start with something other than a cold call. The first communication should always be a cold call because, should you acquire a meeting in that call, you don't need to use the campaign methods that follow. If you don't reach your contact, you leave a commercial on the contact's voicemail stating the value you will create for them in a first meeting and informing them that you will try to reach them again before the end of the week. Then you email with one line to tell the contact you'll try them again, without asking the client to respond to you.
Your campaign may start with two weeks of phone calls. You don't want to use a brute-force approach to getting a meeting. In week three, you change up your approach by sending your contact something that positions you as an expert and authority in your industry. We describe this approach as being One-Up.
Most emails from salespeople are self-oriented and position the salesperson as One-Down. Your email as part of your cold calling campaign should prove you are worth a meeting. To do this you must provide an insight, and it needs to stand out. Let's assume you have a team that does inbound marketing. They create rich content on a blog. You find a post that explains something your contact needs to know, you print it, highlight the most important idea, and handwrite, "This is what's important here." Two things are true about this approach. First, you will not look like other salespeople. Second, by reading what you sent, your contact has started taking your advice.
Let's go back to the idea that brute force is not a good look. It causes clients to believe you are self-oriented and desperate. Let two weeks pass with no communication.
While other salespeople fill the client's email inbox, you send a personal letter with a data-rich insight and a business card. Your contact knows who you are and what you seem to know.
Let another week go by with no communication. Remember 5P (patient, persistent, professional, pursuit plan).
You don't want to ask your prospective client to connect on LinkedIn until you have proven you are sincerely interested in a meeting and that you know things that your contact will find valuable. The fact your contact knows who you are will prevent you from being another spray-and-pray scammer or spammer.
You've been building your reputation with your prospective client. Now it's time to pick up the phone and call them to ask for a meeting. If you acquire a meeting, your campaign ends. If you don't, you leave another voicemail and preview the value proposition of the meeting, or if you are brave enough, you try the next part of the campaign.
Video messages are still relatively novel tools. In a sales context, video communicates more because it allows your contact to see and hear you. Explain that you are responsible for anything they need and that you look forward to meeting them. Remember to have good lights and look straight into the camera so it looks like you are talking directly to your contact.
A Few Thoughts about Dream Clients and Cold Calling Campaigns
For long pursuits, communicate with your contacts every month after using a campaign like the one outlined here. You never want to give up or go away, but you want to be a constant presence in their lives. If you notice something worth their time, never hesitate to communicate it to your contacts.
Build your cold calling campaign and mind your patient, persistent, professional, pursuit plan, your 5P approach.