Closing the Deal on the Go: Clarifying Your Cold Calling Objectives

When you begin cold calling, do you know your objective? Is it to prequalify a prospect? Make an appointment? Close a sale? The more complex your product or service, and the larger the account, the more likely your goal is to prequalify than sell.  Here are some questions to ask yourself before you make your cold call:

  1. How Cold Is Cold? Totally cold means you know nothing about the person you are calling or the account you are trying to get. Warm means you did a little pre-call research, perhaps by talking to contacts, looking at brochures, checking out the company website, reading the company blog, becoming a fan on Facebook, following the company or its decision makers on Twitter, or gathering information through any number of other sources. Even warmer would be if you were following up on a company lead.
  2. What Are You After? You should view cold calls as a means to gather information, not make a sale.
  3. Who Is Your Target? Corporate giants are usually a waste of time to call completely cold unless you are following up on a corporate lead or a tip from a trusted source. Smaller companies are typically better targets for such calls, at least partly because their decision makers tend to be more identifiable and accessible.
  4. What Should I Bring? Only a briefcase. You will look professional and non-threatening. Brining more than that may make you appear as if you plan to muscle your way in and hold someone hostage in a long meeting.
  5. What Is You Story? You don’t have one. Be honest. You don’t have an appointment, but you feel you may have something of value.
  6. How Long Should I Stay? If you get in, your prospect will likely say how much time they have. Respect those parameters. Stay within them. Preferably, keep it shorter.

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)

As the time limit nears, qualify your prospect, and if appropriate, close for a future appointment. If you feel the prospect is hot, and only if you feel the prospect is hot, you may want to acknowledge the time limit is up, then see if they are willing to continue with the discussion. If not, then try to close for a future appointment.

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