The Trouble With Cold Contacts

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ColdCallersTODAY’S incoming cold call went something like this:

“Hello. I’m Adam. I’m calling from *****. Are you the home owner?”

Tiger Taz: “Yes, I am”

Adam: “How are you?”

T: “I’m very well, thanks Adam. What are you trying to sell me today?”
A: “I’m not trying to sell you anything.”

T: “I bet you are. Sorry, Adam, am I taking you off script? Do carry on…”

A: “We’re offering you a free survey that shows how much you could save by having solar panels. There’s no obligation.”

T: “Aah. So you want me to buy solar panels.”

A: “No. I want to offer you a free, no obligation survey.”

T: “…in the hope that I buy your solar panels.”

A: “That’s up to you. People choose.”

T: “Adam, if I have no intention of buying anything from you, there’s probably no point in wasting my time – or your time – with a survey, is there?”
A: “Probably not”

T: “So, why not just say ‘I’d like you to buy my solar panels and I’m offering a free survey first to see how much you’d save’?”
A: “Because I’m not trying to sell you the solar panels. I’m trying to offer you the survey.”

T: “But you only want me to take the survey to persuade me to buy the solar panels…”

A: *slightly raised voice* “only IF you want to!”

T: “We’re going around in circles, Adam, but I’m going to hang up now. Have a wonderful day and good luck duping the next person.”

Today, we happened to be working from home. We’re signed up with all those anti-cold calling services BT offers, have a separate business line, and still they come thick and fast. I understand BT can’t actually stop people from conducting “surveys”, which may be why the misleading patter has been adapted.
The point is, today Adam wasted our time and his, and the company he works for didn’t really earn any brownie points – quite the opposite.

Scrap pile

Adam’s call followed two cold emails and one text from different organisations fishing for business. None were properly targeted, none had bothered doing any research into us or our business, and all were about as welcome as a mosquito in a sleeping bag.

In our office, we have an unwritten rule to ‘scrap pile’ any organisations who hit us with poorly targeted, pushy, cold contacts, so every one of this morning’s darlings ruled themselves out of any future business from us. You might call it a shot in the foot.
Now, we know there are still plenty of people out there who are big advocates of cold calling to generate business. Here in the Tiger Den, we hate it – it’s pushy, obtrusive and there’s frequently too much spin before getting to the point. Not only that, but interrupting people’s days and leading them on a wild goose chase with all kinds of supposedly clever sales scripts stands a good chance of pissing them off. And is that good PR for the business in question? Absolutely not.
Consider these important points…

1) Do you really *need* to cold call? Now we’ve moved to an age of pull, rather than push communication, is it still the best way to generate sales?

2) If you do intend to cold call/email/text/LinkedIn message (yep – it really is happening, and it’s probably putting people off checking their LinkedIn mailboxes), do a bit of research first; address your target by name and be sure your product / services really could be of interest/benefit to them.

3) Don’t dress it up. Be honest. MLM folks, some of your colleagues are the worst culprits! Don’t try to disguise your offering and trick people into meeting with you with promises of an “exciting opportunity” or “business proposal” if you actually want them to join your network marketing team. If you’re doing this because you’re afraid people won’t want to talk to you if you tell the truth, there’s probably a big clue there for you!

4) What else could you be doing to attract people into your business who are generally interested? What are you doing on social media? Are you networking effectively? Are you using all available PR methods to get out there and talk about your offering and how it can help people?

5) How can you build trust and rapport so that people actively seek you out and want to do business with you?

6) The most important consideration of all! Would YOU want to receive your communication? Take a step back and read your script/email/text. Get a pal to read it as well – someone with no connection to your business. Is it engaging? Interesting? Genuine? Properly addressed and targeted? If it seems even slightly disingenuous, go back to the drawing board!

DISCLAIMER: No cold callers were harmed during the production of this blog, but two tigers did temporarily suffer raised hackles.

• PR isn’t all about press releases – it’s about the way the public perceives you and your brand, which includes presenting/speaking, media coverage, brand, newsletters, blogs, social media and pretty much any forward facing communication. If you need a bit of help – even if it’s honing your cold call scripts – get in touch! Email info@turquoisetiger.co.uk

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