Picking up the phone with confidence - Stop cold calling and start introducing yourself

We all use phones all day long, we speak with clients, we talk to friends and loved ones, we call colleagues and suppliers.

We are more than happy to speak with people we know, but when it comes to calling someone we don’t know, even the most hardened sales-people can go weak at the knees.

If this sort of thing makes sales-people nervous, then I know its not going to be fun for people in the professions who have more limited marketing experience.

My first ever cold calls

When I moved away from accountancy and started my sales career, one of the first things I learned was to cold call.

I was given a list of 1200 contact names, many of whom had not heard from our company for many many years, or had moved on and the information I had was wildly out of date.

The first call I made wasn’t easy, in fact, it was awful and the person I spoke to told me where to go in no uncertain terms!

The next call was better, and the third better again. By the time I had done a few hundred I had developed a style and a process, and a bit of a thick skin too. But in reality, I was just learning how to do it better and better.

And then an interesting thing happened, I started to enjoy it. I enjoyed it because I changed my approach and mindset, and stopped cold calling, and started introducing myself to the right people.

Suddenly I was getting meetings, being helped to speak with the right contacts and being given business leads. In some cases I was even given work!

I was business developing, and it really is so easy to do.

Cold calling is an awful term for these introductory calls, and can in itself put people off. If we re-phrase this and call it introductory calling, it is already a little easier to face up to. If we take things further and think about making calls to people we know, have met or have a connection with, then it becomes warm calling.

If the call is a follow up as a result of having met someone at an event, or been linked with them in social media (particularly LinkedIn) then its easier still.

I am not going to kid you into thinking that you are going to instantly feel comfortable making these calls. You are not, you are going to be nervous and you are going to make mistakes. But then again, have you ever done something new perfectly the first time? I certainly haven’t. What I can promise you is that with practice you will get better, your comfort level will increase and you will start to get results more quickly.

Here are my top tips for making introduction calls

  • Make time in your diary to plan your calling
  • Block off time in your diary to make the calls (10am is a great time)
  • Decide who you want to speak with and make a provisional list
  • Do some research into your potential contacts so that you feel well prepared
  • Plan your introduction and some questions for the call
  • Set yourself a minimum and maximum objective for the call
  • Take some time to practice
  • Think about how good you will feel when you have got your first meeting with a potential client
  • Make the calls
  • Reap the rewards!

One further important thing

And one further thing, and this is very important. Don’t call your most important potential client first. Make a number of calls first to people who don’t matter that much. I know you are going to say that all people matter, but in terms of learning to call well, you need to make the first calls to those who you can bear not to get work from.

Once you are building a style and purpose, then call the more important people.

Don’t put it off

Whatever you do, don’t look at your list, and make excuses not to call them. The person you don’t call, is without doubt the person who is just about to hire someone with your skills, or knows someone else who is about to!

Contact me

For more on developing yourself, your staff and improving the profitability of your business, please do get in touch. You can email me at james@jamesnathan.com, use the contact page on my website www.jne-recruitment-academy.com or call me on 07736 831151. Follow me on Twitter at @recruit_eagle, connect to me on LinkedIn, or follow me on Facebook.

I look forward to speaking soon.

Views: 7004

Comment by David Pritchard on February 15, 2012 at 8:39am

Well done and said. The phone is our best friend. Great things happen on it, with it and through it. REALationships.make our work FUN! Thanks James.

Comment by Tim Spagnola on February 15, 2012 at 10:59am

I agree with you David. This is a great list James. I'm still at times confused on why recruiters find excuses to not hit the phones. Tools will come and go, but the phone will always be the recruiter's best friend. Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Jared Wenzel on February 15, 2012 at 11:19am

Nice post! I have found cold calling easier to accept when I look at it as a numbers game. Way back when I first got started in sales which led me to recruiting, I was doing door to door coupon sales, ugh! I wanted to hit 100 houses a day (two run throughs) and the theory is that 10 people will buy anything, 10 will be on the fense and can be talked into and about 80 who will want nothing to do with you. For us to find that 10 houses that will buy anything you have to hit the streets and find them. I have found the same sort of theory works with cold calling recruitment. The company I work for has a great tool for tracking calls and responses, so it is very easy for me to look at my results and game plan around that. It is also good to track your progress using a particular script that way you can make changes and see what works for yielding the best response. The goal is to become more comfortable in cold calling but also finding more ways to make the cold calls warmer.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 15, 2012 at 5:11pm
Excellent post. I don't make cold calls. I consider a phone call a verbal handshake. If I walk up to a total stranger on the street I introduce myself, shake hands and state the reason I am introducing myself. If anybody tells me they can shake hands and introduce themselves effectively 100 times every day I think they are dreaming.
Comment by Noel Cocca on February 15, 2012 at 9:51pm

A phone, wait a minute, you mean a phone can help recruiters find candidates?!  Lol...nice post!  too much call reluctance hidden by technology in recruiting today.

Comment by james nathan on February 16, 2012 at 6:25am
The you all for your comments and I'm really pleased that my thoughts resinated with you.
Comment by Helen Burbank (Appleby) on February 16, 2012 at 10:23am

Thanks James! I am definitely guilty of looking and my list and thinking of a hundred other things that I could do instead of picking up the phone. It is funny how it is all of the worst 'cold calls' that stick in your head in that moment before you pick up the phone, instead of all the ones that actually went half way well. 

Comment by David King on February 16, 2012 at 11:08am

Thanks James!  This is excellent.

Comment by Theresa Hunter on May 25, 2012 at 9:01am

Interesting post.  I hear people tell me they don't make cold calls and I then ask them if all of their contacts were referrals and they say no.  I don't care how  you package or what you call it unless it is a warm referral or someone that you met at an event it is still a cold call.  You are calling some one that you don't know to introduce yourself and to invite them to do the same.  I enjoy making cold calls and believe me I have had the proverbial ugly call one guy called me the B word and another called me a blood sucking parasite.  It gave me pause but I got right back on the phone and recruited the next person that I spoke to.  I consider being a detective in finding the right person for my client.

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