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Cold Calling Tips For Small Business Owners

Updated on May 31, 2010

Scared of the cold call?

Small business owners are often intimidated by the idea of cold-calling in order to get new clients. There's a good reason for that. None of us likes to receive those calls from businesses that are trying to sell us something; they rarely offer something that interests us and they always come at a bad time of the day. But sometimes, they get us. They tell us about a new service or product that we didn't even realize we needed until we found out about it. Or we think that they haven't gotten in to our minds, but then a few weeks down the line, we're trying to figure out where to access something and the information they gave us comes to mind.

In other words, like it or not, cold-calling is something that works. We don't always think of it as the best of business tactics because it's not necessarily the most effective of business marketing options, especially in today's world when Internet marketing is so important to our businesses. However, for a business to be efficient, it needs to make use of all of the resources available to it. There are customers that you can reach with cold-calling that you can't reach through other mediums, thereby increasing your business if you're willing to take the leap and do some cold-calling.

Here are some cold-calling tips for small business owners that might be useful to you as you begin to consider adding this option as one more tool in your arsenal for better business.

Small Business Cold Calling Tip #1: Be direct but don't be aggressive. You need to take the initial minutes of the phone conversation to be clear about who you are and why you are calling. If the listener doesn't want to talk to you, being aggressive will not leave a positive impression. In other words, be firm but friendly.

Small Business Cold Calling Tip #2: Say the name of your company or product several times throughout the conversation. People go with names they're familiar with so even if you don't appear to get business right away from cold-calling, you might find residual business coming through as your name gets remembered.

Small Business Cold Calling Tip #3: Leave messages. If the voice mail picks up, leave a succinct message with your information. Leave a call back number but also state that you will be calling back at a better time. If a potential customer tells you that they don't have time to speak with you, ask if you can be redirected to voice mail.

Small Business Cold Calling Tip #4: Budget your time. Figure out realistically how much time each week or month should be spent on cold-calling. This is going to be an important part of your marketing but hardly the most crucial one so make sure that you're allotting an appropriate percentage of time to the work. Then, do your cold-calling for approximately the amount of time you have budgeted but not significantly less or more time.

Small Business Cold-Calling Tip #5: Consider hiring someone to do your cold-calling. Sure, you're a small business and don't have the budget, but if you already have a receptionist or some other small business employee who has some downtime, cold-calling can be assigned. However, be sure to supervise, train and role-play with this person to make sure that they are cold-calling in a way that suits your style and message.

Small Business Cold Calling Tip #6: Keep records. Know who you've called and when, what their response was and when you intend to follow through with the conversation. Know who you want to call next and make a plan for doing so. Be organized in order to make your cold-calling more efficient.

Small Business Cold-Calling Tip #7: Finally, by flexible. Some people will be easier to talk with than others. Sometimes you'll learn new methods that might be tried in your cold-calling. Be adaptable in your approach to using cold-calling as a means of growing your small business.


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