The rate of success for making contact in cold calling is somewhere between 2 and 5 percent. The gatekeeper or voice mail often blocks the salesperson from making contact and moving the sales process forward. This means that the salesperson has to make a lot of cold calls to generate enough sales opportunities to be successful. So how can the salesperson lessen the impact of these barriers to success?
The Pre-Approach Letter
Using pre-approach letters is an effective way to “warm-up” a cold call. After all, the purpose of the cold call is usually to set up an appointment to meet. Using the pre-approach letter helps you get pass the gatekeeper and increase callbacks from voice mail. A pre-approach letter is correspondence or letter sent to a potential prospect before you attempt to make telephone contact. The letter should give information about what you do, what problems you solve, and build enough curiosity to make the prospect want to talk with you. Don’t make the letter too company centered or “me” focused. Focus on the problems you solve and how you go about creating better situations for your clients and customers. Always make your pre-approach letters specific to your prospect’s industry. So if your prospect is a manufacturer make the letter specific to manufacturing. You can have several pre-approach letters for each of the industries you work in. Most importantly, the letter should state specifically the date and time when you will be contacting the potential prospect. This means you have to plan your pre-approach letters with your call back schedule.
Now that you have sent the pre-approach letter with the specific call back time, you are ready to make your “warm” call at the appointed time. A common question the gatekeeper will ask is: “What is this in reference to?” You can then confidently answer: “I have a commitment to call Mr. / Ms.______ can you put me through?” If you receive voice mail you can leave an effective message such as: “My name is ________ with __________ and my number is _________ (slowly). I am calling as I promised in my brief note to you the other day. In working with companies like yours we have helped them (do, save, implement, improve, etc.). Give me a call at __________ (slowly). I have something very important to tell you about how we have discovered a proven way that can help you (do, save, implement, improve, etc). Call me back when you get this message and we can set a time discuss it” You want to leave a short message that creates curiosity and a sense of urgency. It’s curiosity that gets a potential prospect to call you back. Your voice mail message must show the uniqueness of what you can do for your prospect. Consider your prospect gets many voice mails each day from salespeople wanting a call back. You have to differentiate yourself from all the others so they will call you back. Also, be persistent. If you don’t’ get a call back in a couple of days call back and leave a similar message. Of course you can repeat the process over again of sending another pre-approach letter.
Try using pre-approach letters to “warm-up” your cold calls