The typical salesperson tends to consider cold calling one of the most difficult ways of coming by prospects. Being turned down hundreds of times a week can wilt the spirit of the most ambitious salesperson.

The mistake that many cold callers make, though, is that they simply wade in and start making calls. Being turned away is only to be expected when you go in unprepared like this. Instead, one needs to approach this sales method with thoughtfulness and planning. To make every sales lead more receptive, it’s important to learn what goes on in their minds.

Making a personal connection on every cold call

You need to do some homework before you actually make a call. While it may be tedious to do this, it can pay off. For instance, you can Google up whatever information you can find on the person that you are about to call. If a regular search doesn’t come up with much, you can try a media search on a purpose built-media search engine like Mool. If the person you’re calling has ever been interviewed or quoted in a publication anywhere, this search will turn it up. With this information in hand, you will be in a much better position to make an impression when you call.

Research can be especially valuable when you reach a prospect’s voicemail. People don’t pay attention to voicemail messages from strangers if they don’t see a compelling reason. If you’ve done your research on LinkedIn and found every professional connection a lead has, you could possibly find someone on the list that you have some kind of connection to. To merely mention a mutual acquaintance in your cold call can get you much better results than simply going in with yet another sales pitch.

Use videos to get more information across more quickly

Sales personnel making cold calls have traditionally needed to make appointments with prospects to appear in person and offer initial product demonstrations. While an in-person visit can make a strong impression, these appointments are difficult to set up. People can be reluctant to set aside time for demos for product that they don’t even know they need. When personal appointments were the only way to hook a lead, marketers often lost sales opportunities.

Since high quality videos are cheap to produce today and easy to send over email, to stream and download, these open up sales opportunities like never before. A prospect can easily ask for a video without fear of committing himself. A quality product demo video can get prospects to easily agree to take a look. They can be a great foot in the door. Videos free up sales personnel for leads who are closer to converting, too.

Your prospects can even use software to download YouTube videos with your product demos. This, way they can watch your video when they have the time, even if they aren’t connected to the Internet.

While the initial call is important, the value of following up is not to be overlooked

It’s tough on a hard-working salesman to have a lead simply respond with a non-committal “Call me in a few days” remark. If you don’t know when exactly your lead might want to be called, you could miss an opportunity.
To successfully obtain a follow-up appointment, you need an exact date and time for when to call. Sending each lead a thank you note for his time during the first call is likely to get a positive reaction to your follow-up request.

When the agreed-upon day for the follow-up call draws close, make sure that you email ahead of time. Your thoughtfulness will win you points.
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Brian Richardson is an award winning salesman. He frequently writes about his craft on business blogs.

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