Most people think of “cold calling” as a difficult or ineffective way to generate new business in the ERP marketplace. Truth be told it is a challenge to contact someone in the IT space to introduce yourself, ask for a minute of their time and convince them what you have to say is important with just a phone call. The typical IT executive gets inundated with cold calls every day so you need to be quick and efficient with your message. All this puts a lot of pressure on the importance of how well you prepare and present yourself each time you dial the phone. But you can be successful at lead generation and stand out from the competition if you incorporate a few of these techniques into your B2B calling practice.
First, you want to become comfortable at contacting an IT decision maker who is sitting at their desk not expecting to receive call from you. A good technique is to develop the mindset that what you’re doing is more of a “educational” call than a cold one. For example, all you are really trying to do with your first attempt is to introduce yourself and business solution to the prospect. This mindset helps you feel like less of a nuisance and more like an advisor who is presenting something that they truly need to be more successful at their job.
Next, prepare yourself as well as you can before each call. What do I mean by that? Start with doing a review of a few things, such as; what industry are they in, what is their role in the organization and what business need does your solution or service address. I sometimes even look at an individuals LinkedIn profile to gain any additional information which may add value to our conversation. A prospect wants to feel like you know them on some level already before you call. The fact that you have taken the time to get to know their business can go a long way in opening up a dialogue. This may seem somewhat labor intensive but remember you typically only get one chance to impress an IT executive and you don’t want to waste anyone’s time with general knowledge questions.
Lastly, be ready to handle any situation in a positive and productive way. Many times the reason you originally called someone will suddenly turn to a new or unexpected direction. Listen to what the prospect tells you and ask as many open ended questions as you can in order to gain greater insight into their business needs. If the person you ask for no longer works for the company or has moved into a different role, be ready to take advantage of this by asking for a referral and see how much intel you can obtain from whom ever you are speaking with. Many calls do not go as intended or conclude with an immediate opportunity but you can gain a certain amount of value to advance your efforts each time you reach someone within an IT organization.
If you follow these suggestions, you can begin to cold call confidently and grow your ERP business. Additionally, I like to incorporate these five tips to help make every conversation count:
- Be Likable: Don’t come off too pushy or like you know it all. No matter how great your product or service is if the person does not like you, they’re not going to listen to you.
- Be Flexible: It’s ok if someone can’t talk at the moment or has a meeting they are headed into. If your quick to explain your intent and politely ask for an alternative time to speak most people will be agreeable and make themselves available at a later time.
- Be Yourself: Personalize your message and delivery. Remember since the other person cannot see you, make sure to be aware of your tone and be upbeat. Try not to read off a script but if you must use one make sure you only do so as a guide.
- Be Honest: You may not have all the answers to someone’s question or objections so be up front about it. If you say you will get “back to them”, do so in a timely manner. People will respect you for it and it will build trust.
- Be Your Own Critic: No matter how good or bad a conversation may go, do a mini-review of what was said and the result of the call. Try to take good notes and think of ways you may have made the call better. This self-assessment will improve the quality of calls over time and you will become more confident in what you are saying.
About the Author - Glenn Gates
For over 20 years, Glenn has served as a Business Development Manager in the ERP space proving his success time and time again with major companies. Glenn is now proving his success yet again at ENAVATE. Follow ENAVATE on Twitter (@ENAVATE) or LinkedIn.