Call it cold calling. Call it telemarketing. Call it prospecting. Call it whatever you want, but start doing it. I’ll bet you just thought of a bunch of reasons why you aren’t using cold calling to grow your business. I’m here to call you out on some of them.
1. I don’t have time.
Make the time. As the owner of a small business, you’ll always have a crisis to handle, a client who needs something, a travel schedule, and hundreds of weekly tasks that need doing. You’re never going to leave the office with your work 100-percent done. You can, however, go out of business with your pipeline 100-percent empty. New business is essential to the growth of your company. To keep a steady stream of new clients coming in the door, you have to keep bringing in new leads. Block off an hour a day to focus on prospecting, mark it as busy on your calendar, and honor the commitment.
2. I don’t have the tools to do it properly.
Lies! All you really need to get started is a phone and a list of people whose business you would like to win. You can probably make that list for free using this new-fangled thing the kids call The Internet. If you’re a small business owner, you’re not going to spend more than a few hours a week on business development. You don’t need a fancy system to track 20 calls a day—I promise. One day you can buy yourself a fancy CRM system that you’ll only use 20 percent of. Today, just go find a pen.
3. Cold calls bother people.
Nope. Cold calls bother YOU. Ask yourself, why is that?
Why do you hate the idea of receiving cold calls? As a business owner, you’re busy. I get it. But, you owe it to your business to learn about new processes, products, and services that might make your company better. I’m not saying take every call that comes your way, but I am saying you should be open to new information from new places instead of always angrily slamming the phone down.
Why do you hate the idea of making cold calls? As a business owner, you have a unique stake in the outcome of your cold calling initiatives. Your sales reps are building their books, but you’re building your business. Who is more passionate about your business or more invested in its success? Are you an expert? Do you love what you do? Are your clients happy with the work you do? Great! Tell people!
Then, as you reach out to other business owners, ask them about their businesses and allow them to tell you about the things that make them experts. Cold calling is about building relationships, not making quick sales. You never know what you’ll learn from an entirely different type of business that could change how you think about yours. Be open to that experience, and focus on learning, not on selling. Soon you’ll look forward to those 20 calls a day. Who knows, maybe you’ll start making 30.
4. We get plenty of referrals.
Today you do. Tomorrow you might not. Referrals are flattering, but they aren’t a sound long-term business development strategy. If I had a dollar for every company I spoke to last year that “used to” get a lot of referrals and now isn’t experiencing the same amount of success, I would have ... more money than I currently have. Start using prospecting to lay the foundation today for a steady sales pipeline tomorrow. Referrals don’t require the work that cold calling does, so the referrals should keep coming regardless of what you’re spending your time on.
5. Cold calling is dead.
I’m so glad you think so. That means fewer callers muddying the waters when my calling team comes into your territory for one of your competitors. I assure you, cold calling is still very much alive. Those who learn how to do it well will find it to be a very cost effective and efficient way to find new business opportunities.
If you’d like to learn more about cold calling to win more managed services business, join me at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19, for the webinar “Prospecting Tips to Increase MRR,” co-sponsored by Intronis and Autotask.
Carrie Simpson is the founder of Managed Sales Pros, a lead generation firm dedicated to providing new business opportunities for MSPs. Carrie teaches IT firms how to build, manage, and grow their sales pipelines. You can follow Carrie on Twitter @sales_pros and connect with her on LinkedIn.