One of the things I love the most about cold calling is that it requires absolutely nothing to get started other than your time and a telephone. Cell phone, desk phone, soft phone … doesn’t matter. If you’ve got a phone, a list, and some paper and a pen, you can cold call. I think it’s the only form of marketing that you can start with zero expense, zero experience, and no purchases required.
Can you make it more complicated and more expensive? Of course. Like anything, there are bigger and better solutions you can purchase. Do you need them if you’re one business owner making a handful of calls a day? No, you probably don’t.
The thing I love second most about cold calling is the way that it will increase the effectiveness of anything you’re currently spending your marketing dollars on. Direct mail? Social Networks? Email campaigns? Events? Website tracking? Cold calling will help you get better results with all of them. Here are a few tips on how to make that happen.
How cold-calling can help direct mail
If you’re going to use direct mail to promote your IT business, you can support it with cold calling. Instead of dropping thousands of pieces at a time, why not try a smaller, more targeted group of mailings that are then followed up by a call? Whatever your offer or call to action on your mailer, you can reference it in the cold call. It sounds something like this:
“Hi, Joe? It’s Carrie calling from Everywhere Managed. We sent out an offer to you by mail last week—it was for a complimentary network heath assessment in March. I’d like to find a time for that appointment as our time is filling up quickly. How does next Tuesday or Thursday around 10 a.m. look for you?”
You’ll note, we don’t ask “Did you receive it?” or “Do you remember seeing that?” We don’t ask that because that segue allows for a quick “I’m not interested” before you get the chance to talk, and also because we don’t want the prospect starting the conversation with a “No.” (I’m also not advocating for complimentary network health assessments, but it’s the direct mail piece I saw the most last year.)
Don’t drop more mail than you can realistically follow up on by phone in the two-week period following the receipt of the mail piece. (And if you’re spending money on marketing, make sure you’re answering your phone live. If someone’s replying to your offer, you don’t want to make them wait!)
How cold-calling can help on social networks
Are you sending unsolicited connection requests to business owners on LinkedIn? Careful. If too many contacts click “I don’t know this person,” LinkedIn will limit your ability to send messages to people whose email addresses you don’t already have. You can use the phone to limit the chances of that happening. Before sending a note to someone on LinkedIn, try calling them!
Look, odds are you won’t reach them first call, and if the idea of cold calling people is still really uncomfortable for you, call after hours when you know you’ll reach their voicemail. Leave them a message. The message should sound something like this:
“Hi, Joe. It’s Carrie Simpson calling from ABC IT. I’m sorry I missed you; I’d like to chat with you about providing a quote for (Company Name’s) IT support. We work with (named company in same vertical), and we were able to help them (problem that you solved for them) this year. I’m going to send you a note on LinkedIn so that we can connect there and see who we might have in common. Let me know if you’d like an introduction to anyone in my network, and once you’ve had a chance to take a look at my profile, I hope we can schedule some time to talk! My number is 204-555-5555. Thanks!”
Now, go ahead and send that LinkedIn connection request. At the very least, you’ll be able to see if they’re viewing your profile. You could also send an InMail after leaving that voicemail, but once they’ve connected with you they will be able to see the timely and relevant content you post on LinkedIn. (You’re doing that, right?) You can also call anyone on LinkedIn who has browsed your profile. This is a great way to build your network and find referrals. Nobody looks at your LinkedIn profile by accident.
More ways cold-calling can help your IT services business
Sending drip marketing email campaigns? That’s great; you can see who’s opening your emails and what they’re reading. Ditto if you’re using website tracking. Are you calling people who are opening your emails and visiting your website? If not, you’re wasting a huge opportunity to strike while the iron is hot. Calling these prospects will increase your odds of conversion. Sometimes prospects need a little encouragement to get the ball rolling. The fish don’t just jump into the net, after all.
The more times and ways you connect with a prospect, the more likely they’ll be to convert. Don’t hitch your wagon to just one MSP marketing method. Try a little bit of everything and see what works best for you. Just don’t forget to #PickUpThePhone.
About the Author: 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.