Cold calling does it work? “I hate cold calling. I don’t like picking up the phone and trying to sell my services by cold calling.”
If this is something that you’d ever said to yourself or anyone else, that’s great! And there is a simple solution – don’t do cold calling!
Why not? Because if you run a service business, such as coaching, consulting or training, cold calling simply won’t work for you. It will be a waste of your time and energy. In fact it will probably even drain you of energy, leave you depressed and deflated and without any new clients to show for it.
Cold calling does it work? No!
When you provide a service, people are buying you – your expertise, your experience and your time. There’s no tangible product for prospects to look at or compare to what your competitors are selling. Prospects can’t see your service and usually start paying you before you’ve achieved any results for them. This means that for someone to buy from you, they first need to trust you. You simply can’t build trust with a complete stranger by calling them on the phone!
How do you build trust? Selling a service is about building relationships with potential clients. Build strong relationships and you will be able to build trust.
How do you build relationships? I believe that there are just three ways in which you can do this.
- Search out and generate referrals. We buy from people who are recommended to us by people we know and trust. Whether you’re looking for someone to paint your kitchen, or you’d like to take on a new coach, you’re more likely to ask a neighbour or friend who they would recommend. Far more likely to ask for a recommendation than just looking online for someone who can fix your problem.
Encourage your contacts to refer and recommend you to potential clients. Do this by looking after them to your best ability and providing them with a world class service. Then, when someone does recommend you, say thank you properly. I like to send a hand written ‘Thank you’ card to anyone who recommends me to a potential client. As and when that prospect becomes a client, I send a thank you gift. This could be flowers, champagne, chocolates, or a voucher to be spent on something that I know the referrer will love. Something personal and something specific to them.
- Show up in front of potential clients. For people to trust you, they really need to see the whites of your eyes. They need to meet you at a networking event, shake your hand (or wave to you online) and have a chat with you. They need to hear you speak – either in a one minute introduction to what you do, or in longer talks. These talks are not just for you to tell people how great you are – that won’t help you to build trust and relationships. Speaking at networking events is about sharing your knowledge and expertise with your audience. Provide content and advice, being as generous as you can. The last time I checked, over 50% of my current clients came to me as a result of hearing me speak at a networking event.
- Give away your content. Content can be written, in the form of email newsletters, blogs and social media posts. It can take the form of videos and podcasts. You can even provide content through a mix of these forms. Your written newsletter can be turned into a recorded video or podcast. I consider top quality content to be the essential back up to generating referrals and then speaking at networking events. When someone is recommended to you, chances are they will first look you up online. Let them find great content that shows off your expertise and generosity. This will encourage them to actually pick up the phone and call you. After a prospect has met you at a networking event, they will also look you up online. Give them great content and they are more likely to follow up with you and want to start building a relationship with you.
Cold calling doesn’t work because it doesn’t allow you to build a relationship with a potential client. You could spend hours trawling through a list of prospects, calling them up, telling them how great you are at what you do … But without first meeting them or being recommended to them, or even finding out if they need what you can provide, your hours will be wasted. Better to spend your time, energy and budget doing a great job for your clients and encouraging them to recommend you. Invest in time at networking events and speaking to audiences. Get good at giving away fabulous content to anyone who wants it.
Do just these three things and you’ll be able to build a successful service business, without ever having to cold call anyone!