Consultant Clare Ross has added some useful tips and ideas about cold calling for AEC services in a SMPS Listserve entry. He says: "Usually cold calling isonly marginally effective but. properly done,it can be another effective tool to reach targeted clients. The following are some proven tips you can use to improve your effectiveness."
COLD CALL STRATEGIES
Sometimes, there is no alternative: You must call strangers to getessential information on a new project or a new client. You also might be nervous. How do you keep those you are calling, interested? What if they don't want to talk?
Here are some strategies to help you turn leads or contacts into projects.
Send a distinctive handwritten note before you call, giving people the unusual option of declining the upcoming call.
To Write Before Calling:
* Use light-blue, monarch-size paper (about 7 inches by 10 inches) with medium-thick navy ink, It's easy to read and distinctive.
* Hand-write the letter, and hand-address the envelope. It looks professional if a printer puts your name and address on the bottom of the paper in a simple font and your return address on the back flap of the envelope.
* Address people by their first and last names (no Mr. or Ms.).
* Be brief (three paragraphs, 135 words maximum). First paragraph: introduce yourself. Second: Describe why you're contacting this person. Let him or her know how they might benefit by talking with you.Third: Say you'll be calling in a few days to ask if you could talk.
* Close with, "If you would prefer not to receive my call, please leave a message at.... Your wishes will be respected. Thank you for giving this your consideration."
* Call the contacts in about five days if they haven't called to decline. State your name and that you're calling for (first and last name). Refer to the blue note.
For Successful Phone Calls:
* Plan, but don't memorize, your calls. Think about what you'll cover and how. Have a specific objective in mind like getting an appointment or determining the extent of any upcoming construction program.
* Don 't start with the trite "how are you?" Instead, say, Hello, my name is...."
* Concisely cover vital information in the first several seconds of the call. Explain who you are, who you believe the other person is, why you're calling, how you heard about this project, what possibility you see for working together and how long this should take.
* Assess how the other person sounds. Ask if this is a convenient time.If not, suggest that you
call back at a specific time. Showing respect for a prospect's time builds your credibility.
* Establish what the other person knows about you. (" Perhaps you heard Bob talk about me, I'd like to tell you more").
* Sound strong and confident. Don 't apologize for calling.
* Help people visualize you, ("I'm calling from Atlanta ").
Clare Ross can be reached at: Strategic Sales and Marketing Consultants, The Clare Ross Organization, LLC P.O. Box 4560 Chino Valley, AZ 86323 928-776-4760 www.clarerossorganization.com.