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December 18, 2017

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Warm Up Your Cold Calls

Is making cold calls the favorite part of your day? For most non-recruiters (and many recruiters), this rates just below a dental visit on peopleís list of the favorite ways to spend their time. If you tend to procrastinate when it comes to marketing then this article is for you.

There are many obvious reasons for people's resistance to making cold calls. Some are valid (it takes a pro-active effort on your part) and some are self-created ("I'm scared to call this guy"). First off, Iíd recommend changing the phrase "Cold call" to something more interesting such as "Business development call" so that it doesnít sound so chilly.

In the simplest terms, your purpose in making a marketing call is to see if you can help your prospect solve a problem and if so to let him know how. Think of marketing calls as a venue to open a dialogue with someone and ideally a relationship. There are many good training materials on the tactics of making a marketing call: what script to use, how to get past the gatekeeper etc. This is very useful information but what I have found through working with recruiters is that this alone will not be enough motivation for them to stay motivated over time.

My suggestion is that you need to find a way to put more of who you really are (your personality) into each call so that it will not be "just another sales call" in your mind- or in your prospective client's mind. There is no steadfast rule that says you have to check your personality at the door and become a robot when you are contacting a client. Your prospect can sense very quickly the difference between a mindless sales call and a call from a genuine, professional person who wants to help them solve a problem.

There is no one way to do this and in fact you will probably want to develop many so that you don't get bored. Being different than the other 20 recruiters they got a call from this week is a necessity if you want to stand out. Humor is always a good approach. If you have the personality for it you could say, "Hi, Iím an executive recruiter, would you like to hang up now"? This one is a bit out there but it may spark an idea on how to tweak your approach. You could also be known as the "Un-salesy recruiting firm" by telling people up front, "At my firm we donít pressure people and we donít chase people. We view ourselves as service providers rather than salespeople." Another way would be to call a hiring authority and conduct a survey or interview in order to open the relationship.

When you are looking for a way to make marketing calls more enjoyable, make sure that you believe strongly in the things you are saying. If you don't, neither will your prospect. Use a script as a jumping off point or a fall back in case you choke up but try to become natural and unscripted as soon as you can. Other "Back door" methods are also effective such as conducting exceptional reference checks with key hiring authorities or actually approaching them regarding whether or not you can help them with their career at first and then exploring whether they have any needs you can help them with. The best form of marketing by far is to be referred by a very satisfied client to one of their peers.

Here are some steps for executing cold calls without procrastination:

  1. Sense and diffuse any pressure that you perceive the client may feel by addressing it directly.

  2. Let them know that you may or may not be able to help them but you would like to open a dialogue to find out. This is honest and instantly diffuses pressure.

  3. Ask quality questions to determine whether or not you can add value for them.

  4. Get to the truth as to whether they have an interest early in the process. Donít chase.

When I coach people on making marketing calls I look at both the tactical skills involved as well as the originality and genuineness that will make it more enjoyable over time.

-Gary Stauble
Gary Stauble is the principal consultant for The Recruiting Lab, a coaching company that assists Firm Owners and Solo Recruiters in generating more profit in less time. His free monthly e-zine, "Creative Recruiting" is designed to help you to attract premium clients, generate more profit, and still be home in time for dinner. Subscribe today at www.therecruitinglab.com or via email to subscribe@therecruitinglab.com. His new audio program, "How to Overcome Cold Call Reluctance" is also available online. For more information or to schedule a complimentary coaching session, visit the site or call 408-847-5049.