Micro-Entrepreneurship For Dummies
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Cold calls (telephone sales) for your micro-entrepreneurial business is more than a phone call to a stranger. Cold calls, when done successfully, can open up new business and avenues of revenue for your micro-entrepreneurial business.

Cold calling is also canvassing and prospecting, and it may entail face-to-face selling, too. Cold calling has taken several forms over the years, including door-to-door and face-to-face at events, such as trade shows and conferences. No matter the form it takes, these tips can help you have greater success when cold calling.

Know your prospects before you cold call

Before you call or email any prospects, you need to know who you’re calling and why what you offer is right for them. The more you know about who you’re calling, the greater your chances of a successful call.

Even basic information, such as their occupation, their demographics (Millenial, Gen X, Baby Boomer), and their interests can help. The more you can craft your message to them and what is likely to interest them, the better for you.

Set up the cold call before you phone

Breaking the ice before you call can help. You can send a brochure, catalogue, sales information, or other form of communication via direct mail or email before the cold call. Doing so can help set up the call and make it a little less . . . cold.

Get the prospect’s attention during the cold call’s first 15 seconds

You have approximately 15 seconds to get the prospect to decide whether to continue the call or not. In that short amount of time, you need to communicate a strong benefit to them personally of what you offer and excite the prospect with value and/or savings.

For example, you can focus on the product’s value: “For struggling homeowners, this could lower payments, avoid bankruptcy, and give you more income by at least $500 per month.” Or you can focus on what the prospect can save: “This program can save you $2,000 over what you’re currently doing.”

Be like your cold call prospect

Studies have shown that most people are comfortable with dealing with like-minded folks. If you’re a single mom, you’re more likely to have a conducive conversation with another single mom than if you’re a retired gentleman.

Of course, if you aren’t a single mom, then at the very least you should become familiar with words, phrases, and topics that resonate with a prospect who is a single mom.

Sharing the same language isn’t just a linguistic thing; when you communicate like your prospect (with the same style and content, you’ll have an easier time making a connection during the conversation). Focus on using the same language and approach that your prospect uses to enhance your chances of success.

Ask for an action during the cold call

When talking with your prospect, keep moving forward toward a sale, even if a buying decision isn’t rendered at that moment. Ask if you can call back at a later time or if you can email him further information.

Many times a prospect isn’t really saying “no thanks,” Many times he’s saying “no thanks . . . for now.” You may be able to be successful at a later point when you become more familiar.

Use a script for cold calls

Make sure you write out a script so you know what you’ll say and where to go in the conversation. You don’t want to leave the conversation to chance until you’re very proficient with cold calling.

In your script, identify the main points (such as benefits and features) and have them ready. List the benefits in order of how powerful and relevant they are to the prospect.

If you’re talking to a prospect who is an auto mechanic, be ready with a benefit that would resonate immediately. For example, you could say, “This would save your business 100 man-hours of work per month, which can easily save you more than $7,400 in production costs per year in your garage.”

The script should also list answers to the most common objections that prospects usually bring up. If the prospect says your product or service is too expensive, be ready to explain how your product or service can actually save money over the long haul.

Besides listing benefits and responses to common objections, have all the necessary details of the product/service available at your fingertips. Finally, have paper nearby so you can jot down points the prospect makes. What you learn from one call (either good or bad) can help you succeed in the next call.

When someone calls you on the phone to sell you something, pay attention to how she started the call. What did she say and how did she say it? Be aware of how you’re sold to and take note of what you thought was effective and what turned you off.

When you get better at cold calling, you can potentially make a micro-entrepreneurial business out of it. Many businesses pay for cold calling. Telephone sales positions are some of the most resilient jobs in any market-based economy, no matter how good or bad the economy is.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Paul Mladjenovic is a certified financial planner, micro-entrepreneur, and home business educator with more than 25 years' experience writing and teaching about financial and business start-up topics. He owns RavingCapitalist.com and is also the author of Stock Investing For Dummies.

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