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Cold Calling clients?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by DaveGears86, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. DaveGears86

    DaveGears86 Member

    I've never liked it and I hate doing it!

    In my eyes, cold calling is a lost cause as the people who answer the phone are never responsible for the actual website (as they are just employees and end up brushing you off). Besides, it is VERY annoying and I wouldn't do it if I didn't need to but desperate times cause for desperate measures.

    It does feel like my only option at the moment as I have not established a credible clientele yet and I am worried that I will never be able to! So I am here to ask ...

    How did you establish a clientele/find cllients? .. by friends? industry contacts?

    did cold calling pay off for you?

    Any advice would be very welcome as I feel as though I am at a dead end, I'm driving myself crazy trying to find my next client!

    Thanks
     
  2. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Cold calling a reception desk is about as much use as chatting up a bird because you fancy her mate. If you want to do business with company you firstly need to know about that company, what they do and who they do it for. And then you need to find out who it is within that business that you actually need to do business with. If you can get to the right person and convince them that you can save them money and/or make them more money, then thats 1/2 the battle won. Plus when you know what it is you can actually do to improve another business, it doesn't so much like cold calling.

    I know a bloke who walked into high street shop to get a battery for his watch, and while he was there told the owner that the company is losing £X,XXX a year in online sales because his site lacked A, B and C... and walked out with a new battery and a £5k e-commerce deal. Just through researching the business and the people behind it. That's a very rare occurrence and involved a great deal of luck and fast talking but it does show what can be achieved with a bit of background research.
     
  3. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    With regard to the rest of your post about finding clients, there's been hundreds of posts on the forum about this and it always comes down to 2 things. Exploitation of your existing contacts and networking to make new contacts.
     
  4. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    Easier than cold calling is 'warm' calling. Send potential clients a letter/leaflet/gift (I have sent a mini box of smarties in the past) and then follow up with a call. Your first cold-call will be a name-finding call -nothing else. eg. "Just updating my contact list and want to send some information to the right person about my company..." Most of the warm- calls will still fall on deaf-ears but business is about establishing a relationship and getting your name in front of the right person at the right time.
     
  5. printbar

    printbar Active Member

    There's a third thing: common sense. You presumably know what would and wouldn't work on you, and that should be a guideline.

    When I was involved with another start up a few years back one of the guys running it insisted that everyone needed to be making cold calls - finding out what businesses there were in each city and approaching them alphabetically (!) The thing was, we couldn't very well tell him that nobody liked this approach, because he bloody loved it! In the end he was buying unnecessary 'seo' just to prove that the cold call approach worked....
     
  6. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    The latest thoughts are about driving people who want your services to your website by having 'useful articles' and posts on your site or your blog. Although I have some useful bits on my website I suspect they are looked at by other designers/printers etc. Most of my clients have come via networking.
     
  7. Minuteman Press

    Minuteman Press Moderator

    In the early days we went out and knocked on business doors - 45% quotation rate - 8% of quotations converted - good if you have time to spare - as we did back then.
     
  8. ARRIVALS

    ARRIVALS Well-Known Member

    Good point here. I can't stand getting cold called for anything. Broadband, some new credit card, car insurance etc... Usually the call ends pretty swiftly with me pretending to be an answering machine.

    I don't like it, and I'm sure most business people out there don't either. If a client wants a designer, and you're good enough, they'll go to you. If you have to ring and persuade them they need a designer, you're starting in a bad place as they're really not that bothered and may end up not investing time and effort into it, ultimately resulting in not paying or becoming un-contactable.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  9. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    But they have to know that you are there.

    If you have already got your name on their desk, on their wall, in their business card book, in their mind - then they might call you before Googling 'designer'. Networking and leafleting have to be a good way to start.
     
  10. ARRIVALS

    ARRIVALS Well-Known Member

    Indeed. But for me, cold-calling isn't the way to do that. I usually send a business card with a letter to someone I want to work with. They will always open mail, especially if it doesn't look like junk mail. Then your card is on their table. They can quite easily ignore a phone call, or forget your name once a call is finished.

    Networking is brilliant. Especially when they take away your business card.

    :icon_thumbup:
     
  11. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Most annoying thing about networking events is discovering that about 25% of the room are also Graphic Designers / Web Designers / Multimedia Designers, and that they've been coming to this particular event every week for 12 months so have sown up the opportunity for any business.
     
  12. DaveGears86

    DaveGears86 Member

    thanks for all the responses guys, some brilliant advice and stories of lessons to learn. I even took it one step further today and visited one of my local high streets ...Cold calling in person

    As I expected, a lot of the stores already had websites in place, a small number had websites under construction (I was just a few weeks too late!) and two companies said they would be closing down in the year and had no need for my service (ouch!)

    out of all the in-store approaches I made, only two business owners seemed interested and asked some questions (better than I expected).

    Hopefully something will come from this but I have fulfilled my main objective of the day which was to return home with zero business cards (a small win I know), I will definetly cold call in person where possible rather than using the phone in the future.

    As a few of you have said, atleast they have my business card on their table!
     
  13. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Most importantly, they have met you! In future they may not remember you instantly but a quick "hello, how you doing? hows business" at a FSB meeting or local networking do, will break the ice nicely for you to get to know them on a professional level away from their business.
     
  14. Minuteman Press

    Minuteman Press Moderator

    The difference with knocking on doors is that your competitors don't do it. Folks are swamped by email with offers of web design, SEO, debt collection, energy saving, web hosting - how does the potential client understand the difference / can they be bothered?

    Meeting someone face to face and quickly deciding that they appear capable, motivated and likeable will stick in the mind.
     
  15. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Don't know how this would translate to this scenario but one of the smartest 'foot in the door' ruses I ever heard (I think it was some doofus on the last series of The Apprentice now I think about it) was a guy who turned up in reception at some company or other and said he had an important package that had to be signed for by the director so they had to bring him/her down to the front desk and that's when he unloaded with his pitch. I can easily see how such trickery would tick a lot of people off but in the anecdote I heard the person in question was impressed with the initiative taken and he got his meeting there and then.
     
  16. printbar

    printbar Active Member

    Yeah, it's great when it works. But for every person that admires your balls (in the least sexual way possible) there'll be 99 who think you're a prick (again, in the least sexual way possible).

    That being said, sometimes you've got to go big or go home. Last week I came within an ace of losing one of my biggest clients. Now (assuming that details don't do for me) I'm picking up the work for their entire group. All on the basis of an email born out of 'what the fuck? I'm dead anyway, might as well go out in a blaze'
     
  17. dugdale

    dugdale New Member

    I hired a professional telemarketing specialist to do my cold calling for me, they have managed to book 6 appointments for me to go into within the first week of starting the calling.
    They are very professional and they sent me a script for my peace of mind which was very good and then they started calling on the same day that I verified the script, they called potential clients on my companies behalf with a very professional manner.
    It has worked wonders for my business so far.
     
  18. marketingquotes

    marketingquotes New Member

    Hi There Dave,

    Just read this thread and the responses, so thought I would add a little to the discussion...

    Cold calling is hard work, no-one will deny that, however it can be very powerful and productive. If you combine cold calling with other forms of marketing (visitors to your site, an e-mail shot, a follow up on a mailshot etc.) as mentioned above, then it can be even more effective.

    There are around 700 cold calling/telemarketing companies around the UK - so it must work still :)

    Drop me a PM if you need any help - happy to give you some pointers if you need.

    Regards,

    Marketing Quotes Support
     
  19. DaveGears86

    DaveGears86 Member

    A lot of interesting facts/stories, I guess the only thing to do is keep plugging and to attempt different and innovative ways of getting attention/business

    thanks all
     
  20. Lukeadams001

    Lukeadams001 New Member

    Hi, I started out a digital agency last year, we don't really do website, more systems to generate leads and conversions. Cold calling is tough...why... Because its cold. I call it hope marketing. Your throwing a load of xxx against the wall and hoping something sticks.

    The subject is a speciality of mine and is something you need to be familiar with, but you do not need to be an expert in.
    There are a number of strategies to implement. What to do and where to start depends on the kind of income your after, but let's say your happy with £70-£80k. My suggestion is to niche down. So for example specialise in websites for restaurants. Cold calling a load of the same niche will give you knowledge of the industry as you throw stuff against the wall of hope.
    Join forums of the niche. Engage and offer help. Don't sell.
    Optimise your page for your niche so your on page one of google. Remember if your site is on page one of google and someone finds you, then the prospect is looking for your service so they are warm leads.
    Create a value offer on your site. So I for example offer a free guide on how to get traffic to your site.
    Set up landing pages. So you have your main site... Then multiple landing pages for the different niches. Eg websites for law firms..offer the value free report "Learn the 7 big web mistakes that are costing your firm to miss out on clients", They enter details for the report and now you have a propspect.
    Email market the new prospect with an auto responder.
    Create value products they can buy. This is essential to get out the time v money trap. This is marketed on autopilot via the auto responder to your list. Eg, I sell how to get your site to page one of google without paying for SEO. Anyone who can't afford my service buys my video course,
    It typically takes 7 points of contact for people, to buy. So be patient, but importantly systemise. And get into a habit.
    Get an fb fan page to use as your free community building platform.
    Twitter is also good, and you can search for jobs needed.
    Linked in is my favourite for b2b sales. But they are all good.


    I think that is enough for starters.

    Best wishes

    Luke
     

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