Fear of the Cold Call. Rx for Ad Agencies

July 10, 2009

cold callFor most individuals within an advertising agency, there is nothing more feared than the new business cold call. Well, if you have done your homework, are mentally prepared, and know what to expect then it’s not that hard. Here is a suggested cure for that dreaded ‘cold call’!

In a recent new business presentation, Cleve Langdon shared the following statistics about cold calling. He said that 20% say “go away as I am happy with my agency”. 20% will tell you that they are about to fire their agency, and 60% are not sure. That means a full 80% of the people you call could possibly end up being a new business opportunity. That cold call is starting look a less intimidating.

While not everyone has the mindset or ability to be successful at cold calling, here are a few tips to help make it easier for you and help improve your hit ratio:

  • Do your homework and prepare before calling. It’s a lot easier if you prepare yourself mentally, do your homework and run through the available research. Decide what it is you want to say and what‘s the key message you want to communicate. Less is more, focus your words and listen for clues at the same time. You are not delivering a public service message.
  • Use sales management software and keep a contact log. Keep track of all your calls. Limit leaving voice messages to no more than two a week. Keep trying to call and if you get VM all the time just hang up and try again.(I have known instances where it took no less than 150 calls to finally make contact with the client and get the first meeting set up)  Avoid Mondays and Fridays as Tuesday through Thursdays are usually better. There seem to be less distractions and its is generally easier to contact them.
  •  Experiment with shoulder hours. I have had good success calling during shoulder hours. (7.30 -9.00am and 5 – 6.30pm) Often the person is alone and at their desk and the more senior person tends to answer their own phones during those hours.
  • Get to know the Gatekeeper. Personal assistants are very influential and can either make your life easier or impossible. Getting to know then on a first name basis often helps.
  • Establish a routine. Rather than haphazard calling, set yourself a routine and stick to it. The discipline will help you focus and be more consistent in your efforts.
  • If you get the opportunity, get off your butt and get on a plane. At the slightest hint of an opportunity get on a plane and go and meet with them. It’s much easier to do business with someone you have met and like. It’s also harder to turn away the same person. Technology is great, personal relationships are even greater.
  • Follow through and call back. So many agencies send out materials, say that they will follow up and then never do. Always follow through and do not give up until you are told to do so. Tenacity pays.