If you’re like me then the first thing you thought of when it came to cold calling is.. “AHHHHHHH” and I always just chose to resort to cold emailing... that was the safe option. But as time went on I realized that in essence cold calling is the art of approaching someone, professionally, openly and meaningfully, with a sensible proposition. So to make cold calls more appealing we need to stop thinking of them as COLD calls and start thinking of them as “introductory” calls instead.
I also found that in this digital age and the days of ever decreasing attention spans, my emails were simply being either skimmed or even ignored completely. So how do I combine the two?
All you are trying to do is introduce yourself and your product, which you love and believe in 100%, to the prospect. So you have to be sure you keep a realistic and most importantly, POSITIVE attitude about this type of business development activity! Also know that phone prospecting takes longer to pay off than other types of marketing efforts, so go into it knowing you’re exploring a new frontier, and it’s going to take some time to get results.
Just as with any marketing method, you should never cold call or email without a plan. So I’ve put together my little version of a guide action packed with clear-cut advice on how to combine cold calling and cold emailing to generate the most opportunities to secure that Sponsorship Package you’re looking for!
STEP 1: DO THE GROUND WORK
Do your homework and profile your prospects – Knowledge is confidence!
Who are the main sponsors you’re seeking the Sponsorship Package from? Try to find out everything you can about them. The more you know, not only will you be more confident you will be when calling them but you will also be able to tailor your pitch based on your knowledge.
If you don’t have the decision maker’s full contact details then call the general number given. Asking a few simple questions will give you quick insight into how the company operates while helping you avoid frustrating mishaps like reaching out to the wrong person or sending an email to someone who no longer works at the company. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there…
Quick tip: I use OUTREACH AND CONTACTOUT.COM TO CAPTURE PROSPECTS’ INFO AND CORRESPONDENCE.
STEP 2: MAKING THE CONNECTION
Now that you know who you will be talking to, it’s time to draft up that initial email. Though I found that attempting to connect with your prospect on LinkedIn before emailing out of the blue, helps humanize your message, especially if you’ve taken the time to optimize your LinkedIn profile for the cause.
Your first email should be brief and to the point. Think of it as the trailer to your movie. Pique their interest in your first outreach email, make them want to hear more about what you have to offer. You can achieve that by tweaking each mail to suit that particular prospect. Think of what is important to them and give them short highlights of what they could get out of a partnership with you.
Quick tip (from DATANYZE): reference the person you spoke with over the phone.. show them that you’ve done your research and are emailing them based on the instructions you received from their coworker.
STEP 3: THE YES, THE NO, AND THE MAYBE
There are three options of a reply from a prospect, “yes, let’s have a chat about your sponsorship package”, “No, we’re not interested at this time”, or the “maybe.. send me some more info”.
I usually offer either way of communication, phone call or via mail, in my initial email. Leaving the decision of how they would like to communicate up to them. When a prospect says yes to a meeting via email, I recommend continuing the conversation over email. For the prospects who say no, for me it usually means “Not now”.. treat it like that and continue to “be present” (but not too much). I also suggest sending.. “what’s new at..” “we’ve had great success that may interest you”.. type emails periodically, that may peak their interest to start up the conversation again – turning that initial NO into a YES PLEASE!
And so that leaves us with the maybes.. These are the scenarios where your prospect has either asked for more info or answered something like.. “it’s bad timing”.. “not enough budget”.. “I don’t really understand what you’re offering”.. “i’m not a decision maker”.. etc. In these situations I find it’s always best to simply pick up the phone and call. By calling, you’re saving both you and your prospect the endless email back and forth, while giving yourself the opportunity to get to the bottom of your prospect’s indecision and make a legitimate case for your product.
STEP 4: THE NOW ‘NOT SO COLD’ CALL
Relax.. you have now officially warmed up your cold call and no longer are calling out of the blue!…
But now you need to make sure you nail the call!
1. Avoiding the “Ummm”s…
Write down what you are going to say, what responses the prospect is likely to have and how you will reply to them. No, you’re not going to follow this word for word, but if you’re nervous about making calls, it helps to have something in front of you. Chances are, after you get beyond the opening sentences, you’ll be able to keep the conversation flowing just fine.
2. Listen and ask
You want to really demonstrate that the focus is all on what the prospect’s goals are. Let’s face it, if your event doesn’t match their marketing objectives then that sponsorship package will not seem that interesting to them. Try to extract what is important to them FIRST, so that you can tailor your pitch to their needs.
3. Take lots of notes
This is your opportunity to gather some GREAT information for future calls! learn from each prospect as they can give you great insight into their point of view. Apply your notes to future activities and even when strategizing new sponsorship packages.
Cold calling doesn’t have to be that awfully scary experience that you have to dread. It’s a great opportunity to use all the tools in your toolbox in order to stand out from the pack and reach your prospects on a more personal level. Listen out to what your prospects have to say, change your attitude to positive and drive those sponsorship sales through the roof!
Have you got any tips of your own about cold calling/emailing best practices?? We would love to hear about them and compile a guide with your input! Write to me: firstname.lastname@example.org with your tips!
We’ve got some more great articles coming up about, finding the right person to approach about sponsorship, how to use LinkedIn to sell your sponsorship package and How to write a tailored sponsorship proposal! Watch this space for great upcoming content!