Hey guys, I've been using kijiji and craigslist to get find some initial clients but they've proven to be poor ways of finding the clients I want to find. They're either expecting $500 for a full site with all the bells and whistles or the promising ones I did come into contact with required things beyond my current capabilities (Lots of backend stuff) and I'm not comfortable with outsourcing that work. So I figure it's best to define who my ideal customer is and to cold call them (I'm thinking something like restaurants there are thousands of them without websites within 25 miles of me). So what are your tips for starting/selling? WHY do they need a website? What concrete results can the expect? (I also offer SEO and SMM but that's a separate sales pitch I think).
This is a script from "The Idiot's Guide to Cold Calling". Supposedly he's one of the most renowned cold calling experts whatever that means! Each line has its reasoning behind it. It requires some tweaking to sound like me but I think it's okay.
Hi, John. Jim here from Acme Cost Control.
Did I catch you at an OK time?
John, I'm sure you're busy and I want to respect your time, so I'll be brief.
The reason for my call is this. We just saved Universal Transport an additional $12 million in shipping costs, so I thought it was important enough to let you know, since every company has an obligation to their customers and shareholders to reduce expenses.
Now, you may be wondering if we can do this for you, too. Well, depending on what you're currently doing, I don't know if you have a need for our services.
But with your permission, lets talk for a few minutes to determine if there is anything we're doing that you could benefit from.
Would you be comfortable spending just a few minutes with me on the phone now, if I stick to this timetable?
What do you do if the owner doesn't pick up and you don't know his name?
Also what do you do when they say "no thanks"? Do you try and figure out their reason i.e. time, no money at the moment? Do you call again in a few months to check in? What are the proper steps?
If they do not need it there's no point in pursuing them. You will just get the person irritated nothing else.
Off the top of my head, I can see a few problems with this approach:
You take too long to get to the point. If I was at the receiving end, the first thing I would want to know is what you were selling. Tell 'em that straight away.
Saying that you saved another company $12 million would be totally meaningless to the average restaurant. Restaurants don't think in terms of million of dollars.
In my experience of restaurants, they are nearly always too busy to take phone calls.
In many countries, cold calling is illegal.
I'm not saying you shouldn't do it. But I'd bet you could find more effective ways of selling your services.
I would have hung up at "The reason for my call is this. We just saved Universal Transport".
Cold calling sucks and it's not something I tolerate. If I don't know you then I am not interested. Same as door to door salesmen.
Quite. If someone gets half-way through their script and then admits "I don't know if we can help you or not", that's a 100% admission that they are phone-spamming, just ringing up any poor schmuck unlucky enough to answer the phone to them, and not having done any research to target appropriate businesses who they can help.
And quite frankly, I would expect any company capable of saving another company $12 million to be able to drum up business without resorting to cold calling, so if I heard that I would automatically assume the caller was a liar and a fraudster.
Thank you for the suggestions guys, I've actually tightened the script a lot more as it did sound robotic and obviously wasn't tailored to webdesign or to restaurants. (A friend actually helped me out here and he's a script writer so he helped me make it sound more natural and more to my voice :D).
Instead of talking about millions I'm talking about helping restaurants increase their tables/reservations in concrete measurable terms. I will bundle SE and SMM together and I'm really trying to focus in on conversions when I design a website.
I also realize that restaurant owners work 70+ hours and barely have time to eat so I've whittled down the script to just a few qualifying lines.
I don't believe that cold calling is illegal in Canada, especially if it's B2B. And my attitude going into this is trying to figure out if we really will fit together. But I'm open to suggestions, is there a better way to target/qualify restaurant owners or business owners? Should I be sending out flyers instead? I've been advertising on kijiji but I've gotten primarily tire kickers or people who require services beyond my abilities (I'm a front end type of guy).
And just to be clear, that script is not my script, and I'm pretty sure it's not even a webdesign script! I got it from Inc.com and it was created by a foremost "expert" in cold calling.
It sounds like these improvements in your script are heading in the right direction. But, really, the point that most of us have made is not so much that the script needs improving, but that cold-calling - especially restaurants - is not a good way to generate business.
If I was in your shoes, I would dump the cold calls, and consider doing a mail shot instead. I'm talking about an old-fashioned mail shot, using paper and envelopes and stamps.
There are several advantages. People generally find the mail less intrusive than phone calls. They can open their post at a convenient time, and therefore give it more attention. In a busy restaurant, it's more likely to find its way to the boss, rather than the person who happens to answer the phone. Above all, they will have your sales message in hard copy. If they are not currently interested in what you are selling but they think they might be in the future, they can keep the mailing as a permanent reminder.
Just something to think about.
Thank you for your suggestion Mike. I've thought about it and it makes sense. Most likely I would have gotten a whole lot of floor managers as the owners are likely to be some place else or not in the restaurant at all.
Do you have any suggestions on how I would go about mailing though? Should I design my own envelop to make it more eye catching or will they take it less seriously if it's blue and has its own quirky typography? How do I find the owners? Is it best to inquire into some sort of directory of registered business? I will do a little more research and call my local chamber of commerce to see what info they can provide. But do you have any suggestions on what I should put exactly in the mail?
I know I should put in some qualifying statements but how about something like "The ideal way to look at a website is as a form of marketing. Between 5-10% of total revenue should be devoted to it." Maybe needs more tidying but that's priming the pump for "Do they have the budget for it?".
Do you have any suggestions on how I would go about mailing though?
That's a big question. There are dozens of books and articles written about direct mail, and you would do well to find some to study the techniques.
Just a few points off the top of my head:
Keep it simple. Don't bother with fancy envelopes or inserts. Just a plain one-page letter, and perhaps a simple leaflet describing your services.
In the letter, come straight to the point. Keep it personal. Stress the benefits of whatever it is you are selling. End with a "call to action".
Make sure your letter is clean and well-presented, free of spelling mistakes, and generally well set out.
If possible, personalise the mailing. Address it to the named individual (but only if you have an up-to-date, accurate list of their names).
Triple-check that your contact details are correct.
Above all, don't expect a flood of replies. If you get replies from two or three percent of your mailing list, you will be doing well.
Thank you very much for your help, I think I've got the cold calling down (Which will still be part of my strategy) and I have a whole lot more questions when it comes to direct mailing so I think that warrants its own thread. I have read a few articles now and I have some basic idea.