As a professional salesperson cold calling is a necessary part of life. To make sure we’re clear cold calling in this article refers to telephone prospecting.
Picking up the phone and dialing.
I personally have been cold calling for my entire professional career and have developed a strong affinity towards it.
Maybe its because I have a thick skin, maybe it’s because I’ve been doing it for so long, or maybe it’s simply because I don’t believe it’s something to fear.
But I understand not all feel that way. And many sales people hate cold calling. Whether that’s true or not it is still a function of the job and one that must be done.
What many sales reps don’t realize is that cold calling is not a just a numbers game. Timing matters. WHEN you call can be just as important as how often.
If you need an example of why timing is important in cold calling just think of the last time you were having dinner and a marketer called. How willing were you to hear their message?
The same concept applies to B2B cold calling with the exception that instead of a husband or wife as the gatekeeper you have secretaries, receptionists, assistants,and lackeys that are all but trained in the art of keeping you from their decision maker.
In this post I’m going to share one of my favorite tips when it comes to cold calling. And that is timing. By using the below tips I think you’ll be able to increase your cold calling effectiveness to help you stand out on the sales leaderboards.
Early Birds Catch The Worms
There are many benefits to waking up early in the day. And although I am more of a night owl than early bird, I’ll often set aside time for the early hours to prospect. There are often days which require me to be up for a 6am phone conference with my HQ (located in Ohio) and afterwards I use the extra time for some early morning prospecting.
Grab a cup of coffee and I’m good to go.
One of the reasons this is a great time for cold calling is because most gatekeepers don’t arrive in the office until around 8am or 9am. This is the case for most hourly employees. I’ve found it to be true for many high level executive assistants as well.
Because you are calling B2B companies you have much more leeway in the hours that you call. I say you are more than welcome to start calling at 5am however that is so early in the day you may not get many live responses. But by all means, do what you think works. Give it a try. Prove me wrong. I would love to hear your story. But until then I suggest 6:30am to 8am as the most opportune time for morning cold calling.
This is because many high level decision makers do not work normal 9-5 jobs. They are very busy people and often are some of the first into the office.
They do this because they love their company. Not only for the monetary rewards that help support their families but for the decisions they make that help support and grow their company.
And when their assistant is out many CEOs, CFOs, etc answer their own phones. Preposterous I know. But you’d be surprised to know how many executives still remember how to do this.
Another reason this is a great call time is because they usually haven’t gotten into the thick of the day yet. They might still be in the process of planning their day out and haven’t yet been caught off track by those daily events that time suck.
Avoid The Lunch Rush
“Lunch time” is another great time for cold calling. Again gatekeepers are usually out or away from the phones since they are often hourly employees and are required by law (at least in California) to take breaks.
Unlike the professional sales person and average CEO, they do not often eat lunch at their desk. And unlike the above example of calling during dinner time, most decision makers eating at their desk are often simply reading the news or on social media so they have a little time to spare and talk.
Avoid Rush Hour
I’m lucky enough to work from home so I don’t have to deal with a daily commute to and from an office location. I tend to be able to schedule my appointments for when I can avoid the worse traffic problems.
Many decision makers do not have that luxury and defer to one of three choices at the end of the day. Go home and sit in rush hour traffic, go to the local pub (not always a bad idea), or stay and work a little later.
When you’re running a company were do you feel your time could best be spent? At work of course.
When A Story Hits
Besides the time of day there are often events that make it a good time to cold call. I would always try to keep the above time frames in mind but these are especially effective moments to call a prospect.
There are many avenues that you can use to find this information but the ones I prefer are Google Alerts, LinkedIn, and my local business journals.
Google Alerts is the easiest and most effective tool to use in my opinion. Simply set up an alert for “as it happens” for your prospect name and you’ll receive an email whenever Google picks up a news event about that company.
Note: If your prospect company has a common word or phrase in it you might want to include it in quotation marks. I have a Google Alert set up for my company MRI Software. Without the quotation marks I’d often get alerts about stories related to MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) which was not really what I was looking for.
These are just some ideas to help make your cold calling more effective but I want to hear from you. What other times or moments have you found to be effective or appropriate for cold calling? I’d love to get your input.
~ Johnny Bravo
Image courtesy of renjith krishnan/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net