Why cold calling is damn difficult for small businesses

by yiye

Imagine you are a girl, which is a lot easier if you already are one, and you are looking for a life partner. What’s the best way to attract a partner? Perhaps turn up at places that you and your ideal man would have common interests. Get yourself out there, if men like you, they will ask you out and get to know you more. Once you build up an initial bond, maybe you two decide to see each other. During this period, you both work on your connection, understanding each other better and more importantly – as much as you want each other, you also want to know if the other is the right one for you. If things work out, gradually you guys might decide to get married.

Or, would you knock up a random guy’s door and asking if he wants to blind date? If you are lucky and he agrees to go on this date with you, would you keep talking and telling him how great you are? Then expect him to propose to you that night?

There are some psychological similarities between finding your partner, your client or a job. Cold calling is perhaps the least effective or charming way. When it comes to forming a connection, cold calling is against human nature. As soon as you pick up the phone, the other side will feel that they have been interrupted instead of appreciated.

People might say that surely cold calling still works, that’s why this method has been around for decades. Yes, but the beneficiaries of this method are the big corporates, which have established brands already. It is just like that if a celebrity cold-calls you for a blind date, you are so much more likely to agree to go especially if you do like him/her. However, even if you had a one night stand, it doesn’t guarantee you will have an on-going relationship.

As a small business owner, take a look at your stats, how many cold-calls you need to make in order to convert to a sale? If it is less than say 20%, then you really need to focus on building a long lasting relationship instead. You need to know where your potential clients go, who are they? Better, can you picture an ideal client profile? Get yourself out there and network with them, doesn’t matter virtually or physically.

An ongoing relationship is a mutual thing, you also need to be brutal to decide who you absolutely DON’T want to serve, this is equally important as it will save you tons of headaches down the road. You might ask, what if I don’t have any sales at the moment, I just want to get any clients to pay for the bills?! Well, research and case studies have shown that it works better if you have a list of preferred clients/projects that you want to work for/on, offer to work for free, boost your portfolio and win more projects down the road, instead of grabbing anything, anyone. I didn’t believe it initially either, but that’s also what my personal experiences have shown me.

Read my truth story: lessons and truth on starting my business (year one)

 

signature, yiye zhang

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