Cold calls are probably the worst thing about sales. As architects, engineers, and construction professionals, the sales experts tell us the more cold calls you make, the more leads you will acquire. While that is true, because it’s a numbers game, it’s also an uphill battle. Even sales professionals, like myself, dread the cold call. They aren’t fun. You don’t want to do them and the person doesn’t want to receive them.
I would suggest a warm call or an introduction when trying to set up an appointment with a prospect. Putting together your target list with company names and specific individuals is the first step. Once you have put together your VERY targeted list, then you can take the next steps to set those appointments up.
Research. Research. Research. You must research your prospects but also who they are connected with. Visiting the company website and searching online for more information about your prospect are also good ways to discover more information about your prospect. The best place to discover this information is on LinkedIn. More than likely you are only 1 connections, at the most 2 connections, away from your prospect. By asking one of your connections for an introduction, this allows for a better success rate of setting up that appointment. Referrals are the best way to your prospects. Having someone sing your praises and recommend you is WAAAAAAAY easier than just picking up the phone and leaving a message. (By the way, NEVER leave a message with a prospect.)
In my business, I have a very targeted market, architects, engineers, and construction professionals who want help with their business development and marketing strategies. It’s that simple. I make a list of those individuals who are the decision makers (targeted contacts) who I need to set an appointment. After making my list, I start the research to find out who of my connections can give me an introduction. (Introductions are most successful if you can do a face-to-face meetings with the shared connection. You are almost twice as likely to get the follow up appointment utilizing this route. If this is not feasible, then a phone call or email introduction is the next best thing.) Once I determine who that shared connection is, I will suggest they tell my prospect how I’ve helped them (if it’s a current or past client) or how they’ve seen me help my clients. This gives you instant credibility. Remember to THANK your connection for the introduction.
Once you have set the appointment with your prospect, then proceed with your sales process. Take your prospect through your sales pipeline. The sales cycle in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry can be quite long, so you must be patient and persistent. Your business development efforts will not see fruition immediately, but know with accountability, determination, and a good attitude, you will start to see your hard work pay off in time. Utilize your existing connections and avoid the cold call. No one likes cold calls anyhow.