In 2009 I worked with a client developing a B2B (Business to Business) cold call presentation. We tracked the results and discovered several things. Not the least of which was that warm calls made a huge difference.

  1. Targeting the audience mattered. Some industries were more open to conversing about their needs.
  2. Leads were hard to generate. An appointment rate (appointments to connects) of 3.4 % of the calls was the best we could muster.
  3. Make it easy for the prospect. A presentation geared toward the prospects specific needs had the best results.
  4. Build trust through an introduction. An introduction took the appointment rate from 3% to more than 20%.

Target Your Audience

Although the client I worked with on cold calling had products that fit nearly any organization, we did much better when we focused on specific industries. We identified the businesses top 100 customers from the previous year and found more than 75 % were from one industry. When we put all of our efforts into contacting organizations from that industry out numbers improved.

Leads Aren’t Easy to Get

Before we began, I informed my client that if we reached 5 % confirmed leads it would be outstanding. I didn’t want them to be disappointed or give up before we got started. Not meeting unrealistic expectations is a sure way to stymy any new venture.

Think Prospect First

The presentation we developed was more of an outline than a word for word presentation. I wanted the staff to be able to respond to prospects needs as a human being, not a scripted actor or robot. The presentation began with an introduction, the person’s name, and the company, and then we asked permission to speak. Some simply asked if the prospect had a moment to talk. I used, “Am I taking you away from 100 things? Do you have a moment or would another time be better?” If someone is busy they’re not going to listen to you; they’re looking for a way to get rid of you. If someone gives you permission to continue there’s a much better chance they’ll listen to what you have to share. Next, we asked the prospect about their needs, what problems they faced, and how we might help.

Name Dropping Works

As I mentioned earlier an introduction, a warm call makes all the difference. But how do you procure introductions?

Ask Satisfied Customers to Help You

“Do customers thank you for superior work, solving problems, servicing your product, or correcting a mistake? When they do what do you say? “No, I thank you!” OK—nothing wrong with that, but you need to take it one step further. When your customer thanks you for the great job you and your company did, it’s time to ask for referrals. Look your customer in the eye and say, “Thank you, we try our best to meet our customer’s needs, may I ask, who do you know who might use our services and deserves to be treated this way?” I’m not big on verbatim scripts – so put it in your own words, but take the time to ask.” How to get more Leads without working any Harder.

Share Reviews

If you have good reviews from industry leaders, share them. “Are you familiar with Mary Doe from ABC Company? May I share what she had to say about us?”  How important are Reviews for your Business?

Use Social Media

All social networks have the potential to help your business. However, I‘ve found LinkedIn to be the most productive social network for gaining business introductions. “At least once per month, review LinkedIn’s People You May Know, and add the people you do know. Reach out to customers, vendors, and others in your industry and add them. Business in the 21st– century changes fast, young people expect to change jobs. More than ever, today’s competitor may be tomorrow’s customer, and your contact at a small firm may end up as a decision maker at an organization you’ve always wanted to connect with. Wouldn’t it be sad if you lost touch with them and didn’t know?” How to Reach your Linkedin Networking potential.

Traditional Networking

Would you like to know what question I ask at networking events that has garnered me countless introductions? Before I ask my question I introduce myself and get to know a little about who I‘m talking to and then I ask, “What person, business, or industry would you like to be introduced to?” The majority of the time people reciprocate and ask me the same. Everything you ever wanted to know about Networking.

Let Me Introduce You

If you want to improve your lead generation numbers, quit making cold calls and concentrate on asking for introductions. We’re all looking for businesses and people we can trust. One of the best methods of building a trusting business relationship is to begin it with an introduction. So let me ask you, who can I introduce you to?

Photo credit: Foter.com