This is something I frequently get asked and an email from Mrs AH had me promising I'd post something on this blog.
The answer is actually really simple.
Cold Calling Isn't Very Effective. At least not on it's own.
But you can do a few simple things to make it far more effective.
This is how it is done; in one sentence.
You send the recipients an email a couple of days before you phone and you ask for "permission" to phone them.
This is a form of Advanced Thinking.
Let me explain. Most people regard cold calls as intrusive. But if you give them some good advice in advance, and say you'd like to phone them in a few days if it is OK with them, then they are expecting your call.
Better still, if you get intercepted by a gatekeeper you can honestly say you arranged the call by email and that it is expected. In a large number of cases this gets you pass the gatekeeper.
So what about the advice you send them? The advice needs to address an issue they have. For example, there are generic issues we all have at a certain level, how to spend less on advertising, how to increase revenues, how to decrease costs. Or there are problems specific to them and I'll explain how to discover those another day. But whatever it is your email mustn't appear spammy. The Law of Reciprocity then cuts in and they feel at least obliged to listen to you as you gave them something.
However think about it like this. Do you take cold calls when someone only wants to sell to you? If not, why not? So turn this on its head. What if someone shows interest in your business and offers free help and advice, builds a relationship with you and becomes a trusted advisor or friend, are then you more likely to take the time to listen to them. Most people are.
Does This Really Work?
Here is how it worked for me. I had a well respected colleague write to several CEOs and introduce me. I then sent them a copy of my last book via the post, with a note that suggested we meet which was what my colleague had also suggested to them.
Then a couple of days later I phoned and asked if the book had arrived. The answer was always Yes. So we chatted for a while. Only once we had a rapport, and they felt positive towards me, did I ask if it might be an idea to set a date to meet.
This method may sound long winded but it increased my conversion rate by a significant amount.
You needn't send a book of your own. It could be a two page list of tips or a copy of someone's book. It could be from a friend or something you have written yourself.
The thing is, I think you need to build a relationship and NOT make a totally cold call.