No one on either end of the phone line enjoys a cold call. It doesn’t have to feel cold, and there are steps you can take to use the phone more successfully. Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. Under what circumstances would you want to listen and engage with someone about a product or a service? Let’s dig into these seven tips that won’t leave you out in the cold.

1. Know who your ideal customer is

Certainly, if all you’re doing is calling people from the phone book, well, guess what? That’s going to be a cold call. That’s why it’s so important to know: Who is your ideal customer? And that is the sweet spot that you stay focused on. Why? Because you have the ability to understand them and to know their needs better. Ultimately, you can better service them. Suddenly, that changes it from a cold call to an informed, warm call.

2. Focus on targeted prospecting

What is a targeted prospect? Simply put, you don’t make one call and then never talk to that person again–or just send one email. Targeted prospecting means you have a plan. Each message you send is bringing a new value, something novel to engage your prospect. You can argue that it’s cold, but I don’t think so, because if I have a problem and I know you can help me fix it, I want you to get in touch with me.

Targeted prospecting is when we’re zeroed in on people we know because they’ve been to our website, or they’ve engaged with us in some other manner. Maybe they participated in a webinar. The tighter your target around your ideal customer profile, the more successful you’re going to be.

3. Use multiple communication methods

People have different preferences for communication methods, so you need a diverse approach. Social media is great in some circumstances, but please don’t click and pitch. It is about developing a relationship, and that’s why it’s called social media.

You use multiple communication methods, but it doesn’t mean you use the same strategy and the same process across each one. Using multiple communication methods also allows people to get to know you before they decide to engage with you. This opens up a tremendous amount of doors, because again, it changes the cold to warm.

4. Have clear expectations

If you don’t know what you’re doing, everything is cold. You might as well go stand outside and freeze in the winter, because that’s what you’re doing. Clear expectations means you understand how you can help people, the message you’re going to bring, and to whom. All that’s left to do is execute a plan.

5. Have a clear entry point

Having a clear entry point does not mean, “Hi, I’d like to sell you.” It’s developing the relationship. It’s knowing how you might be able to service them because of the questions that you ask. Then, use their answers to engage the customer! If all you’re doing is calling up people and saying, “Buy from me, buy from me,” that’s not a clear entry point. That’s a cold call, and people are going to reject you pretty quickly.

6. Leverage relationships

We all have far more relationships than we ever realize, and I’m going to encourage you to leverage them. They may be people who know people; that’s a typical referral. But if you’ve done a lot of business already in this industry, or with this type of household, or this area, this community, you may have a lot more leverage than you realize. Leverage those relationships to create more relationships, because sales is really nothing more than relationships.

7. Stay people-focused

It’s not about being focused on what you’re selling, it’s being focused on the people you’re going to help. You see, sales is about helping others see and achieve what they didn’t think was possible.

Mark-HunterMark Hunter, CSP “The Sales Hunter” helps companies and salespeople find and retain better prospects they can close at full price. His work is based on 30+ years of sales leadership experience and is delivered live, or on-line. His style is both high-energy and blunt. Mark is known for challenging people and the sales myths they cling to. The message is not for the timid, it’s for the organization that knows change is required and it must happen now.

Mark works with companies to help them grow their top-line sales and bottom-line profits. He believes the success of a company depends on the success of the sales team and sales managers, and that sales is all about helping customers see and achieve what they didn’t think was possible. Honors he has received include being recognized as one of the “Top 50 Most Influential Sales and Marketing Leaders.”