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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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June 7, 2024 |

Don’t Cold Call: How to Warm Up Prospects First

There are many ways to get a better response from potential clients — and increase your payoff.

How many cold sales calls do you ignore each week? It’s probably too many to count.

Now, how often would you ignore a familiar name or number? Much less, if at all.

Therein lies the beauty of preparing your sales prospects before calling unexpectedly. Especially when your sales pipeline is drier than you want, phone calls pave the fastest path to new revenue.

While the conversion rate of cold calls is generally in the low single digits, experts have said using some of the following tips to “warm up” prospects first will significantly increase the payoff.

Find Your Purpose

Kendra Lee of KLA Group says don't cold call.

Kendra Lee

Calling people with nothing but questions about what services they need doesn’t work well. However, calls with a valuable purpose will find a warmer reception.

“For very high value targets, send something in advance,” said Kendra Lee, president of KLA Group, a sales and digital marketing agency. Snail-mailing gifts like trinkets, resources, or books related to your offering gives your cold callers a reason to follow up.

MSP Advisor CEO David Wilkeson agrees. Simply following up on whether your package was received gives the call a needed purpose, Wilkeson said. That, in turn, can open doors.

“A lot of times, that helps them get to the right person [or] get through the gatekeepers,” Wilkeson said. “It’s an easier conversation starter for that cold caller to ask … those kinds of questions to make some decisions as to whether it might be a good potential opportunity.”

You could also plan a lunch-and-learn, and call prospects who might like to attend. Make the event informational, and pay for the lunch, Wilkerson suggested. The best scenario is to have an existing client attend who can chat with other attendees about their positive experiences with your company.

Rethink Email

Email typically doesn’t work as a first-time warmup tool, according to Wilkeson. It’s better used in a targeted drip campaign after the first call, he said.

Those emails will make prospects more receptive to a second call, perhaps a few months later. Again, the campaign’s purpose should be to educate or inform, not to sell.

That said, Lee suggested starting with a combination of email and phone, noting that each individual has a preferred communication method. The same person could respond very differently — or not all — to phone calls, voicemails, emails, and social media messages, or a combination of any of the above, she pointed out. For instance, your voicemails may generate curiosity, but email is an easier way to reply.

Plain Ol’ Marketing

David Wilkeson of MSP Advisor says don't cold call.

David Wilkeson

Making yourself visible to introduce your name to prospects is a good strategy. Consider how your marketing tactics can support a call campaign. Lee recommended marketing to a targeted segment of your prospect list you plan to call.

“It could be that you have sent marketing emails, or you have been visible on social media so there’s a chance they could see you. If you know the groups those prospects belong to, say in LinkedIn or Facebook, post in those groups.”

Additionally, some MSPs have found success in attending local business chamber networking events.

“It’s a holistic approach of doing traditional marketing, so that companies in your market know your business,” Wilkeson said. “They know your name, so it’s not just some out-of-the-blue company that they’ve never heard of when somebody reaches out to talk to them.”

Beware of Hired Guns

When trying to drum up new business, be wary of cold-call agencies that make money based on volume. For one thing, they might schedule meetings with worthless prospects just to hit their numbers, Wilson said.

Instead, Lee said it’s important to understand as much as possible about your prospects before picking up the phone. Tools like Zoom Info, Seamless.AI or LinkedIn Navigator can provide pertinent details, she said. Some companies will also have public data available, Lee said.

“Then, tailor what you’re going to say in your message to them. Now, it will feel like you’re warming it up because you’ve done all this research.”

Call a Time Out

Track your results to ensure that your extra efforts in warming up prospects aren’t wasted.

Take time to record and listen to the calls, making improvements as needed, Wilkeson said. Prepare a good script, but also use the right conversational tone on the phone.

“You’ve got to test it,” he stressed. “You have to say, ‘I’ve made 500 calls. What’s that gotten me?’ And if you haven’t got a certain number of opportunities, well, something needs tweaking there.”

With a creative yet methodical mix of actions, you can ensure your company is less likely to be ignored, and more likely to be embraced.

Image: iStock

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