Warming Up a COLD Contact

I greatly dislike making cold calls, so several years ago I decided that I was going to change my approach to calling someone I didn’t don’t know: I decide to start “warming-up” calls before I made them. For years now I have successfully implemented a simple three step process to warming up a cold contact when other traditional methods such as referrals and introductions are not readily available. The process takes time, but when followed completely, I have found that it increases my success seven to eight times more than making a cold contact. I hope you find it helpful:

Step one: Name Recognition
I initiate name recognition by sending out two post cards exactly one week apart to the person I want to contact. Note two things here; one is that I always know the name of an individual I want to speak with before I start this process (not simply a company name), the second is that the information I send them is memorable. Oftentimes this will be done to a group of people I want to connect with to minimize effort. This first step provides me with name recognition, and the excuse to implement step two.

Step two: Develop Understanding
One week after I send out the second post card I call the individual to tell them who I am and to ask one simple question. It sounds something like this: “Hi, I am Tim Klabunde from Gordon. You should have received two post cards from me recently and I was wondering if I could send you some more information about what I referenced in my post cards.” Of the hundreds of times I have made this call I have only been told “no” once.

Note a couple of things that make this step successful: First it is an excessively short conversation, in other words I am very respectful of their time. Second, I never leave a voice message; I keep calling back at different times of the day if I miss them until I get through. Third, I fully expect that many of the people that receive my step two packet will discard it, but I have ensured through the phone call that they will at least look at it before they throw it away and remember it.

Step three: Initiate the Relationship
Step three is simply a warm follow-up call one week after I send out the additional information. By this point I have developed name recognition and they understand who I am and how I fit into their world. When I call, I reference our last conversation and information I have sent so they recognize who I am. With this foundation I initiate a conversation and relationship. Setting up lunch or a meeting becomes easy because a foundation has been laid for our relationship over the past month.

Building Relationships
Remember when you are working a cold contact that most people fail because they call someone else for personal gain, rather than laying a foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship. Instead of focusing on your personal objectives consider helping your new friend to reach their objectives. The result will be a relationship based on trust and and an individual that wants to help you succeed.

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10 Responses to “Warming Up a COLD Contact”


  1. 1 Christina January 18, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I just *hate* cold calling. Your tips make a lot of sense to me as I don’t like to work with people that either were not referred to me or I don’t know their business. It will take some research and organization, but I think will yield better results. I’ll try it!

  2. 2 Alesa Klein January 19, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Tim,

    Excellent system! In your opinion, would sending a small packaged item work as well as the postcard? Knowing that a package or envelope with an item in it is almost always opened, do you think it might be better than a postcard?
    Alesa

  3. 3 Tim Klabunde January 19, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Alesa-
    Absolutely, great idea! The more memorable the better. Thanks for being a part of Cofebuz!
    Tim

  4. 4 Eric Munt January 20, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Tim,

    The postcards that you send out, are they two identical postcards sent at different times or do you mix it up? Also, do you assume that the first postcard will be discarded right away and the second may be just memorable enough for your contact to remember when you make your initial call?

    Thanks,
    Eric

  5. 5 Tim Klabunde January 20, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Eric-
    Great question! The postcards are always different, but the message is similar. The idea is to make it memorable, but I fully expect that many of the post cards will end up in the trash. The real secret here isn’t in what you send; it is in building the first to stages of relationship development: name recognition and development of understanding. This will make your calls much easier, and many times even enjoyable.
    Tim

  6. 6 Karen A. Davis January 25, 2010 at 11:29 am

    TIim,

    This is an excellent post, and the system seems so simple to implement. The timing of the steps almost ensures that your prospect remembers who you are. Thank you for the great tip. I will use it and pass it on to others.

    Karen

  7. 7 Tina Myers January 25, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Tim, your message is dead on and supports the survey results reported in the last issue of the Marketer. You always have great words of wisdom :-)

    Tina

  8. 8 Vineet July 13, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Tim,

    Great advice, is there any alternative to sending postcards. Is there something we could do with email as that seems to be more directed. Also what exactly is the content of the postcards usually ? I think it may be a bit weird if you send something out of the blue.

    Vineet

  9. 9 Ritesh January 28, 2011 at 5:06 am

    Tim,
    Success by building familiarity (and perhaps trust) through postcards seems far more likely than cold calls. I guess your postcards consist of info/messages related to your customer’s business. However, how do you know if the info you give is memorable or not, since you barely know them? Can you share an example?

    Ritesh


  1. 1 Cold calls, ever? | Construction Marketing Ideas Trackback on January 20, 2010 at 7:34 am

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