At the Northern Beaches Network April event, Chris Payne from Team Australianprovided an insight on factors that constitute warm calling using examples from the campaigns that they ran for their clients such as Samsung, Fuji Xerox, Specsavers, CSR, Ticketing Box Office for the Sydney Festival.
Chris defined warm calling as a business to business or business related activity, using targeted data, where there is a current or previous relationship and you identify a need for your product or service. I would add that warm calling also involves finding out as much as you can about your potential clients before you even pick up the phone.
The factors that impact a warm calling strategy are: the Script, the List, Follow Up and Measurement. With these, I will also add your CRM (Customer Relationship Management database).
The script is the most critical part of the whole campaign. According to Chris, you have a maximum of 20 seconds to establish a rapport with and gain the confidence of the potential client that you are speaking with, at the other end of the phone. In developing and delivering your script, you need to take into consideration the following:
• Introduction – use your full name and company name when you are introducing yourself.
• Purpose – communicate clearly why you are calling. Structure your purpose so that it resonates with the person you are speaking with and it gives them confidence that you are not just trying to scam them.
• Voice – you need to use a warm, friendly and confident telephone voice with a smile;
• Accent – the closer your accent is to you potential client the more effective it is. So if you are calling Australian clients then it is more effective if you also have an Australian accent.
• Value – are you offering something that has “real” value.
• Choice – I always find it effective to give people the choice at the end of my value proposition. For example, “Can I please send you a copy of this report” or “Is this an option for your company so you can expand the services that you are offering to your clients”.
• Follow Up (Choice) – at the end of the conversation, I always ask if it is ok for me to give them a follow up call or send them an email. I find most people are receptive when you ask for their permission to allow you to contact them again.
You can compile your own list or buy a list from the numerous database companies that sell all types of lists. Just do an online search of “buying a list” and you will see an index of numerous database companies. If you want to compile your own list, the best source for B2B is the Yellow Pages online. Although, you will find that some of the listings on Yellow Pages are dated.
Whether you compile or buy your own list, be aware though of the Australian Do Not Call Register. The Do Not Call Register was introduced by the Australian government after the growing complaints from the public about the volume of unwanted telemarketing calls they were receiving at home. If you are buying your list, make sure that this is “washed” from the Do Not Call Register. If you are compiling your own list, make sure that you comply with the provisions of the Do Not Call Register as the penalties are steep. To find out more, go to: www.donotcall.gov.au/faqs.cfm and Telemarketing and Research Calls Industry Standard 2007
To augment the quality of your list, you use online search and/or social media platforms to find out as much as you can about the people and companies who are on your list. This will give you a better picture of your potential clients. This is where warm calling differentiates itself from cold calling.
These days most companies and their people are online. With the convenience of search and social platforms, it makes it so much easier to gather information about your potential clients. Going through this process may take more time than straight cold calling but the quality of your interactions will be far greater.
According to Chris, the realistic outcome of winning leads by his team is between 10% – 60% but apparently this almost never happens during the first call. What this means is you have to back each call that you make with an action, such as an email, weblink and/or a scheduled call back.
Generally, on average an actual sale is made on the 5th or 6th call. So you have to make sure that your follow up activities are managed, consistent and call backs are made when they are supposed to be made.
And this is where your CRM plays a critical role in your warm calling campaign.
I have previously written about the importance of a CRM to your business strategy. Warm calling is one part of your business generation activities. It is very important that you then capture on your CRM as much information as you can about your existing clients and potential clients from your business generation.
Your CRM database must be able to capture all the comments, history, background, scheduled call backs & activities from your warm calling campaigns. With your positive leads, you need to make sure that you actually follow them up on the actual date that you told them. You can set the call back dates on your CRM so you get a daily email notification on the people that you need to follow up.
It is also a good idea to send regular “quality” information (but definitely not spam) to those who are undecided about what you are offering as long as they have given you permission to send them the information. The idea is to keep your offering at the forefront of potential customers so when they are ready to purchase they think about your company first.
For me, the most important metric is the number of business that you successfully close from your warm calling campaign.
For cold calling, the rate is between 3%-5%. This means that for every one hundred calls that you make, you close 3 -5 business opportunities. Using Chris’ figures, for warm calling the closing rate is between 10% – 60%.
The close rate also depends on the type of opportunity that you are offering and your target market. In my experience, for a new type of service like our legal medical outsourcing service our close rate was around the 3% mark. On the other hand, for our digital services our close rate is more around the 10% mark because of the real value added service that we are offering.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Warm calling certainly plays an important part in your sales and marketing strategy. It is an effective business generation tool particularly if you spend time in getting to know your potential clients first before you pick up the phone. If you find warm calling a little daunting consider using a professional firm like Team Australian to do it for you.