The secret to cold calling (other than MAKING CALLS!!!) is speaking as little as possible while asking questions that encourage your prospect to talk as much as possible. They can be very simple, general questions or more thought-provoking questions. Here is the first question I would ask once I had determined this was in fact a piece of business my client might want (they were the right size, they are under contract to another firm and their contract is up within 6 months):

“How can we earn your business?”

Then? Shut up and let them tell you how you can earn their business.

There will be a pause. There is always a pause, and it will make you anxious if it lasts longer than a few seconds. Just wait. Your prospect will speak once they have thought about their answer.

Did they say “I don’t know?”

You’re golden. This is the perfect time to offer a complimentary network assessment. In a non-intrusive way. Have you worked with a company that they would recognize the name of? This is a great time to name drop. “Look, we started our relationship with ABC Company by coming in and learning more about what they did and how their technology supported them in that process. We discovered that (PROBLEM! Oh no!)
– and they didn’t realize that was happening. We saved them (DOLLARS AND TIME). We’ve been working with them for (TIME FRAME) now. Let’s start like that. I have some time Wednesday afternoon or Friday morning, which works better for you?”

The call-to-action is important. Give a choice instead of the opportunity to say no. Book the meeting, and then go in there an earn their business. They’ll tell you how to do it. Remember when you go in there – they don’t care how it works – they care how they work! What you’re selling them is a business solution, not a technology solution. Make them better, faster and smarter.

Wait, did they give you a different answer? Okay. We can help you with that, too.

Are they talking about how much their current provider over-charges them? Don’t roll your eyes just yet – ask follow up questions to find out what they are actually getting for their investment and see if you can provide something better. This may not be a price objection, it may be a genuine request for a better solution at a fair price.

What you really want to hear in this conversation is that they are having a problem. Any problem. You want to learn how that problem is impacting their business, then swing the conversation around to a place where you can build a business case for replacing that competitor that they aren’t 100 percent satisfied with. It’s not hard to do. Ask questions, and speak little. “Tell me more.” “How does that affect (you, your team, your bottom line…)?” Take a lot of notes. Then, ask for the meeting. Here’s another great way to do that:

“Joe, you gave me a lot of information. I assume that in the back of your mind, you are thinking that it might be time for a change, or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Based on our conversation, I think we can help you, but I’d like to come in and do a more comprehensive evaluation. It will take me about an hour. When can you give me an hour on-site with access to (whatever you’ll need to do your assessment.)?”

Then stop talking and wait for him to suggest a time. There you go. Yours to lose.

Call me if you want to talk about building your managed services business through cold calling. There is MRR out there. We’ll help you find it.