Protected: Secrets of a successful cold call outreach strategy
The idea of picking up the phone and making a cold call to a lead you hope to win business from may be an uncomfortable one for you.
Yet outreach is the most powerful marketing tool a consultant has, according to author and consultant David A. Fields.
“We work with a lot of consulting firms of all sizes, and the most predictable metric we have is ‘revenue correlates with outreach,’”said Fields. “Consultants and consulting firms that consistently conduct outreach win more business and have more opportunities than firms that don’t.”
That goes for all kinds of consulting groups, Fields said at a recent event for Umbrex members, where he led attendees through a process for mastering this often daunting task.
“There’s a direct correlation between picking up the phone and the health of your pipeline,” he said. “That is true whether you’re a solo practitioner, whether you’re a freelancer, or if you’re a boutique.”
Hot and cold leads — knowing who to contact
One of the challenges faced by consultants is knowing who to contact — existing clients or brand new business. Fields recommends a specific mix of warm, cool, and cold outreaches that varies depending on the size of your Network Core and the strength of your marketing.
- Hot leads: Clients you have a good rapport with, and with whom you’ve recently connected.
- Warm leads: Contacts who have shown interest, and with whom you’ve recently had contact.
- Cool leads: Former clients, people you’ve spoken with in the past, older contacts; anyone you’ve already been in touch with but not recently.
- Cold leads: Brand new business; people with whom you’ve never spoken.
His advice: reach out to mostly warm and hot contacts while also keeping in touch with a steady stream of cool leads. Cold calls should be kept to a minimum.
The reason for this formula is simple: hot and warm leads are more likely to be open to outreach. Cold leads, however, will take a lot of time and be much less likely to respond. Cool leads, however, ensure that you’re always putting new leads into your pipeline, so it’s important that you continue to reach out to newer, cooler contacts.
“The more warm contacts you have, the less you need a cold injection,” said Fields.
How should you actually reach out?
Although phone calls were once the bread and butter of salespeople and consultants alike, there are now several options when it comes to keeping in touch with contacts: text, email, social media, and more recently, Zoom calls.
Fields, however, argues that the phone is a consultant’s best outreach tool.
“Phone is still the best vehicle for outreach,” he said. “If you can get someone on the phone, it’s a better mechanism than email or text or LinkedIn.”
Why? The phone is immediate, you’re voice to voice with your contacts, and you can easily call spontaneously rather than scheduling a Zoom. Many consultants may find picking up the phone awkward, but in Episode 170 of the Umbrex Unleashed podcast, Fields recommends phone-shy consultants do two things to make this easier:
- Create a block of time for phone calls.
- Write scripts to guide each phone call.
While phone calls are the best method of outreach, there is also a role for email.
Fields suggests writing short, warm email messages: one focus, one line, and one question that the contact can easily answer. The goal of these emails, however, is always going to be the same: to get the contact on the phone, or into a Zoom.
“Voice to voice is best,” he said. “You want to be voice to voice.”
Outreach calls are about connection, not making sales
So what do you do when you get a contact on the phone? One thing you shouldn’t do is dive into a sales pitch. According to Fields, these phone calls and emails should be “interested, not interesting.” In other words, you should be interested in the lives of your contacts, not attempting to generate interest in your products or services.
Your job is to make a connection; check in with contacts and ask how they’re doing. You’re simply building a relationship with this contact, and in the process reminding them that you — and your consulting services — exist. The next time they have a need, they may be more likely to think of you.
“Outreach has one objective: to create conversation,” said Fields. “Conversations build opportunities and opportunities turn into projects.”
Get David Fields’ script outline that he uses when making outbound calls — you can download a copy of that call outline for free on his website at https://davidafields.com/outreachscripts