Class: 2014 Winter Accelerator
Tomo360 is a full-service marketing consulting company -- helping business owners and nonprofits with their marketing and online strategies, ranging from email marketing and social media to website designs and logos.
Customer Acquisition: Tips on Cold Calling
Presenters: Greg Page and Lester Sydney
The Accelerator had an animated session on cold calling yesterday. Greg Page, our own Accelerator alum and Co-Founder of Merrimack Analysis Group and Lestor Sydney, Operations and Finance Manager of Sandbox, presented the talk.
Greg told us that he wanted to learn how to do cold calling as a goal at the Summer Accelerator program. Since then he has excelled in doing cold calling and it has been instrumental in generating sales for his company.
Lester is a master in cold calling, and he used to work in software and video sales before joining Sandbox, and he has experience selling to people of all levels including vice presidents.
Both Greg and Lester did an outstanding job in presenting the nuts and bolts in the art of cold calling. They were highly engaging and gave real life examples and war stories. We then did some practices on cold calling with each other, which was a great exercise.
8 steps before making a cold call:
- Research the company and find out what they do
- Find out who the decision maker is? If not, ask who is?
- Identify who the decision maker is at the company; if you can’t find this person, ask around or ask for a referral
- Decide on the goal of your call (e.g. getting the email address, set up a demo, etc.)
- Write a script of what you want to say
- Think of a hook (Hi I’m Christina, I made the best fudge in Merrimack Valley)
- Learn more about the person you are talking to and find ways to connect with him/her
- Build your confidence – feel your enthusiasm
During the call
- Focus on a one-sentence introduction
- Script – write the script but formulate it in your own words
- Explain what you are offering
- Ask as many open-ended questions as you can
- Short and sweet (less than 1.5 min) and work off from your script with pauses
- Make sure you have the correct spelling of their email addresses
What to do in cold calling:
- Go with the “warm touches” which means a warm referral if possible
- “Cold touches” are hard because they are not necessary interested in your pitch, for example, cold email conversion rate is close to 0
- Do your cold calling by using a quota system – spend a little every day, say an hour every morning, get the calls in before you start your day, and it will accumulate over time is great – it’s a numbers game by remembering SSCT: Small + Smart Choices +Consistency+ Time = Radical Choices (Formula from the Compound Effect book by Darren Hardy)
What NOT to do:
- Don’t be long-term greedy (sell them only what they need, don’t oversell)
- Don’t be afraid to give away something. Give something catchy, make a nice first impression and give you a spark
- Don’t feed them everything and don’t give them a data dump with technical details - Talk about your results
- When they say no – don’t just give up but ask them for the reasons. Find a way to keep coming back. Leave a voicemail message every other week
- You only have one chance to talk to them, best not to leave a message on the first call.
Finally try to leave your emotions at the door and don’t take it personally if they say no. Practice makes it perfect and you will build up your confidence over time. Before you know it, you will be an Ace.
My mentors are a dedicated group of people who kept me focused even through the holidays. I have focused on my market segment in life sciences and I've been making connections by attending networking events and tapping into my network. I've gotten some valuable feedback on their marketing needs and how we can help. It is important for me to show how Tomo can provide clear benefits and ROI from my marketing services.
I'm also working on my value proposition and SWOT analysis, but they need to be more refined and focused.
I'm starting to work on my pricing and sales forecasts. Valerie's class on pricing was great and she gave me a different perspective on how to price my services.
I am also working on improving on my sales process and learn how to do cold calling. Instead of pushing your services, try to research the company before the call and listen to their pain points by asking open ended questions. Another important aspect is to break down the barriers by thinking of different ways to connect with them on a personal level.
I think that one of the hardest thing is to manage my expectations and fear of failing. It is a roller coaster ride and sometimes it is very uncomfortable to do things that I've never done before. One thing I know for sure is I'm learning a great deal and getting a ton of support. I feel so fortunate to have the mentors, the Sandbox and the finalists to guide me through this accelertor process.
Since I started Tomo360, I have worked with 8 customers, and they are all in different industries. I think that having a focus on 2-3 market segments will be beneficial in building deeper expertise and a more extensive client base. Building expertise allows me to develop repeatable processes, experiences and sales cycles, which may help me to scale up my business.
We talked about how to leverage my tech transfer and medical background. The key words are “Commercializing technologies” and “Speak their language”.
The 3 target markets are medical devices and biotech services, and sports. I know this is very different than the first 2 but I’m passionate about this sector.
Define my unique proposition (need to discuss this at our next Mentor meeting
- I have the experience in translating and understanding medical and engineering technologies and market them.
- Project Management
Lots of thinking and figuring this out.
I met with my Mentors last week and they are awesome. Each mentor brings unique experiences and background to the team, and I am very lucky to have them. We went over my current product offerings and they helped to tweek them.
Problem #1: Website as a standalone product offering
Currently, I’ve been selling 70% on websites and the remaining on branding, logo and marketing strategies. The problem with this approach that I am having a hard time scaling up because I am making a small percentage from the sale, and I can’t count on repeating customers. Once the website is done, I have to hustle down other customers.
Problem #2: Pricing
Our pricing is below market value. George said that a lower price sends a wrong message that we don’t offer quality work.
The Mentors suggested shifting my focus to marketing strategies with the following programs:
- Marketing Consulting
- Segmentation study
- Customer profile
- Marketing programs
- Social Media
What I need to work on is to validate some of these product offerings and see if there are needs and pain points that Tomo360 can address. Another problem is that I currently don't have all the resources to do some of those tasks, for example, SEO. This is a minor issue since I feel confident that I can find a partner to work on this with me.