Cold Calling: How to Make It Work for You

Cold calling give you the shivers? It doesn’t have to. Now, of course, some people say cold calling is an archaic way to find new clients. But cold calling is also fast and inexpensive. When you call prospective clients and talk with them, you know right away if: “Yes, we desperately need your staffing firm!” or “No, we don’t work with staffing firms” or “Not right now. Contact us again in three months.”

Make it smooth. You don’t have to bumble your way through a teeth-chattering call. Prepare yourself well, and you’ll come across as a professional offering valuable services, not a telemarketer. Here’s what to include in your script:

  • Start with your name and company name.
  • Say what you do.
  • Explain how you help clients and the benefits they get from working with you.
  • Ask the prospective client to complete the next step.

But what is the next step? It might be another call; it might be a meeting; it might be a request for more information. On this first call, you are not asking the prospective client to hire you on the spot. (They just met you, after all).

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So at the end of your script, you ask something like this: “When would be a good day/time for me to call you to give you more information?” or “When would you like to have a meeting?” or even “I’ll send you the links to our website and social media. When would be a good time for me to follow up with you?”

The first cold call is the start of a relationship. It might move as slow as a glacier or as fast as an avalanche. But snow eventually melts, right?

Make it warm. If you’re well-networked, you may not have to cold call strangers. You can call people you’ve met through previous relationships. Maybe you both participated in an online discussion group. Maybe a current client referred you to them. Maybe they’ve followed your Facebook page but haven’t used your services yet. So when you call, mention that connection, even if it’s small, in your script.

You also need to qualify the prospective clients you call. If they would never work with you, why bother calling? Make a list of everything you need in a prospective client – a certain budget? A history of working with staffing companies? A location in a certain area or a specialization in a certain industry? Size? Years in business? You’ll hear a lot of “no’s,” no matter who you call. But focusing on a narrow segment increases your chances of hearing “yes.”

Make it professional. After hearing “yes” and agreeing on the next step, you’re not there to “get to know” the client or “explore” their needs. You’ve done your research, so you tell them what their needs are and how you will meet them. You have specific examples of how you’ve helped similar companies with similar problems. You know how to develop a plan to solve their staffing issues.

And after the call, the meeting and the contract, have a strategy to keep in touch with your new clients through phone calls, emails or social media. Don’t let them forget the value you provided them. If you called prospective clients who said, “Not yet,” stay in touch with them, too. They’ll need you eventually, and when they do, you want to be the first name that pops into their mind.

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Steve Isenberg

Steve Isenberg
Steve Isenberg is president of ASJ Partners, a marketing agency for the staffing industry. He can be reached at

Steve Isenberg

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