Resources for Cold Calling
One of the essentials of a successful cold calling campaign is to have properly researched and drawn up a list of contacts to phone. The size and source of this list will depend on the type of products and services you offer and the sort of new business you are looking for.
Sources of InformationThere are a number of different sources of contact details available. Some of these are free to use while others may cost several hundreds of pounds to purchase. If you are new to cold calling, it is better not to invest in expensive contact lists until you’re convinced that the amount of business you can recoup justifies this.
It may be worth making a trip to your local library’s commercial or business department as they will hold many of the information sources. While you can consult these freely and may make notes, photocopying from directories is often prohibited for copyright reasons. Libraries, online auction and book sites sometimes have copies of directories, perhaps from the previous year available for sale very inexpensively that can offer a good starting point.
Yellow Pages, White Pages and Online Directories These are all good sources of basic contact information if you are looking for business customers with a specific geographical area or a given business category. Some businesses, especially those which sell business to business are less likely to be listed than those who sell to consumers.
Membership DirectoriesMany business organisations, such as local chambers of commerce and trade associations include lists of their members and their contact details on their websites.
Industry DirectoriesMany industries produce directories of their sector either on line or in print. This is a great starting point if your customers are all likely to be in one industry and you have a national reach.
Websites and Search EnginesIf time is on your side, it can be worth using your search engine to produce a list of possible customers and then browsing their websites for contact information. This can help you seem well informed about the business if you also check on their latest news, own client lists etc. It can also help eliminate some companies from your cold calling list.
Mailing listsIf you need to find a select group of hard to reach potential customers because your products or services are very niche, then it may be worth purchasing a list of contact details and phone numbers from a specialist list provider. There are many to choose from, but it important to find out how up to date their information is and how it is validated. There is little point paying a lot of money for an out of date list.
Managing your InformationWherever you choose to get your data from, it is a good idea to break it down into small manageable chunks and to make a few calls each day. This will take longer than calling fifty people in a day, but it will also be easier to manage and more pleasurable.
Keep in mind that a proportion of the information you have gathered from research sources will be out of date. People change jobs, companies move offices, so expect to draw a few blanks. Ask the receptionist to provide you with up to date information if yours is no longer accurate.
For ease of repeat use, it is a good idea to load the contact details you have gathered into a database, spreadsheet or one of the many commercial contact management software systems available.