I’ve seen a few articles and blog posts recently claiming that “cold calling is dead.” In one sense, that makes me happy. The fewer cold calls my competition makes, the more likely I am to find new tenants for my landlord clients and the more likely I am to meet new tenants that will become new clients.
In another sense, I’m shocked that so many people see cold calling as an ineffective way of winning business when in fact, it works! I know this because 41% of my business in the last four years has been generated from good, old-fashioned cold calling. It’s a crucial part of my own personal business but I also believe that cold calling can give you real insight into your business.
Unlike the businesses you see on Shark Tank, it’s not always easy to know your margins or what your customer acquisition rate is. To be successful, we need to know a different set of numbers. Try this simple exercise: Track how many calls you make, how many people you speak with and how many meetings you schedule. Later, divide those numbers by how much money you made directly from those calls. You’ll then know how much each call you make is worth.
Further, since you know how many calls you made, how many people you spoke to and how many meetings you scheduled, you’ll be able to know your hit ratios. Let’s say your revenue goal for the year is $250,000. If you know that every meeting you scheduled is worth $10,000 in future commissions and you know that 1% of your cold calls turn into a meeting, then you know you’ll need to make 2,500 cold calls to yield $250,000. Seems simple? That’s because it is.
I’ve been tracking my cold calls since 2011. I’ve logged more than 11,000 cold calls (which may or may not be a lot, depending on your industry) and I know down to the decimal point how likely I am to get a meeting every time I pick up the phone.
Beyond knowing your numbers, there are many tricks of the trade (what times of day to call, how often to call, whether or not you should leave a message, etc.) You can’t just rely on the tricks however. This process takes patience and fortitude and placing real value on each call will make life easier and, believe it or not, more fun.
There’s no doubt that you’ll encounter annoyed people that don’t feel like talking to you, no matter what product or service you offer. But you’ll also meet great people who will eventually turn into clients and then blossom into strong, long-lasting relationships.
So even though it’s not easy, just remember your goals, keep your chin up and keep dialing.
Based in Princeton, N.J., Vinny specializes in tenant and landlord representation for Colliers International, working directly with his clients in the acquisition and disposition of office space. For more commercial real estate insight and trends, follow Vinny on Twitter.