When you start out in any business, customers and clients rarely line up at your door to sample your goods and services, and you probably don’t have a big advertising budget to draw them in. So what do you do if the idea of making cold calls terrifies you?
The Know-Like-Trust List
Your KLT List is made up of those in your immediate network you can ask for advice, support, and leads. Write down the names of individuals you know who have contacts in the business world, even those loosely associated with your target market. They can be former colleagues, employers, suppliers, mentors, even family members. You may be thinking that you are going to start to sell to friends and family; however, that is not what I am recommending.
Once you have prepared your pitch, worked out your value proposition, and developed a strong call to action that will motivate prospects to buy your product or service, you need to practice!
The KLT Meeting
The beauty of the KLT meeting is that there is little stress; they can even be fun. Remember you are practicing, and the goal is not to make a sale but to refine your presentation and acquire valuable, warm leads.
First, take the time to catch up a little and settle in, then go through your presentation. Once you are finished, it is crucial that you ask for candid feedback. Your contact will likely say it was great, but probe for further input. Check your ego at the door and show interest, as well as appreciation, for their comments.
Once you have discussed those comments and thanked them for their time and insights you have arrived at a crucial moment in the KLT process. Here is what you could say:
You have been in (name the industry or community) for some time and have many contacts in the field and you know me. Could you think of anyone who would be interested in learning about my services?
Once you have a few names, ask for permission to connect with these individuals, using your contact as a reference. Even better ask your contact to make an introduction. You can offer to write the introductory email, so that your contact need only forward it.
After any meeting or call be sure to use a contact or customer relationship management (CRM) system to keep track of your newfound leads and make timely, appropriate follow-up. Once you have established a positive relationship with these new leads remember to ask them for additional referrals.
If you carefully and diligently apply the KLT process you will have fun and you may never have to make another cold call!