Want to Warm Up Your Cold Calls? Start Writing

By Heather Baldwin
Imagine if you had the name recognition in your field of someone such as Dr. Phil or Suze Orman. You wouldn’t need to spend time establishing credibility with every new prospect. Buyers would know who your are, what you do and – gasp! – might even welcome you call. While it’s unlikely you will ever gain that kind of national name recognition, there’s one thing you can do to instantly establish credibility – write. By writing articles and creating pamphlets about your area of expertise, you’ll find it easier to sell because prospects will view you as an expert instead of just another salesperson, asserts George Walther, author of Heat Up Your Cold Calls: How to Make Prospects Listen, Respond and Buy (Dearborn Trade, 2005).
Where should you start? Think about what you do and the types of questions you are asked most often. With that in mind, write an article that answers those questions. A mortgage broker specializing in helping homeowners refinance their property, for example, might write a pamphlet called The Six Most Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When They Refinance, or How to Determine Whether Refinancing Will Save You Money. If you sell corporate travel services, you might write a practical article titled Five Simple Ways to Increase Your Chances of Being Upgraded to First Class. Better yet, says Walther, “create a series of brief articles or pamphlets. You’re not out to create an unrivaled and exhaustive manuscript of your topic. You simply want something tangible that demonstrates your expertise again and again.”
For the greatest impact, keep the article short enough that it will be read immediately and make the content valuable enough that your prospects will hang onto it. Including a simple graph or calculator that readers are likely to refer to or need again boosts the likelihood the piece will be saved. Then send the article in advance of a cold call or offer it as a leave-behind to establish or boost your credibility factor.
To take it one step further, if you are going to invest the time in writing, why not try to get published? Start by looking for trade journals that address your areas of expertise. For example, an article on six simple things waiters can do to increase diner satisfaction while increasing their tips might be a great piece for Restaurant News, says Walther. If it’s accepted, the author then can order professional-looking reprints.
Don’t worry that the article isn’t inspired or perfect. Don’t fret that few people actually will read it when it initially appears,” says Walther. “Your goal is simply to warm up your prospects. The fact that your ideas and articles have appeared in industry publications establishes your credibility in two very important minds – your prospects’ and your own.”