Cold Calling: Hot Business

The last one week I have been busy in getting fodder for my next post. I spoke to my peers in business development in India; both fresher and experienced. I read a few articles on HBR, and lot many sites like that. They all spoke about high BD position and the international strategies which are must for hitting the bull’s eye. But, suddenly one of my friends asked me a question and I dumped all my research and redid the post again. The question was HOW WE CAN START? The question was simple. We talk about big firms which already have an established name in one’s country and are trying to establish in another or a firm which is already established both nationally internationally. But what about the firm, I am starting? What about the firm you are starting. Nobody knows our company. They just have a small inkling about our experience that too few of them.  Then how can we start?  You can try online advertisement, the hoardings, local paper advertisement but after few days, we have nothing in hand or something in hand and that something would be, your confused clients knowing little things about your company. Then what next? WELL, ‘Make a database and start calling them.’ ‘What? You mean cold calling? Excuse me, I don’t run a BPO.’ ‘This is my company, my years of experience and my whole expertise which I have put in this venture.’ A few entrepreneurs will have this reaction when it comes to cold calling. They will be like,’ I AM THE OWNER OF THE COMPANY & COLD CALLING ISN’T SOMETHING I NEED TO DO.’ We have a lot of misconceptions about cold calling. Cold calling in India means graduates or undergraduates, wearing phone headsets chasing each other in the race of making maximum number of calls and becoming ‘ROCKET SINGH, salesman of the year’!  But the new face of cold calling is much different for the entrepreneurs. They need cold calling

  • To know our customers & their needs
  • Development of perso-business relationships
  • A lead to that one desired first meeting 

To know our customers & their need: Do you know who your client is? Who is the decision maker for your services in their company? You call a person, he tells you to contact another, the next one will tell to call someone else. Ok, you get pissed off! But, finally you get to know so many things about your clients. You reach the final decision maker in a day or two days or a week or a month. You talk to him and he tells you, ‘my boy, you are targeting wrong client, your service is better suited in a company like XYZ, or I would have talked to you had your services given me these securities.’ At last what you learnt from one call is what you can never have learnt from your secondary research for a month.

Development of Perso-Business relationships: I don’t believe in the strict business relationship. You need to know your client personally, before knowing the percentage of target you can achieve from him. India is a country of diverse culture and dialects. Client may be sitting in Delhi with a Bengali accent in his English and of course in his name, so a few Bangla greetings would do no harm. When you use these words he would definitely ask your culture, your name and your native place. In this way, you generate a relationship which will make your conversation to take you to the second level. Now, he knows you personally and so do you, therefore, now you will have many more topics to talk about rather than your services which will surprisingly make him more interested in your services. 

A lead to that one desired first meeting: Now, you know your client’s schedule. You can ask about the common conferences, exhibitions, he is attending. This will work both ways, you can seek some time from his schedule there and can meet him without disturbing him in his working hours at office. AND you will come to know about these gatherings where you can actually find other clients too.

At last, forget this thing that as an entrepreneur, you are owner of the company and an owner cannot make cold calls. I bet you as an owner and as a whole-sole of the company you would definitely crave for that one lead to your first meeting, which only cold calling can give you!  Finally, everything done and said as an owner of a new company, it is necessary to descend the ivory towers and feel the moist grass on soles. So, Cold Calling is necessary for you to reach the point, where you convince the client that meeting you is rather in his favour than yours.  So Happy Cold calling all you new untererpreneurrrrss!!!!!!! 😛


One world

It’s been more than a year since I read an article on globalization of business on HBR by some Indian author. He wrote that the first thing he learnt after moving to a western country from India is to remember that he does not live in India anymore. How he used to manage people in India is not going to work there. On a candid note, I was taken aback on this opinion. I was forced to think on this issue, do really people belong to different regions, different culture are motivated and managed differently. No more universal management theories applied there. Ok, even if you are managing people, trying to make good business relationship in other countries, do we need to adapt their culture, their motivating theories, their language to seem more familiar to them, and their school of management?

But then I got this opportunity of staying in one country and working for another. No doubt staying in India is an advantage; low cost of living, the family support of our families (Asians are totally obsessed about it) and lot many things we might lose staying out of home town. Business development is all about building relationships; but through mails, through telephone, how much you can know a client, more than a person than a client. I learnt a few things about getting accepted in a foreign county which I rather want to share with you people, and hope that it will help you somehow some time:

  • Don’t learn the culture; share it:  You don’t need to know each and every thing about your client’s culture from internet. I know it’s important to firstly know a client as a person than knowing his company’s history; but what you can tell him about his country with perfection, he would have already known it zillions times more than you. If you think you can impress him/her with your internet knowledge then I am sorry but my dear colleague you are highly mistaken. Don’t try to tell them what they already know, rather tell them about your culture and let them speak about theirs. It’s generous to learn a few words from their language and use them occasionally but at the same time make them learn about your culture, your language too. People find it interesting and personal too. In business development, the biggest compliment you can pay your international clients is to learn about their country and their customs.
  • Be smart but be honest:  I know there are tricks in business you can’t help learning from; college, colleagues, seniors, managers; but there is absolutely no need of using them if not required. It’s better rather to be honest and bear a few short term losses now than to be over smart using those tricks and lose your client forever. We all leant at our school, ‘Hard work is the only key to successes; it’s just that we forgot to apply it with time. The one big challenge in business development is to build trust before building your projects and without honesty you can never build that relationship. This trust is even more important while dealing with people in Asia and Latin America. In international business development, one should always focus on building a relationship before going to the bottom line.
  • Be a Partner: You know that you are talking to them, meeting them, doing them favors; just because you need to sell them services. You think that you are their service providers and no doubt they are only going to take you as their service providers. They will meet you but they know that only you have profit out of that meeting. Let them take profit too. Be a partner to them rather than just a service provider. Be interested in their sector, their company, and their goals, try to find out things that you know and you can do for them, just like that. You are trying to be established in their county, if they are interested try to make them help getting into your country also. Do them favors if they want to have some information about their sector in your country.  This will make you their partners rather than their vendors and who would let their partners down.