Many organizations, even those not of the nonprofit sector, have the daunting challenge of delivering cold calls. For those that are unfamiliar with cold calling, a cold call is a marketing technique organizations use to connect with potential clients, or donors in this case, by (you guessed it) calling them directly.
The word ‘telemarketing’ comes to mind, and most that have answered countless telemarketing calls before become enraged when they answer yet another. While the anger can sometimes be justified, it’s something nonprofit organizations have to do to make themselves known and find public supporters.
Many factors can affect the direction of a cold call. Certain techniques cannot guarantee the success of a cold call, but they can raise the chances that it will be a positive experience for all involved.
Time of Day
Calling a prospective donor first thing in the morning when they are getting ready for work, getting their kids ready for school, or just walking into work is probably not the best time to be asking for any more of their minutes. Likewise, calling while they’re sitting in traffic, trying to get dinner ready, or about to go to sleep probably isn’t the best time either.
Unfortunately, everyone is different and every market is different. This is where practice comes into play. Sometimes callers just need to make the calls at different times and see where they go, and eventually, they’ll figure out the best times to talk to their target audience.
Go Off Script
Sounding like a robot trying to disguise itself as a human is not a great way to connect emotionally to a prospective donor. Cold calling is typically already an uncomfortable scenario, and reading straight from a script not only makes the receiver more uncomfortable, but it also restricts the caller from being able to change direction or sway with the mood.
Callers should be honest with the receiver. Anyone making cold calls should genuinely introduce themselves and let the receiver know who they are calling on behalf of and what the nature of the call will be. A great way to lessen the tension is by showing sympathy to how inconvenient the call can be and making sure to ask if there is a better time to call.
Accept the Inevitable
Even the best cold callers get turned down, and even the best cold callers get yelled at. There is one thing, though, that the most successful cold callers have that sets them apart from others: resilience. They’re not turned off by people denying their request or slamming the receiver down; they just keep swimming (cue Finding Nemo music).
Cold callers, keep up the good work.
Prospects, keep in mind that cold callers are just doing their jobs, and in the case of nonprofit organizations, just trying to help people that are less fortunate. These are usually volunteers, interns, and college students that just want to do something good for someone else and don’t necessarily deserve to be yelled at, hung up on, or cursed at.
It takes a lot of hard work and dedication for a nonprofit to run successfully, and this type of hard work doesn’t pay much. When prospects receive that dreaded phone call, they should at least give the caller a chance. And who knows? They might find that they’ve just been introduced to a organization that shares the same passions that they do.
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