Cold calling for market research is a simple yet effective technique to gather insights for your organization. A call allows you to get into more descriptive details about any topic you are trying to research.
The challenge with cold calling market research, however, lies in the cold calling aspect. A cold call comes out of the blue for the recipient. On the part of the recipients of a cold call, they:
- Are not expecting the call.
- Likely do not know you.
- May just not want to answer questions.
- Do not know the context of the call.
Therefore, planning your market research cold calls is an essential part of ensuring the success of your research campaign. This is especially so because cold calls yield outstanding results for any research campaign, such as:
- Helping with more in-depth research.
- Allowing the space to ask qualitative questions.
- Building a connection with people who are being surveyed.
- Making the experience more personalized as compared to internet surveys.
- Getting honest feedback in the moment.
- Collecting data that an online survey form might not have been able to capture.
While there are many benefits to conducting a cold calling market research campaign, significant doubts are associated with its effectiveness. Cold calls can be intimidating, especially if you are relatively new. So how do you then turn this call into a more fruitful and beneficial call for your organization? This post will answer that question for you.
Does cold calling still work?
Cold calling for market research works.
On a general basis, these are the reasons why a cold call is an effective tool:
- An answered telephone call gives you immediate research responses. You know which contacts to pursue for questions and which are not interested. This is far better than waiting for responses through any other medium – responses that may not come. It reduces the time and cost of follow-ups while simultaneously increasing the speed of getting qualitative responses.
- Online surveys might get lost in the clutter. For example, people might not understand the intention behind the survey or might misinterpret specific questions according to their perspective. A call is more personal, and respondents can ask any doubts they may have.
- There is still a generational difference between communication preferences. Yes, some people might prefer texts and email over calls. Younger people tend to prefer texts but older, more experienced people still prefer phone calls. Your choice of communication depends on the demographic you are targeting.
Now that you know that cold calling market research campaigns are still viable, let’s get into ways you can make effective calls.
Cold calling tips for market research
Before you begin your cold-calling market research campaigns, it is important for you to have a strategy to fall back on. A good cold calling strategy will increase the effectiveness of your campaign and register responses that give you great insights.
We’ve listed some cold calling tips that will benefit your campaign. Read more to find out.
1. Think of your ideal target audience
Who is your ideal target audience? This question will help you create a contact list with people who match this criterion.
For example, if you are a business owner and your product targets women, it would not be helpful to have a contact list full of men. For a political organization, the audience may be very different – it could be mid-senior level employees willing to donate to political causes.
List down who it is precisely that you want to speak to and start building your contact list accordingly.
If you are using a communications software such as CallHub or a CRM system, you can even use list segmentation features to filter out the type of people you want to reach. Makes work a lot easier!
2. Prepare a great calling script
A good cold calling market research campaign is incomplete with a pre-written calling script. A manager or project lead could write down a compelling script that you can then distribute between employees or volunteers who are making the calls.
A good script consists of these features:
- An introduction: Immediately introducing yourself and setting the context for the call will avoid negative experiences and recipients will be better able to decide whether to speak to you or not. This is your first impression, so spend a lot of time on a good, concise introduction.
- The content: This is your opportunity to introduce your market research, ask questions, and gain answers.
- The ending: Before you end the call, you want your prospect to have a good impression of you and your organization. A cold call is a great medium to generate goodwill. If it makes sense, thank them and offer them your contact details in case they want something from you in the future.
3. Prepare questions to ask
Yes, this might be covered under the previous point, but there’s more to think about the questions you will ask during your cold calling market research survey. The questions you ask, the way you frame them and put them across will determine how insightful the responses will be.
Depending on the objective of the market research, there are different types of questions you can ask. They are:
- Relationship-based and more
Determine which questioning style will suit your research the best and frame questions accordingly.
4. Plan call times wisely
We’ve all been in a place where Monday mornings have been too hectic. Just the thought of getting over a great weekend and getting back to routine can sound challenging sometimes. We’ve also wrapped up a hectic Friday where a last-minute client email at 5 pm has ruined our excitement to go home.
The reason I’m bringing this up is that these are absolutely not times when someone would be in a great frame of mind to give a stranger a few minutes of their life. So if they hang up on you rudely, be very prepared.
A big part of cold calling success lies in the time you choose to make that call. Much research suggests that Wednesdays and Thursdays immediately after lunch or post the work-day are great to cold call. TCPA regulations on call timings are another essential factor to keep in mind. Timings during which you are allowed to cold call vary from state to state, which is crucial information.
You can also read our research article ‘Phonebanking Timings That Have the Best Answer Rate,’ where we’ve surveyed hundreds of calls to determine the best call times for you.
5. Choose an excellent communication software
Choosing a great communication software will instantly boost your cold calling market research campaign. Here’s why:
- It saves cost: Over a period of time, a communication software is more cost-effective than traditional means. You do not have to manage data manually, organize contacts, operations, etc., separately and through a centralized system.
- It increases productivity: We can vouch for increased productivity because CallHub’s autodialers help you make up to 3-5 times the rate of calls that manual calling would allow. If you were making ten calls an hour before, you could be making 30-50 calls now.
- It gives instant updates: Compared to tediously filling up an excel sheet, a calling software will immediately reflect the number of calls, call status for each contact, and recorded responses. The team works in a far more coordinated manner.
These are three crucial reasons you should consider a good communication software for your cold calling market research campaign. Of course, we think CallHub is a great platform to host your research campaign!
6. Segment your calls as you progress
Your research campaign may be exhaustive and require a few follow-up calls. However, determining which contacts to speak with might be challenging. An excellent way to go about this is to segment your calls as you proceed.
Use tag features on your calling software to attach labels to different contacts. You can list contacts as ‘friendly’ or ‘unfriendly.’ You can tag some as ‘interested’ or ‘uninterested’. There are many ways in which you can tag your contacts that are meaningful to your campaign. It will make segmentation and future outreach a lot easier.
7. Make small asks
A small psychology trick that you can apply during the call is to make small asks. Called the ‘foot-in-the-door’ technique, it is often used when sales representatives want to make a big sale.
Here’s how you can use it during your cold calling market research:
- Ask them for something small, such as: “Hey, do you mind sharing your name with me?”
- Next, you can ask them to share their contact information. This is a slightly bigger ask because then they know you can reach them – “Hey John, thank you for staying connected with me. Can I have your email address?”
- Once you are through, you can then pitch your market research survey and ask them if they would like to engage.
Be mindful of the asks you make since you might scare some contacts away by being too pushy or personal in the asks that you make. Only make asks once you have properly introduced yourself and sense that the recipient is comfortable speaking to you.
8. Follow-up and be prompt
Sometimes, it is just not a good time to be speaking with someone. However, if they are nice enough to schedule an alternative time to speak with you, always be prompt in following up with them during that time.
Since multiple people can work on a communication platform, if the call is scheduled for after your work hours, your colleagues can cover for you and take the conversation forward. This is precisely why adding notes to each call becomes important.
Recipients are also more likely to have a great impression of you and your organization if follow-up is done promptly and exactly at the time that they requested. Bonus points if your agent is already updated about the previous conversation and the recipient does not have to repeat themselves.
You can make use of features such as CallHub’s call disposition feature that allow you to mark the call as ‘unanswered’, ‘busy’, ‘call back’, ‘follow-up’ – or anything else that is important to you to note.
9. Review calls for feedback
This last tip is for managers and calling agents to improve calling metrics through analysis. Most calling software allows you to record calls and review them when you have the time.
You can do a team huddle and review calls that your team feels went really well, find out what worked and how others can take notes from that call. Also listen to calls that were problematic, how you can approach such calls the next time around, and share feedback to improve.
These are some best practices you can implement in your cold calling market research campaign to improve results. We’ve also thought of some points to keep in mind and avoid while making cold calling market research calls. Read on to find out.
Things to avoid during cold calling market research calls:
While training your team to make market research cold calls, it is also vital to highlight reasons a call may not go successfully. While the recipients may not be responsive or interested, on your end, you could make sure that your research call is 100% successful.
Here are some mistakes to avoid during a cold calling market research campaign:
- Pitching too soon: The call recipient does not know who you are or exactly why you are calling. Pitching before making your introductions clear and receiving consent to carry on the call is a red flag you can avoid.
- Rambling: Rambling occurs when there is no clear direction for the call set before it. Being unclear about how to carry forward the conversation and what to say results in rambling. Prepare a script in advance to avoid this during your cold calling market research campaign.
- An unclear ask: Would you like the call recipient to answer questions for you? Do you need 5 minutes of their time? Not being sure of your ask can ruin a great call with a willing participant because it fails to get you the result you hoped for before the call.
- Unprepared for recipients’ questions: A call between two people can go in many different directions. Some of it may include questions that a recipient may have about your market research campaign. For example, ‘Who is sponsoring this study?’, ‘How does it help people?’, ‘Will my details be made public?’ – these are some examples of questions that you could be asked. Prepare a list of FAQs and train your calling agents well ahead of the campaign.
- Interrupting: The goal of a research conversation is to get the other person talking. The more they talk, the better insights you gain. Besides, interrupting anyone while they are talking is plain rude – research campaign or not. Let the person at the other end of the call speak and apologize immediately if you find yourself interrupting the conversation.
- Not addressing objections before they come up: There might be calls where you will find yourself challenged by the recipient. They may raise objections to either your call or your field of study. Addressing these concerns before they come up is an excellent way to circumvent any issues. You might predict a few problems before your campaign and might pick up some common concerns as you begin your campaign. Find ways to include them in your script to increase your chances of receiving more responses.
With all these do’s and dont’s, you are now prepared to begin your cold calling market research campaign.
Cold calling can be daunting, but you can turn it into an essential part of your market research strategy with the right strategy, tools, and preparation.
Featured Image Credit: RODNAE Productions