About the interviewee
Ceri Ruenheck is the president of It’s Your Call www.itsyourcall.com a business to business telemarketing firm that was established in 1994. In 2009 she opened a second business with her husband, Two Cool Cats www.twocoolcats.com a website development company. In addition to running those businesses, Ceri consults to small companies who need help with putting together a marketing process. She is also a noted speaker and author of the e-book “Cold Calling for the Clueless” www.coldcallingfortheclueless.com
She is the mother of two boys and two cats all living in out of Harvard, MA.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
It’s Your Call has been a virtual call center since 1994. It’s Your Call helps small businesses make the necessary outbound calls that they might not have the resources to perform themselves. We have callers all around the United States who make the calls out of their homes. They are all senior level with double digit years of experience.
What type and size of companies do you have as clients?
We work primarily with small businesses in all industries. Our target audience is between 1 -125 employees however we do help larger companies like IBM, Thermo Electron, and Tata Consulting to name a few. When the larger companies have special projects that are time sensitive and the inside sales folks can’t accommodate them they’ll use us.
Tell us what you hate about cold calling?
I don’t hate cold calling. I do admit though when I first started my business I hated to do it for my own company. When taken personally, cold calling is deemed awful. But business is business and when cold calling is knowingly done as part of the sales process then the personal aspect is removed and one can be productive with it.
Is cold calling necessary in your business? If so, why?
Not only is it necessary in my business it is in all businesses. Cold calling is a way to start a conversation and develop a relationship with a target market. We can purchase a list and make 100 calls in less than a day and uncover prospects that are at various stages of the sales cycle. Knowing the demographics of the customers that generate the most income for your business and getting an accurate list are the foundation for the start of a successful cold calling campaign.
A start up social media company had a list of web developers they needed to contact. They enlisted our service to make the calls to make an introduction and determine the prospects level of interest in a special offer. We called on 180 prospects in 20 hours. We made contact with 52% of the list and uncovered 12 interested prospects.
What are some effective ways you have developed to avoid cold calling?
Many customers are returning to direct mail and having us follow up on those pieces sent. They purchase a cold list and snail mail to it. We call to determine if the prospect recalls it (adding a little market research to the campaign) and if they don’t recall it we collect emails so our customers can then send information electronically. If they did receive it and are interested we will schedule appointments for our clients. Our clients may take over the leads at this point and make the next round of calls. They are no longer cold calling they are now warm calling!