Cold Calling In Singapore
This blog is a love letter to non-Singaporeans– particularly, to non-Singaporean cold callers.
Dear Cold Callers,
Please add our number to the do-not-call list. Thank you. Goodbye.
Sounds painfully familiar, isn’t it? Don’t worry, we hear that a lot here too. Since the onset of Covid-19, the ripples of change for the Singapore Market caused a tsunami of cold callers, spam emails, and questionable SMS or text messages. If we had it bad before, it became worse when businesses closed down to adhere to quarantine protocols. Since then and until now, we have learned to favor the remote way of conducting business.
But even after we eased up on the protocols, the cold calls and messages haven’t. When we were at home, callers would contact us. They were generally treated like unwanted scammers.
Speaking of scam calls, there are a LOT of them now too. In an almost Pavlovian manner, our hackles rise when we see an unknown number on the screen. I’m sure some callers might have been from legit businesses. But how would we know that, and why should we answer?
Here’s my actual love letter.
Dear Cold Callers,
I am here to teach you the warm-up and cold calling techniques of a dedicated lead generation specialist in the Singapore Market!
Personal Data Protection & Telemarketing Guidelines
The first step to surviving out here as a cold caller is to follow the Contact Center Association of Singapore (CCAS) Personal Data Protection & Telemarketing Guidelines. But don’t worry, I’ll cover the basics below! For a more comprehensive guideline, you can submit a request for their guidelines on their web page here.
Abide by the laws and regulations of the Republic of Singapore especially the DNC (Do Not Call) Registry. All telemarketing and cold calling processes must comply with the general principles of good industry practice and any applicable industry code of conduct.
The Do Not Call List
The PDPC (Personal Data Protection Commission) has established the DNC Registry. Singaporeans who don’t want to receive phone calls, fax messages, voice mail, email, and SMS would have their numbers registered with the DNC Registry for up to one year. Always check the registry before attempting contact. The penalties for not complying are up to $200,000 individually or even $1 million in some cases.
Fun fact, you can still reach out to key decision-makers through social networks like LinkedIn which I’ll expound on later.
Ethical Conduct And Professionalism
Callers must be professional and courteous when performing their jobs. You must act honestly, decently, and with integrity. Do not make any claims that can be misleading, fraudulent, or untrue.
You or your business/organization must not participate in any sort of discriminatory practices such as disparaging any persons or groups because of their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, and marital status.
Introductions are highly expected in all outbound and inbound calls, as well as emails and fax transmissions. Clearly state your name, the name of your business or organization, and the purpose of your call and messages. If the contacted person requests the information below then you are obligated to answer it:
- Name and contact information
- Name of your supervisor
- Name of the company or organization you are representing
- Nature of the business or organization
- Source of the customer’s contact information (when available)
Proper Call Hours
Be sensitive to any inconvenience your calls may cause especially during the weekend.
On the weekdays, do not call before 8:00 AM and/or after 9:00 PM Singapore Standard Time (SGT) unless there is express prior consent from the person you are calling. Saturday calls should not be made earlier than 9:00 AM and should not be later than 6:00 PM.
Unsolicited calls are NOT allowed on Sundays and public holidays.
Be mindful of interruptions and check if you have called at an inconvenient time. Pushing your luck may be considered a “show of confidence” in some countries but you’re guaranteed a rejection if you do that here.
You must have the required professional training for your job and be knowledgeable of the products and services being offered by your business or organization.
Do not misrepresent the purpose of the call by using sales tactics like market research or offering free gifts or services as a conditional action for the called party.
Confidentiality and privacy protections must be followed. You are discouraged from getting personal contact information from friends and family. However, you may gain that information from other Financial Institutions and other legitimate means if you are unable to reach your intended lead, prospect, or customer.
Multi-Touch Multi-Channel Marketing
It may seem daunting to penetrate the Singapore market but there are more than one ways to get in touch with your leads and prospects before the actual call.
I’m sure by now you may have heard about Gartner’s studies back in 2020 regarding the future of sales and the “sales-free” experience.
One year later.
Two years later.
Possibly many years moving forward, this will become more and more applicable until we have AIs and automation becoming a natural part of the workforce.
However, this won’t make humans obsolete. Generation Zs are trickling into our market and labor pool. As the loneliest generation, Gen Zs are attracted to personalized user experiences.
This is why we’ve optimized two previously working systems into a combined whole known as Multi-Touch Multi-Channel Marketing! Automations and the human touch go well together, don’t you think?
Warm Up Leads With Social Selling & Social Media Marketing
Previously, I mentioned that you can reach key decision-makers through social networks like LinkedIn. As part of the multi-touch multi-channel marketing methodology, it is highly important to go where your buyers are. If they’re more active on Twitter, hit that like button! If they socialize better on Facebook, leave a comment! But we’ve found that they are more open to talking about business on LinkedIn– for obvious reasons.
And you know what else? It’s easier to find them there too. There are a lot of social selling tools such as LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator to make it a simple and seamless process.
The key difference between Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Social Selling is that one is more inbound and the other is more outbound. SMM involves creating and sharing content on different channels to increase brand awareness and achieve marketing goals. Social Selling is done by interacting with your leads and prospects to build trust and deliver value.
Sales and Marketing can collaborate and leverage social media outreach from SMM for your social selling campaigns.
Plan your campaigns well because these are your first touch points, and the first opportunity to make a credible impression on your Singaporean targets.
Anyone who’s ever held, owned, or given a job is on LinkedIn. There are currently 3.5 million LinkedIn users in Singapore. That is 61.6% of our current population!
LinkedIn should have all the essential information you need from your leads and prospects.
- Phone numbers
- Company names
- Email addresses
- Job titles
- Company data like the size of the company, description, etc.
Their Sales Navigator software can do this efficiently but if you want to access this kind of data without the software then you will need to be connected to the other person. This is especially true if they left out some crucial details on their profiles such as their direct phone numbers. You can only get that if you initiate a conversation, get them to accept your invitation, and nurture that relationship.
Social Selling Opportunities With Social Media Outreach
We design our social selling campaigns based on the objectives of these four outbound channels and four touch points. This makes it easy for us to narrow down the OKR (Objective Key Result) and the KPI (Key Performance Index) of our campaigns.
Such as the example in the diagram above. Our OKR for our social selling campaign is:
Objective: Establish ourselves as a visible and credible entity so that our Singaporean leads are more open to a cold call.
- Key Result for Content: Increase organic visitors to the website by 30%
- Key Result for Webinar: Drive 3000 unique views
- Key Result for Email: Receive 10-15 replies in 5 days.
- Key Result for LinkedIn: Grow LinkedIn engagement by 200%
Actionable to-do’s based on our KPI checklist:
- Content + Webinar = Tagging, choosing target audiences, hype up the webinar event on other social media channels
- Email + Webinar = Send promotional emails to our target audience, send out invites and encourage them to invite others, after-event post-reach (follow-up campaigns)
- Content + LinkedIn = Increase brand awareness, create engagement, provide media, hashtags, content must be valuable and consistent, post during their most active times
- Email + LinkedIn = Nurture LinkedIn Leads and prospects through email, invite them to a mailing list, personalize their emails
It’s simpler to visualize and plan around. You can download the template here and check out the marketing KPI checklist below.
- Goal: What is your realistic objective?
- Target: Where is my target audience? How do get their attention?
- Image: How do I make my brand resonate with my audience?
- Cadence: What value can I add? How do I build up familiarity?
- Branding: How do I build up credibility? How do I extend my reach?
- Trust: When is a good time to move on to private conversations?
Cold Calling Key Insights
There is no such thing as the perfect cold-calling script. There are ideal scripts where you can get the target to hear you out for 5 seconds. In Singapore, that’s already a generous amount of time given to ANYONE calling from an unknown number. Even if you’ve managed to get them to stay on the line with you, you have to earn at least 5 minutes of their time. It helps if you have registered your numbers The longer the sales call, the greater your chances of getting them to agree to a product demo meeting.
Before you create your ideal script, check these insights.
- Key decision-makers
- Direct-dial phone numbers
- Confirmed email addresses
- Referrals or third-party references (if you have them)
- Opportunity insights
- Company demographics
- Tech stacks
If you have the information, you’ll know exactly who to call, where to call them, where to email them for warmups and follow-ups, be able to use third-party references to prove your credibility, identify their pain points, and determine what they could benefit from your products/services. It is crucial to have contact databases and sales engagement tools (usually found in CRMs) to help in your sales intelligence gathering.
Tips On Getting Their Ideal Numbers
It’s possible that the data you may have is at least 20% inaccurate and outdated. Other than buying a lead list or leveraging prospecting software, there are several ways to get the right phone numbers on your own.
“No. Really?” Yes, I know! It’s really obvious. However, the higher the lead or prospect is in the company hierarchy, the more creative you’ll need to be to get a direct line to their office. Sometimes, you’ll be faced with their gatekeepers before you’re allowed to talk to them.
I still encourage you to quickly google them first before trying anything else. With the right search parameters, you’ll get the information you need!
Most business emails should have direct phone numbers in their signatures. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. It’s a pretty sneaky tactic but a legitimate one! Don’t worry about how emails produce low click rates. The objective is to write a message to get your lead or prospect to reply to you even if it’s not a positive response to your sales email.
Another tip is to email them when you know they will be off work. If they are responsible professionals, they should have out-of-office or vacation autoresponders.
Leverage Their Network
If you can’t reach them, talk to their personal assistant or someone `directly working under them. They’re usually much easier to get a hold of than the decision-makers themselves.
Your target may even belong to the same industry as another active lead. It never hurts to ask! This brings me to another point…
You don’t have to look too far when you’ve got this. Referrals are every lead generation specialist’s best friend. Look into this if any of your leads in the list are in the same network! Referrals and third-party references will go a long way in bridging that gap between you and your target.
Check Their Social Media Networks
Facebook and LinkedIn are your go-to networks to get their contact information. Having a great social media profile is important nowadays as they are the first places curious buyers go to check you out. Our Facebook or LinkedIn profiles are where we can make a good impression in the business sphere. The same goes for your leads and prospects. The About sections are where you would find their direct contact information.
Outbound Sales Cadence
A Sales Cadence is what happens when you bring the Multi-Touch Multi-Channel methodology into a sales process. A Sales Cadence is a well-planned series of actions that influence when and how representatives reach out to leads and prospects. This includes email, phone, SMS, and social media. The purpose of a sales cadence is to help accelerate leads toward the buying process.
Period Of Calling
We’re very big on following the rules in Singapore which is why we are judicious about the proper call hours. The best times to call are usually on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 – 9:00 AM and 4:00 – 6:00 PM as they are usually considered non-hectic hours. If they’re busy at those times and they have allowed you to call them back, make sure to follow up!
Cold Calling Sequence
Most reps give up too soon. Persistence and Multi-Channel engagement will give you higher conversion rates. Always make at least 6 follow-up calls, 9 SMS attempts, and at least 3 manual emails because your chances of qualifying that lead are increased by 90%. Keep in mind that calls are more effective than text messages, and emails.
Call Centers Are Here To Stay
Call Centers won’t die. Why not? Because cold calling still works! However, they will change how they’ll do business if they are to survive in a world that has become more unfriendly towards them. Nowadays, people are a little warier, and a little more exasperated because of overexposure to advertising, and pushy sales offer. That is why trust and familiarity have become increasingly important in a successful cold-calling campaign.
Work with your marketing team to build your brand reputation, plan out your engagements, find your way into their network, and then make that call. Even if these calls don’t end in an appointment, they can still create value by spreading brand awareness. A positive conversation is valuable in building trust.
That is why a good call is the one you make, and a bad call is the one that you don’t.