Do You Love Cold Calling?

Posted on September 21, 2010

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I think it is safe to say that there is not one sales rep that absolutely, 100%, loves going on cold call visits. This means, as a representative, you go out to businesses to sell your product or service without setting an appointment.  Nine times out of ten, you will get rejected.  Why would you love cold calling?

The cold calling sales technique has acquired a bad reputation over the years.  In my opinion, this is a result of the “hard sell” mentality,  meaning the sales rep uses every method possible to close the deal right then and there.  These “cold callers” have an answer for any response you may have, just trying to prove to you that you need their product right now.   I am sure you have experienced this sales approach at some point and you know it can be very irritating to the potential buyer.

This hard sell strategy can definitely provide results.  However, these sales are often impulsive and if you are going off of the odds of finding those buyers then I am assuming your time is not important.  While this method may work for some of you, the goal for every business should be to build long-term relationships with their customers.  If you are looking for a quick sell, relationships will be hard to build with your buyers.  This is about knowing your buyer and listening to their needs.  Once you understand this, cold calling will become a lot easier, while making good use of your time.  You will find that your prospective customer will be more receptive by tweaking your sales approach to accommodate their needs.  Would you sell a weight-loss program to someone who is already underweight? If you answered yes, you may be an amazing sales person, but without a doubt this would not benefit your brand or the customer.  Your buyer needs to see significance in your product/service.

When you are cold calling you must have enough confidence and to walk into a business, sell yourself and accept rejection.  As often as this happens, it is hard to stay motivated.  Having over 8 years of experience in outside sales, I would like to share with you what has worked for me.

First and foremost, I would suggest making a list of businesses that would benefit from your product.  The list is probably very long, but write them all down.  When you are feeling defeated, this list will keep you on track and help you realize there are so many potential buyers out there.  After you have your list of prospects, here are a few things to consider before making your cold call visit:

1.  Research-  Knowing about the company in depth, gives you credibility. This includes: How your product/service will benefit the potential client, Are they using a competitor?  Can they afford your product? Find out as much information as possible.

2.  Contact-  Make sure you know who the decision maker is for that company.  Simply call or email anyone in the company to find out the name of the person you need to be contacting.

3. Personalize Materials:  Once you have your contact’s name try to personalize any material you will be presenting to them.  You probably already have your standard marketing materials (brochures, pamphlets, etc.) so take some time to put that research you gathered to good use and create a cover letter.  Address it to your contact and incorporate your research on why they should set aside time to meet with you.  This is your “back-up” sales pitch.

3.  Direct Mail-  This is optional, but I would send information to the direct contact.  This keeps your company fresh on his/her mind.

Finally, you are as ready as you will ever be for your cold call visit.  This is the part that we all dread.  Like I said before, without an appointment you must have a lot of confidence to walk in unannounced.

If they are unable to meet with you (which happens more often than not), simply leave your card and the (personalized) material with the receptionist (or co-worker).  Do not forget to take their name! This will be handy when you follow up with your contact because now you have at least one person in common.

If the decision maker is available, the first thing you should do is explain to them the reason you are visiting them, which is to schedule an appointment with them to discuss your company and how they can profit from your product/service.  This will let them know you are not planning on keeping them long, which will put them at ease.  I have found this method to be key, in that, it is harder for someone to deny you (in person) when you are requesting this time because it will benefit them.  This is the best way to begin a business relationship.  You have demonstrated that you have respect for your prospective client by allowing he/she to make the decision without bombarding them with your unexpected sales pitch.

Now you can breathe because your cold call visit is over…

Rejection is a part of this business and there is no way around it.  You do not have any control in how your prospects will respond to you, however, you have complete control of the way you approach them with your sales pitch.  Outside sales is a challenge and always will be, but my intentions are to find a way to make the process less painful, more productive and ultimately, more successful.

Do not forget to always follow-up on your cold call visits through either email, direct mail or phone.  Remember to walk in with confidence, with a smile on your face and prove to your buyer that scheduling time with you will be a profitable decision for them.

Good Luck out there!

Leila Moghim, Account Manager

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