Good sales can flow from cold calls. While cold-calling should NOT be your primary way of approaching new prospects, there will be times when it is appropriate as a selling tool.
For example, if you have open time between scheduled calls, consider using it to “smoke-stack” for other leads. (The term arose when sales people would drive around looking for factory smoke-stacks to guide them to industrial prospects. Now most smoke-stacking is done by scanning the list of tenants at the elevators of office towers and entrances to commercial parks.)
You may spot a possible prospect, and knock on the door in the hope of getting some background information on the firm from a receptionist. Things go well, and before you know it and without intending it, you find yourself being ushered into the Decision Maker’s office. In this kind of situation, if you’re prepared, you can generate good sales from cold calls.
This happens, so be prepared. It’s an opportunity that you can’t pass up, and don’t want to waste.
First, do not begin by saying, “I just happened to be in the area, and thought I’d drop by.” That is possibly the dumbest thing a weak sales person can say, guaranteed to simultaneously both annoy and humiliate the customer.
Instead, say something on The order of, “I was in the area, and came by to introduce myself and learn about you and your organization.”
Alternately, introduce yourself and your company. For more guidance on the first moments face to face with the “screen” or the prospect, then put your presence there that day by saying something on the order of,
“I was researching this area, and noticed that you’re an architectural firm. My company has been able to help other architects raise output, and I think we may be able to do the same for you. If you have the time now, I would like to get some information on your organization. It should only take about five minutes.”
But if you say five minutes, mean five minutes. After all, you dropped in on the prospect, who interrupted her schedule to meet with you. If she’s interested enough to want you to stay longer, she’ll ask. Or, you can conclude your brief presentation by asking for an appointment another time.
The content in this post has been adapted from my books, How to Sell Face to Face: Survival Guide, and Selling 101. They are available in various e-book and paper editions; see below:
Survival Guide: Order paperback edition via Amazon
Survival Guide: Order e-book as Amazon Kindle (Amazon offers free apps that enable you to read it on your PC, Apple I-pad, I-pod, Blackberry, and others)
Survival Guide: Order e-book via Kobo, usable on various kinds of e-readers
Selling 101 (third edition): Order e-book as Amazon Kindle (Amazon offers free apps that enable you to read it on your PC, Apple I-pad, I-pod, Blackberry, and others)