Is It Cold In Here? No – That’s Just You

The cold call: It’s something that few have the patience, skill, charisma, or persistence for – myself included. I hate the things. In fact, I would rather do my own dental work than go on a cold call.

Sometimes for the sake of our respective businesses, however, it’s a necessary evil. So assuming that it’s either a necessary evil for you, something you want to explore trying, of you’re a sadist, then here are some helpful hints to make it – potentially – more successful:

Hint #1: Who are you calling on? Before you even set foot out your door, you had better have your homework done. You wouldn’t go to work, and THEN get dressed, would you? Cold calling functions in the same manner: all of your preparation needs to be done before you leave. And this means several things.

First – and foremost – who, or what business type, are you targeting? If you’re just going door to door willy-nilly, then plan on wasting a ton of your time, and making others frustrated at your having wasted theirs.

Second – have you attempted to learn who it is within the organization that you should be seeing? Knowing this one small piece of information can drop a wary receptionist’s defenses to a lower DefCon level. And every little bit helps.

Hint #2: Dress for success. Treat these cold calls as first dates. Dress confidently, smartly, and in a functionally matching wardrobe. I’ve seen guys come in looking like they’ve never worn the suit they’re wearing ever before; and others who came in where their wardrobe immediately said, “Listen to this guy – he’s got it together!” If you don’t have that ‘killer app’ suit or outfit then FIND ONE. It’s really, really important.

Hint #3: I don’t want to know that you’re a smoker, or what you had for lunch. It sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many cold calls I take where the folks smell like chimneys, garlic, beer, whiskey, or Italian dressing. And there’s no faster way to shut me down and make me look for an exit than being malodorous. Likewise, if it’s a hot day, plan to sweat. Wear plenty of deodorant, a moderate amount of cologne, etc. It might be that you have to stop home once or twice on a really hot day to shower. But I promise it will be the best valued shower that you’ve ever taken.

In summation: Mints are your friends. Borrow a non-smoker’s vehicle, or one that is not smoked in. Freshly launder your clothing and then immediately remove it from a smoky environment if you’re an indoor smoker. Trust me on this.

Hint #4: Remember that time is money. If someone deigns to see you, unannounced, then count your blessings. Now – don’t blow it! Have your schpiel down pat – short and sweet. Consider having a packet of further detailed information to leave for later perusal on the potential client’s part. Listen more than you talk when possible. And be prepared to defend yourself when a question is asked!

Hint #5: Don’t go during ‘bad’ times of the day. If you come in between 11:30 and 1:30, expect the party to be at lunch. If you come in first thing in the morning, expect an immediate brush off from the receptionist. And if you come in at the end of the day, expect the same. Timing is critical – so make sure your timetables are set in a manner that allow for success.

Hint #6: Remember ‘The Bubble’. I’m a guy who doesn’t like to be touched. And nothing gets my hackles up faster than a space invader. I hate, hate, HATE space invaders. If you can’t keep a respectable distance between us, then I’m not going to listen to you. I’m going to run… away… quickly. Oh, and Weird Uncle Pete: this goes for you as well.

Hint #7: Don’t get discouraged! I know, easier said than done. And I feel like a Hypocrite for saying it because – well – I do. But you can’t let The Man get you down. Keep plugging away. More importantly, review the situation that just occurred. Look for things you could have done better or differently. Consider whether the potential client showed any ‘tells’, and consider when these ‘tells’ came to the fore. Arm yourself with that knowledge for the next call.

Hint #8: Just because they won’t see you, doesn’t mean you have to walk away without having accomplished something. If the receptionist says you would need to talk to Rick then make a note of this for another time: Now you know their name, so you’re one better than when you began. Also, consider leaving a packet of information for the potential client. I would take it a step further as well: Leave a short, concise, form letter with each packet stating why you feel they need your services. Otherwise, expect your packet-o-stuff to be round filed without a second glance: Because unless you’re insanely fortunate, they’re not going to read it all to understand who you are.

Hint #9: Exude confidence. If you seem confident, then the other person will, typically, be subconsciously receptive to that. Smile, speak slowly and clearly. Emote friendliness, don’t swear (you’d be amazed how many times a cold-caller swears when talking to me) and for the love of Peter, don’t jabber on about personal stuff about yourself, unless it’s relevant.

Any other tips I missed? I’m certain there are. What have your experiences been? What else do you find works, or does not? Let’s hear from you folks – I know you’re out there!


~ by digitalninjasmedia on December 15, 2011.

%d bloggers like this: