There must be some of you that are good at cold calling. . . which means simply calling a prospective customer that you’ve had no previous contact with and trying to sell your products. But, from what I’ve heard, most folks dread it like the plague and quickly become discouraged when the “not interested” answers outnumber the “let’s talk” ones.
There are all kinds of ideas on the web about how to cold call and how to do it sucessfully but let me put a little different spin on this. Eons ago, when I was a Realtor, I learned the secrets of how to cold call sucessfully and actually became quite good at it. I learned such basics as a smile can be heard over the phone, never call when you don’t feel at your best, always offer someone something in exchange for their time, or ask for their help with a problem instead of telling them what you can do for them.
But, in the gift basket industry, I don’t and never will cold call. That’s why my phone numbers are listed in the “Do Not Call” list which only prevents a few of these annoying calls. I hate being called and frequently hang up on these callers. Since I dislike it so much, I won’t risk that as a first impression on those that I hope to obtain as customers.
Instead of cold calling, I FIRST either mail out an introductory letter telling them that I will follow up with a call later that week or drop off a small introductory gift, brochure, and note with the receptionist and then follow up with a call.
This doesn’t prevent the “not interested” replies but there are more receptive responses than with cold calling. The gift basket industry is a very visual business and there are some horrible examples out there that call themselves gift baskets. When cold calling, your customer has no idea that yours is not one of those.
So, if you’re good at cold calling, enjoy it, and have success with it, by all means, continue. But if that isn’t you, remember there are other more effective ways to make that first contact.