Yesterday I managed to meet with someone at all but one location while I was out cold calling on businesses. The time before, I was lucky to speak briefly with a few people. Unfortunately, more times than not, the person with whom I needed to speak was not around. I watched a YouTube video by Gary Vee (or Vaynerchuck) a few weeks ago that had me rethinking my cold call strategy. Cold calls, via phone or walking into a building unexpectedly, are interruptions. How do interruptions make you feel? How do you respond to interruptions? Think about small interruptions, like radio or TV advertisements. Your child running in front of the TV and screaming to get your attention while your favorite team is close to scoring a goal. Your phone ringing while you’re out to lunch with a friend. Interruptions cause frustration and we respond with irritation. And for good reason! Especially if you’re a business owner, or decision maker. They have to focus on what’s important and they’re usually really busy. More and more, with Millennials moving into decision making positions, time is important and should be treated with respect. When you’re cold calling, you’re basically telling that person you have zero respect for their time. Your time has taken precedence over theirs, and they need to listen to your pitch right now. Unless the message is more interesting than what’s in front of us, we are going to ignore the interruption or change the channel. In the promotional products industry, we believe that maximizing your marketing strategy by using all avenues of advertisement will give you the best bang for your buck. However, we are biased and think you should put more of your advertising dollars in gifts, recognitions and awards. Our example is simple, why interrupt what your target market is enjoying? Instead, GIVE them something to enjoy! As I was rethinking my approach to cold calling, I wanted to incorporate this message while prospecting for new business. How can I deliver a wanted and enjoyable cold calling experience? I have decided to not look at it as “cold calling” anymore. I’m not trying to “prospect” either. I’m trying to make new friends and see how I can help them with the tools I have, or if they have something I might find useful in return. Cold calling is necessary to keep new business in my pipeline. Kate and I were talking, and we think cold calling has gotten a bad reputation. Some people were trained to do it incorrectly, and neglected to do the research on the company and who they should contact prior to marching in. We want to change the process for our future customers and provide an enjoyable experience from new lead to closed sale.
Photography courtesy of Storm Creek.