Even MORE Tips for Making Cold Calls

Making in-person cold calls on a prospective client is considered a real challenge for most sales people. However, there is plenty of opportunity that can be mined if you have reasonable expectations and a good a plan. Here are even more tips to help you get the most out of your first visit with a prospective client:

  • Double-Check the Name—Once a receptionist suggests the specific name of who you should speak with, repeat that name back to her, and ask what the person’s title is. This is a way to double-check. The person’s title will generally tell you whether the contact person is a user rather than a buyer of the product.
  • Up the Ladder—Once you have a name and title, follow by asking who that person reports to, and what that person’s title might be. Whatever information you get at this stage will be useful later when you phone back either to ask for an appointment with the right person.
  • Pick up Some Pamphlets—If the organization looks promising, try to collect literature to review later for further leads and clues. If you see a business-card dispenser on the counter, take one. Ask the receptionist if you might have a brochure or other company literature, such as an annual report to shareholders. Materials like these can be helpful sources of information, giving you an idea of what the organization is “about,” what the key themes are there, and perhaps even who’s who in the management structure.
  • Leave a Business Card—If you feel the chemistry of this initial call went well, it may be productive for you to leave your business card. That will serve as a pre-introduction later. However, if it did not go well with the receptionist, then avoid leaving the card, or even your name. Let some time pass before phoning back. A different person may be on the front desk.
  • Be Prepared for Good Luck—Even though you are not planning to make your sales presentation now, it can happen and you should be prepared. Even though you were planning only to do a quick building sweep with this visit, it pays to discretely carry your usual sales essentials of note-pad, order blanks, and whatever literature or samples you need.
  • Nobody Enjoys Rejection—If the guard or receptionist refuses to tell you much, don’t take it personally. They may just be unpleasant people, or they may have been instructed to be close-mouthed. Move on. There are other prospects, and other ways of getting the information from this organization.
  • Take Notes—As soon as you leave each office, take a few moments to record names, impression and facts about this company on paper. If you don’t make notes, you will almost certainly forget by the end of the day.