Ask Questions – Getting Better Results from Cold Calls, Part II

Last week, FEI sales leader Zoot gave young salesman Ganymede a tip for more effective cold calling. This week, Zoot advises his apprentice on another cold calling strategy. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot and Ganymede were dining on a delicious gyro lunch at Demeter’s Café.

“Loved your tip about researching a prospect before cold calling,” Ganymede said. “What else you got?”

Zoot finished off the last of his gyro and wiped his face with a napkin. “Today, I’ll show you how to get from cold call to appointment in just a few questions. Let’s do another dummy call. I’ll be the cold caller, you be Helios from Helios’ Farm.”

“OK,” Zoot said, clearing his voice, holding his hairy thumb and pinky finger to his ear like a phone. “Helios, last week I left you an Ophone message about how Fire Enterprises helps farmers like you,” Zoot started.

“I don’t have time to meet,” Helios (Ganymede) responded. “The cows ran off last night and I’m behind schedule.”

“Sorry to hear about that,” Zoot said empathetically. “I don’t want to take up yours or anyone else’s time unless there’s a real reason to meet. Everybody in Olympus is busy these days.”

“I’ve never heard a salesperson say he doesn’t want to meet,” Helios (Ganymede) said, wrinkling his brow.

“Do you have the time to answer a few short questions?” Zoot said confidently. “If the answer is no, I’ll gladly let you go.”

“Sure,” Helios (Ganymede) replied.

“What’s working well with your current fire vendor, and what would you improve or change?” Zoot began.

“I’m using Flintstone,” Helios (Ganymede) said. “Its prices are fair, the company delivers on time, and its torches and matches usually stay lit.”

“Usually?” Zoot asked, pouncing on this sales opening. “If I could offer you an alternative solution that’s more dependable, at a fair price, delivered on time, would you want to talk to me?”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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