Want Better Cold Calling Results? Do Some Homework First

Over the past few weeks, FEI sales leader Zoot has given young salesman Ganymede some valuable tips for winning back customers who have left. This week, Zoot shares a tip for effective cold calling. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot was working in his office one afternoon when a loud, repeating thump grabbed his attention. Concerned, he followed the noise to its source—Ganymede’s office. Here, the young salesperson was banging his head against the wall.

“If you’re trying to break down that wall to remodel your office, I’d suggest using a sledgehammer,” Zoot said in jest.

Ganymede looked surprised and embarrassed. “Oh, hi Zoot. This cold calling is driving me nuts!” He sat down at his desk and offered Zoot a seat. “I’ve spent all day fishing on the phone without a single nibble to show for the effort. People just don’t seem interested after I give them my pitch.”

“Maybe I can help,” Zoot said. “Give me a sample pitch.”

“Hi, this is Ganymede calling with Fire Enterprises, Inc. Can I have a moment of your time?”

“OK,” Zoot said.

“I’d like to talk to you today about how FEI’s fire solutions can reduce your organization’s heating costs by 15 percent.”

“That’s a passable opener,” Zoot began, “but you’re not addressing the prospect personally. Your message may be compelling, but it sounds like the same thing you’ll say to the next 49 prospects you call—because it is.”

“How do I make it better?” Ganymede asked with concern.

“If you do a little research before dialing, you can personalize each call based on the prospect at the other end. People are more likely to listen when what you’re saying has to do with them. A few minutes of ‘O-Google’ searching is sometimes the only thing separating cold callers with full appointment books from cold callers who, um…” Zoot gestured to the small dent in Ganymede’s wall.

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 tj@tjtedesco.com.
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