Effective Cold Call Introductions

Peady’s Selling Engagement sponsored by IRD Prospector

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

During a recent coaching session with a salesperson I was asked about the best way to introduce yourself in a F2F cold call. I asked, “what do you currently do?” and was told “I try lots of different introductions, but they don’t seem to work”. 

How about you? What do you say in the first meeting? Is it something like “Hi, I’m Bill Bloggs from 555FM and I wanted to talk about your advertising”?

Walking in the door

F2F cold-calling works when the potential customers are small and medium businesses; where the owner interacts with the public and/or both the prospect and the seller are in the same town or geographical area. Sounds like many regional markets to me!

With a great introduction, this can be very effective (sometimes more effective than a phone call as the customer can’t terminate it so easily) however it’s the opening that makes or breaks it.

Don’t approach it with a pitch or product mentality. Launching into a ‘sell’ squanders the opportunity by immediately alienating the potential customer and putting them ‘on guard’. 

Start a conversation that leads naturally to a discussion: “Good morning, do you mind if I ask you a question?” (wait for the response). Then: “I noticed you recently changed your business logo and shop signage. How come?”

The goal is start a real-world conversation about the prospect’s business, its challenges and the reasoning behind his brand refresh. As a part of that conversation, you then progress into:
“The reason I asked is that I’m working with a local radio station that might be able to assist with the delivery of your new look into the local market”

Now comes the crunch. Only if the prospective customer expresses an interest do you provide more information about what you’re selling and then ask for the next step which is a meeting to dive deeper into the potential opportunity.

“If you could give me 20-30 minutes in the next couple of days I’d like to find out more about your new-look and explore how we can possibly help….”

It’s the subject that’s important

In the above example it was the customer’s new look the was the opener, but whatever subject you choose it must be relevant and real world

Here’s a few more examples:

“Now that you have that the roadworks out front are completed are your old customers returning?”
“I saw you at the local chamber of commerce meeting the other day. Do you find those networking events useful?”
“Last month XYZ Company opened a new outlet. Are they a direct competitor of yours?”
“Some of the local businesses I meet say market conditions are a little tough at the moment. Are you finding that?”
“I saw that the local council are pushing their ‘small business advice’ program. Does that have much value for your business?”

I’m sure you can come up with plenty of others but remember relevance to the specific customer is critical.

Cold calling isn’t dead!

It takes time, practice, and resilience to master the art of cold calling. Maybe that’s why so many new salespeople want to believe cold calling doesn’t matter anymore? 
And the most important part of a cold call is the first fifteen seconds. That’s why a strong opening statement that engages the prospect’s brain is a must.

Until next week, good selling!

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]