Tag: Cold Calling

More on Cold Calling – Yuck?

In my last post on this topic in the Fall of last year, I talked about re-training myself to go about lead generation in new ways.  As you may recall, I fessed up to the fact that cold calling is not one of my favorite pastimes.  I also mentioned that I was going to try a new program by aligning myself with my local area Chamber of Commerce.

I must tell you that I’m getting a little excited about the results.  My first event with the local chamber of commerce was their “Business Expo” hosted at a local Marriott.  I had no idea what to expect so I set up quite a booth for the event and invested in a digital camera as a booth “give-away” as well as hundreds of Halloween bags filled with promotional products.  I met a whole bunch of local business owners and followed up with e-mails throughout the following week.  I received a few positive responses but I think the biggest benefit was that I established myself with the “chamber” community.

I decided to take another leap of faith and invest any spare time I could find in between projects to send out a customized e-mail to each member of the chamber of commerce to introduce myself and my services.  I did my best to gear the e-mail towards the client by re-writing it several times to focus on their needs.  I used the tried and true “What’s in it for Me?” concept.  Have you heard of this before?  No?  Here we go.  Imagine that every prospect or customer is quietly sitting across from you or your e-mail with a sign hung around their neck pointing directly at you that says “What in it for Me?”  Instead of telling them why you’re so great, try to gear your introduction to things that matter to them (personal service, custom artwork and design, etc.).  For me, I also added my commitment to our community through the charities that I’m involved in and support.

This also means that at least once a day for an hour or so, I cross reference the chamber database, enter the contact data into my contact system and send a customize a e-mail to each member.  I do my best to add a little something in there about why we might be a good fit.  I’ve been able to send out about 400 since mid December.  And I’m getting requests for meetings at the rate of about one per week.  So far, I’d say this is working the best for me of all the methods I’ve tried so far.

So is it time for you to join your local chamber?  I think it really depends on your product or service.  Maybe the chamber is not your best choice but I would definitely invest the time to find lead sources that are a decent fit for you.  One suggestion I found interesting was from a representative of the library in our town.  It turns out that they have invested in tons of business to business directories and listings and are more than happy to help you dive into their databases and most of these are completely free!

So the bottom line here is to find a lead source (chamber of commerce, library, etc.) and invest at least an hour a day in reaching out to these folks with an e-mail tailored to their needs and let the selling begin!

Go Get Em!

Two Old Dogs Up to New Tricks

Two Old Dogs Up to New Tricks

Back to Basics

Since we last talked, I’ve embarked on a personal experiment to see if I can breath new life into my cold calling routine.  To be clear, I’m not one of those salespeople who loves this part of the job.  It’s because of this fact that I’ve driven myself to find new ways to do this work as it is vital to growing my business.

Before I get started, I thought it would be fun to share all the ways I’ve tried to avoid cold calling in the past.  I’ve tried to use the internet to drive leads, and that has proved lackluster at best.  For me, trying to use the internet proved to be a cop out.  I thought a mass mailing would work but that delivered very little response.  Again, trying to keep my prospects at arms length proved fruitless.  I stepped it up a bit by cold calling a list of manufacturers I Google’d in my area.  By simply asking who was in charge of the products/services I sell, I was able to target the mailers.  This proved a bit more successful .  My most successful response so far has occurred when I took that same list of folks and personally delivered a package to their receptionist with their name on it.  I then called a day or two later to follow up.  The response was not overwhelming but I did get a few e-mail queries back, a couple phone calls and two invitations to sit down and have a chat.

Lessons Learned

For me, I found that the more effort I made to personalize the contact the better.  This is not easy work and requires a lot of prep time but I’m convinced that this investment will pay off.  This has also encouraged me to reach out to others to find out what else is working to generate leads.  One recommendation was to take the personalization effort to the next level by creating virtual samples of my products and e-mailing them to my prospects.  Early indications are that that will be a hit too.  I got my first big meeting with a local aerospace company who asked me to bid on a project for them. The other tip was to join the local Chamber of Commerce.  Turns out I’ll be hosting a booth of my own at their upcoming Business Expo.  I’ll let you know how that pans out as I reach out and shake hands with all those expo attendees.

Happy Selling!