How to cold
A six-figure income within three years can be obtained from in-person cold-calling — on a one-call close basis — right today, in 2008. I used this sales method while contracted with a business-to-business newspaper advertising feature, and found it a lifesaver, despite management’s opinion that such a selling method was «taboo» and «probably not very effective.» I walked in and out with $8,000 to $12,000 contracts. I currently cold-call 85% of my time to walk in, and walk right back out, with $400 to $700 sales in the political membership industry.
There are, however, several «musts» before attempting to make a living in this manner.
Number one, you MUST have a product or service largely purchased by small business people. In-person corporate cold-calling is much more difficult because of gatekeepers and executive travel. And the core market for your product or service should not be small business owners who are retail merchants. Public traffic in retail businesses produces constant disruptions for salespeople. Sales can be made to retailers, but it is difficult to create the emotional crescendo needed to produce a one-call close when someone else is vying for the prospect’s attention. Manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, IT firms and other non-retail business owners who employ 25 people or less are easier to find in the office on a first or second call, and are frequently open to spontaneous, brief meetings — if your introduction offers them something they want. These types of business owners are notorious for breaking appointments because they are shirt-sleeve operators who wear many hats, and thus are often called out of the office, or must attend to a business problem, often when you are expected to arrive. Knowing this fact gives me the consolation that cold-calling is the best favor I can do for them, and for me.
Number two, managing one’s territory efficiently with detailed notes ensures that you don’t err and re-visit people you’ve already attempted to meet with, and don’t drive around in a fog wondering where to go next.
Number three, the presentation, from the moment you step in the door, to the moment you leave, should be memorized to protect against ineffective verbage, and to ensure you can measure your true sales performance by consistently delivering the same message, over and over. This is not to say that a veteran of a script will not add to the script presentation as necessary to clarify a point or reaffirm a prospect’s interest. They will and they should. But a good company will have trial-tested scripts to find what works best for a product or service, and aid the sales representatives to master a proven presentation.
Number four, you must keep a tally of all the doors you have knocked on, how many presentations you have made, and how many sales you have produced. This practice has shown me that I make a sale, on average, for every 40 doors I walk through. Knowing my statistics enables me to know just about the time my sale will be made. If I’m feeling weary at the 25th door, I’m encouraged by knowing I’ve only got about 15 left to go.
Cold-calling in person is the most grueling way to make a living in sales if you don’t specifically understand WHY you’re better off working this way. For sales representatives whose companies have not professionally evaluated the in-person cold call as a viable sales approach and prepared the scripts to succeed, the chances for success are solely dependent on the representative’s time and expense. Not a good deal.
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