***COLD CALLING 101*** - The "DOOR To DOOR" Kind.

by 73 comments
Cold Calling 101

It seems there is a need for discussion of cold calling on the forum. Some love it and some hate it. Let me say cold calling is like any other form of marketing or pitching of ones services.

No matter your niche or your choice of marketing and pitching your services, most methods work it is simply a matter of doing it right. If you don’t believe me ask the mailer experts on this forum, the telemarketing experts, e-mailers, mobile marketers etc etc.

You will find every field someone is successful, because they have found some of the secrets to make their method work. There are laws that apply with each and once you know them, it will work for you as well.

So, here we are with cold calling. I am going to talk about face to face cold calling, and let others expand it to the phone etc. What I am going to share should be pretty much universal.

I cannot put an entire article on a thread so let’s start with just a few beginner ideas.

1. Plan your area you are going to work. Filling each day with prospects,understanding that a good plan makes all the difference. Do not simply go out without narrowing down your plan of attack. This is a numbers game like any other form of approaching clients. The better plan you have in where precisely you are going the better chances of success.

2. Have a plan on what you are going to say before you walk in. Not just the first sentence. Plan for any type of reaction and where to go from that point. If you know the direction you are going, find ways to stay on the path you are laying before the prospect. This comes through proper questions.

3. Find a way to create rapport within first 2 min. There are methods of doing this. Good solid methods.

4. Assume the sale!

Ok, there is the start now let us who have done this successfully, share with those who need help and build from here.
#offline marketing #101 #calling #cold
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Well coming from a man who DOES it, I appreciate your post here Mike. I know when you talk about making a daily plan you mean to actually list the "Names" of the businesses you will visit each day, not just writing something like "10", and crossing them off the list.

    I like that because it puts the vision in your head for each visit you make, and creates a level of forthought.

    Writing the names of the actual businesses you will visit each day, instead of just writing a number and knocking haphazardly can really increase your effectiveness and make sure you are using your time wisely "prospecting" and not just "suspecting".

    Theres my two cents for door to door. I know you know what you are talking about and make a hefty living with it... Its good to hear real world experience and not just theory.

    In any event, it works!
  • Profile picture of the author David Miller
    And here we go again!

    It's my hope that the naysayers find other threads to crab on about how they hate cold calling and how it doesn't work....

    As I understand it, the goal here is not a diatribe on finding other avenues of sales but to discuss methods and techniques.

    Here's one:

    Many years ago I sold the Yellow Pages and we would receive a territory and "walk it" until it was sold to a particular percentage ( I don't remember what the exact number was) but you stayed in that territory until it was reached.

    My goal was to set an appointment on that first call, although on occassion it was a one call close situation.

    I would walk in the place of business empty handed, business card in my pocket and that was it. My personal philosophy was that they would probably think of me as a customer and would come to greet me instead of me having to make the first introduction. It worked most times and it was hard to get the defensive wall up at that point.

    I would let them know that I wouldn't expect they would have a few minutes, seeing as how I dropped in unexpected, but I was on my way to see a business down the street and just stopped in to arrange a better time.

    An interesting thing happened virtually everytime. They would begin telling me why they had no intention of buying an ad in the Yellow Pages. I simply acknowledged their objection, and explained that I wasn't trying to sell them anything, that I only wanted to set a time to spend a few minutes showing them what we might be able to do.

    As if on que, this went on no less than 3 and no more than 6 times before I finally managed to make the appointment.

    Looking at what took place in that "appointment getting" approach I had:

    1. Answered all their initial objections
    2. Qualified them as to if they were a real prospect or not
    3. Found out why they weren't happy with their previous ad
    4. Had a pretty clear understanding of what they hoped a YP ad could acheive

    Now that's a lot of information and ammunition to go back with. The actual "appointment" took far less time than making the appointment. The actual presentation took place in that first meeting but they were so intent on not making the appointment they didn't know they had given me every bit of information I needed to come back with a targeted proposal that did everything they thought they needed.
  • Profile picture of the author amarketing
    Great information, guys.

    Cold calling is something that really appeals to be because it seems like it's something many folks can't, or don't care to, do. That means less competition. Now, I'm thinking about it in the context of telephone calling. Viewed in this light, cold calling also puts something else in your favor: numbers. I've read where John Durham wrote that an experience caller and make 500 dials in a day! Now, I'm not sure if he was talking about manually dialing, or using an auto-dialer, but either way that's a large number!

    Michael, I wonder if you could expound upon point 3 and 4?

    What are some of the ways you can build rapport quickly?

    What do you mean by "assume the sale"?

    Thanks for your information and clarification!
  • Profile picture of the author Russel Mogul
    It can be absolute torture but with enough persistence -it eventually pays off.
    I did it once about 5 years ago for the local council, I had an official badge and everything-I got used to getting the door slammed in my face........here's the best part .....I wasn't even selling anything. I found the better I got with reading body language and countering objections -the more research papers I got back. Which was nice since we got paid a flat rate and extra cash ncentives.

    I recently picked up Jordan Belfort straight line persuasion system and well the first module has totally blown me away.
  • Profile picture of the author polishstorm
    Hey Russell, I have heard a little. It of the Jordan Belford thing. Can you pm me a copy or email it to me?

  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    A couple of summers ago, I spent debugging a cold calling script to about 300 business owners in Orange County on foot. The service was SEO.

    I burned through lots of businesses in the beginning, but by midpoint, I was closing 10% overall on a $2500 - $5000 sale plus the continuity program.

    Not great, not bad. But doable.
  • Profile picture of the author PPC-Coach
    I used to do cold calling & knocking on doors. I'm sure some can do it, but man I still wake up in cold shivers at night from those nightmare days.

    If you're closing at 10% on a cold call, you are a super duper super star.

    Can I hire you?
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Closing "prospects" is not the same as "prospecting". Closing actual "pitches" should be ten percent or higher easily.

    In other words, most people spend their day saying "hi" and not getting past the greeting, as opposed to actually pitching... there is a dial to pitch ratio, and a pitch to close ratio in my book.
  • Profile picture of the author amarketing
    Michael, thanks a lot for sharing that information for me and everyone else. The 10% you and John were talking about, that's the percentage of people you actually talk to, right? I'm sure that doesn't include the businesses that were closed or where the owner wasn't in or the phone numbers that were disconnected, etc.

    Let me see if I correctly understand the difference between being push and being professionally persistent. Being pushy (I'm referring to phone sales, but this could probably apply to face-to-face as well) is giving a hard-on sales pitch right off the bat and, when the prospect brings up an objection, ignoring the objection (or lightly brushing it off) and continuing with the pitch. However being "professionally persistent" is answering the objections/concerns while viewing them with importance and continuing to bounce off of every objection until they either hang up, or they finally give in and buy. Am I getting the idea right?

    Also, in assuming the sale, you say to present no less than 3 options and ask which one they would like to choose. I was thinking in terms of website design services and calling the person and then, after explaining the site cost and hosting cost, ending with something like "Ok, I'm going to ask you a few questions so we can personalize the site to your business. How would you like your business name to be displayed, 'Johnson Services'?" Does that sound like a good way of assuming the sale while not offering a choice of 3 offers?

    Also, I like your ideas of planning rebuttals ahead of time. However, I'm kind of thinking (now, feel free to correct me on this) that it would be detrimental to bring up the actual rebuttals before the client does. I know you said this is key to creating rapport, but it seems like this may raise a concern the prospect might not even be thinking about. What might be better is to give the solutions to the concern. I.e, instead of bringing up the hosting issue as "I know that (price) sounds high," it would be better to say, "for you hosting payment you get complete maintenance, free updates, domain name renewal, etc." Of course, if you find that a particular objection almost always come up, than it would probably be fine (if not desirable) to bring up the objection itself. What do you think?

    This is a really great thread you have started, thanks for keeping it up to date and answering everyone's questions. When I have a few thousand dollars extra, I'd like to attend one of your seminars. I'm sure that top 2% of sales people you spoke of were probably trained by you! Also, are there any book, or authors you can recommend to become better at selling/phone sales/cold calling?

    Thanks again.
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
  • Profile picture of the author Internet Marketing League
    One thing that has worked for me in the past, is to walk in to a business and be their customer. Once you are in there as a customer, you can easily talk to the owner of the business. Then, you don't feel like you are selling - just talking to another person about what you do.
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    I like to make the first offer percentage wise seem too close to the middle offer to pass up the middle offer, price wise... then make the high offer rediculously high... so that people always choose the middle because it "makes the most sense".

    In other words, for just 200 bucks more you get 10 times the benefit... and tack on an extra two hundred bucks. It not only points them to the choice but when they see what they get for a couple hundred bucks less comparitively it makes it seem like the greatest deal in the world that they better not pass up.... or else down the road they will get stuck with offer one type packages, which pale in comparison.

    If this makes any sense... if not, just let me say "It works". Not only does it steer more people toward the middle, but it also closes more sales period.

    Sam Walton couldnt sell leg warmers anymore because they had went out of style... So he stuck a shelf out on the retail floor that said "legwarmers $1.00 per pair", next to one that said "Closeout legwarmers 5 pairs for a dollar".

    And sold out almost overnight and cleared the overstock, even though nobody had any use for legwarmers. The comparison looked too attractive, and people felt they would be smart to take the offer while it lasted.
  • Profile picture of the author ERPLeadsWriter
    Originally Posted by Michael Bucker View Post

    Assume the sale!
    Wait, what does that mean? I read at least more than one telemarketing blog that said telemarketers are just supposed to just bring the two parties together (their client and the prospect). They do not try to make the sale themselves because that just adds to the pushy phone salesman image. :confused:
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Assume the sale means...

    Let me ask you a few questions bob, do you folks have a company logo?

    No , thats no problem our designers are pros at this,

    And is this the address you would want on your Google places listing?
    Okay great,

    and How about company colors, do you have company colors you would want on your home page...?

    Okay great. Can do...

    Have you got a pen Bob? Great heres my number in case you develop any questions, like I said we can do this for you for about $200.00,

    Now as far as billing Bob we take visa mastercard and American express, which one of those is going to work best for you today?

    That my friend, is assuming a sale.

    Its only being pushy if you have no style and suck at it.

    Real pro's do it well through practice and closing seems like the logical end for the customer.

    However , we are yet again "Chasing Deer..." when we are supposed to be coon hunting.
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    No Prob,

    Frankly, assuming the sale door to door works about the same way, only you have a pad and pen in your hand and you are standing there with the clients asking questions and writing the answers....

    I am usually pointing to a pad saying "which one of those two is gonna work best for you today bob...".

    The opposite of assuming is "asking"...

    "Would this interest you today Bob"?

    Thats asking.

    Assuming is just proceeding as if there is interest, and if you have sold them its a good assumption, otherwise you are asking them to think about if they want it, after they have already been sold, which is where alot of people back out...on second thought.

    So dont ask, assume instead.

    It works the same with door to door.
  • Profile picture of the author Hugh
    Many years ago I was selling restaurant supplies in the D.C. area.
    The best china salesman I ever saw always started showing 3 patterns.
    But instead of pushing for the sale, he would just ask questions. And
    more questions. Subtly trying to get the restaurant owner to eliminate
    one of the patterns. He would then take that pattern off the table and
    then shut up. The customer was left with an "either or" decision. He
    would sell himself.

    I have learned to always create 3 bundles of whatever I am selling, trying
    to eliminate one. In his own mind the customer is deciding which of the
    remaining 2 is best for him.

    Works for me.

  • Profile picture of the author amarketing
    John and Michael, thanks, guys for helping me to better understand the concept of assuming the sale! This is obviously a very important "skill" in being a great salesman, so I'm sure my deeper understanding of it will really pay dividends in the future.

    I see that my perception of assuming the sale (that is,virtually putting the pen in their hand and starting to fill out the order form for them!), is probably being more pushy than assumptive. Michael, I like how you sum up the 3 choices as 3 price points! It keeps things simple for the prospect.

    When I call on the prospect, should I explain the 3 options continuously, like in one breath, or should I stop periodically and ask if they are following me? Part of me thinks the latter is more polite, but then again, it may give them an opening to dismiss my offer before fully hearing it.

    You've convinced me that 3 offers are better than one. I was a little unsure at first, but your skill in the sales field and the logic you use has changed my mind. Let us a little more in depth on presenting it.

    Thanks for all of your efforts in this thread!
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Bucker
    It seems we delivered a touch more than an effort lol. Just playing fellow warrior I am glad I could help. As a trainer it is always nice when a light come on for anyone I help. I love sharing info that actually helps another in their effort against the grind.
  • Profile picture of the author amarketing
    Ha, you're right..."effort" is an understatement! You and John have shared so much in this thread that it's like a crash-course in in-person selling.

    When you go into describing the offers, do you try to do it all at once? That is, do you not let the other party speak until you have finished describing the offers, or do you stop in-between and make sure they are still following you?

    Thanks so much for going in-detail with all of our questions!
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Bucker
    I would make the pace a comfortable one that is always moving forward but give them room to be able to speak up if they wish. It will not change the pyschology of what is going on. Most of the time the prosepct will allow you to present it fully.

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