Cold Calling Businesses In Person - Need Some Advice

19 replies
Hey Everyone,

A partner and I have started a digital marketing company and are looking to cold call businesses in person to start generating prospects. We already have a content side to our business, but we want to start working with brick and mortar companies to build websites, manage social media, PPC, etc.

I have created a one page leave behind which is content focused on one side (giving tips/knowledge) and the other side talks about what we do and offers a couple specials.

I have started walking into some businesses using the 'a little unsure' approach to get to the owner. What I don't have is a specific purpose or outcome I'm trying to accomplish like setting an appointment or gathering contact information or getting permission to add the business to a directory.

I've noticed a few people have mentioned in other threads that they are cold calling businesses in person and I'd love to get some advice as to how you are successful on the initial contact. What is your goal on the first contact?

Any help is greatly appreciated!
#advice #businesses #calling #cold #person
  • Profile picture of the author RealCasher
    There are lots of cold calling threads in the offline section.. just browse the old threads and you'll get some great tips and advices.
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  • Profile picture of the author wsands
    For me, my goal was to take everything they would give me. If that means all I got was a business card and "a little unsure" from the employees about who handles "that stuff" and who I should be talking to then great, sometimes you walk into a place and the owner is right there at the counter looking bored and they go "hey, I was just thinking about calling you guys about my website" even better!

    I'm a huge fan of cold walking your town. It makes you money and you get to know the business community.

    You're basically trying to start a relationship with every business in town, which preferably involves them paying you each month for a very long time, but that means that each relationship will start a little differently.

    I always treated it like a game. My first goal walking in was to get the first employee I talked to to smile/laugh. My partner and I were accused of having a comedy routine almost daily. From there I want to know, who do I talk to? When is the best time to catch them here at the store? What kind of things are you guys doing now? How's that working out for you?

    Employees actually know a lot about what kinds of marketing they are doing, and have no reason not to tell you it sucks, or works great.

    Just my 2 cents...
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    Hi, I'm wsands and I approve this message.

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    • Profile picture of the author NBianco
      Originally Posted by wsands View Post

      For me, my goal was to take everything they would give me. If that means all I got was a business card and "a little unsure" from the employees about who handles "that stuff" and who I should be talking to then great, sometimes you walk into a place and the owner is right there at the counter looking bored and they go "hey, I was just thinking about calling you guys about my website" even better!

      I'm a huge fan of cold walking your town. It makes you money and you get to know the business community.

      You're basically trying to start a relationship with every business in town, which preferably involves them paying you each month for a very long time, but that means that each relationship will start a little differently.

      I always treated it like a game. My first goal walking in was to get the first employee I talked to to smile/laugh. My partner and I were accused of having a comedy routine almost daily. From there I want to know, who do I talk to? When is the best time to catch them here at the store? What kind of things are you guys doing now? How's that working out for you?

      Employees actually know a lot about what kinds of marketing they are doing, and have no reason not to tell you it sucks, or works great.

      Just my 2 cents...
      Wsands,

      I really appreciate this feedback. I'd done door to door a while back and getting the person to smile was a big step forward in the process.

      Thank you for sharing!
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by NBianco View Post

    Hey Everyone,

    A partner and I have started a digital marketing company and are looking to cold call businesses in person to start generating prospects. We already have a content side to our business, but we want to start working with brick and mortar companies to build websites, manage social media, PPC, etc.

    I have created a one page leave behind which is content focused on one side (giving tips/knowledge) and the other side talks about what we do and offers a couple specials.

    I have started walking into some businesses using the 'a little unsure' approach to get to the owner. What I don't have is a specific purpose or outcome I'm trying to accomplish like setting an appointment or gathering contact information or getting permission to add the business to a directory.

    I've noticed a few people have mentioned in other threads that they are cold calling businesses in person and I'd love to get some advice as to how you are successful on the initial contact. What is your goal on the first contact?

    Any help is greatly appreciated!
    As mercenary as this is going to sound, I recommend my book, Selling Local Advertising. It outlines everything, including every prospecting method I used to sell my local online marketing service.

    It should save you about 6 months of bumping around, trying to figure it all out.

    A few thoughts, that will make me many new friends.....

    If you are there in person, just show your most profitable offer. Don't start small. You can always drop to your directory listing, if needed. If you are taking the trouble to go in person, don't try for an appointment...or to leave behind a flyer. That's just delaying the idea of a sales presentation.

    The purpose of a visit is to make a sale, a profitable one. A fallback purpose is to make a smaller sale.

    The only reason you have a list of services, is to give you something to hold in your hand.
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    • Profile picture of the author NBianco
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      As mercenary as this is going to sound, I recommend my book, Selling Local Advertising. It outlines everything, including every prospecting method I used to sell my local online marketing service.

      It should save you about 6 months of bumping around, trying to figure it all out.

      A few thoughts, that will make me many new friends.....

      If you are there in person, just show your most profitable offer. Don't start small. You can always drop to your directory listing, if needed. If you are taking the trouble to go in person, don't try for an appointment...or to leave behind a flyer. That's just delaying the idea of a sales presentation.

      The purpose of a visit is to make a sale, a profitable one. A fallback purpose is to make a smaller sale.

      The only reason you have a list of services, is to give you something to hold in your hand.
      Claude (Mercenary),

      I see your posts on the forum and know you're the real deal. I feel like I can put in the effort. What I'm looking for is sharpening the spear and creating purpose in what I do, not just knocking and hoping. Your book is something I need.

      I do have a question though. How much, if any, would you say closing percentage changes if you are going for a sale on the first contact vs. going for an appointment?

      I'm curious
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        Originally Posted by NBianco View Post

        I do have a question though. How much, if any, would you say closing percentage changes if you are going for a sale on the first contact vs. going for an appointment?
        I personally can tell you the difference is night and day. Even cold walk in.. I about never try to close on the 1st visit.

        When you are calling for appointments there is a series of pre-qualifications you can run through. THAT is where the success rate goes up considerably. The same holds true with Cold walkins. if you walk in and meet and greet get the pre-qualifying out of the way. you then have an idea of what they are looking for or not looking for. The second touch is then the sales process.

        And to be honest.. I was just looking, my close rate on visit 2 isn't that great. its visit 3 and 4 that it kicks into high gear. BUT that is me, and my process.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by NBianco View Post

        Claude (Mercenary),

        I see your posts on the forum and know you're the real deal. I feel like I can put in the effort. What I'm looking for is sharpening the spear and creating purpose in what I do, not just knocking and hoping. Your book is something I need.

        I do have a question though. How much, if any, would you say closing percentage changes if you are going for a sale on the first contact vs. going for an appointment?

        I'm curious
        That's a very smart question. And I have a good answer. It doesn't change at all.

        When I was starting out in selling, I sold life insurance. the standard practice was;
        1) call for an appointment.
        2) fact gathering meeting. then you left....
        3) presentation meeting.
        4) delivering the policy meeting. (some guys just mailed the policies.)

        And I did that sequence for maybe 6 months. It seemed like a lot of time for one sale. And by then, I had already begun to record my sales results for each day. My closing percentage, how many calls, how any sales, how much earned.

        So....I shortened it to;
        1) Call for appointment.
        2) Gather information and sell.
        3) Deliver policy. (I liked delivering the policy in person, because there was a 50% chance of an additional sale at that meeting....and additional referrals. If they bought a second policy, I would mail it to them, along with a very nice folder to keep it in)

        My closing didn't go down at all. In fact, it went up a little. Why? Because they were still interested..while I was there.

        Think of selling as a date. You go out to eat, dance, maybe a movie...you come back to the apartment....drink a little wine, kiss and maybe more...and then you say, "Well, Now I know a lot about you. When would be a good time for me to return, and take up, where we left off? How about a week from today?"

        When you go back, they seem like a different person. Why? All the momentum is gone. You killed it.

        If they buy a week later, on a second trip...they would have bought the day you were there the first time....In my experience, nearly always.

        I know this post will make me many new friends.

        Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

        And to be honest.. I was just looking, my close rate on visit 2 isn't that great. its visit 3 and 4 that it kicks into high gear. BUT that is me, and my process.
        We all have different approaches. You are obviously successful using your method. And I understand the multiple call approach.

        Maybe the difference is that I do quite a lot, before they see me. I may send one of my books, a DVD, let them go to a website.....before I ever show up. And I've done some qualifying on the phone already. When I get there, I'm pretty much hitting the ground running.

        It also matters how complex the sale is. I don't offer 50 services, just one. And from "Hello to Goodbye" it may only take an hour or so. I ask lots of qualifying questions at first, but that entire process is less than 15 minutes.

        The more complex the sale (and the more decision makers) the more visits it takes.

        I don't make call backs. It's just my nature. And I've had poor results, per visit, making call backs. I'm talking about in person sales. Not phone sales or internet sales.
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        • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          If they buy a week later, on a second trip...they would have bought the day you were there the first time....In my experience, nearly always..
          Yep...

          Hottest prospects buy on first visit...

          ..and buy more on second...

          ...third.

          You got it Claude...you Bull terror... fit as a mallee bull...

          ...for reference only....Australian slang: Your favourite examples - BBC News
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          • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
            Originally Posted by Oziboomer View Post

            Yep...

            Hottest prospects buy on first visit...

            ..and buy more on second...

            ...third.

            You got it Claude...you Bull terror... fit as a mallee bull...

            ...for reference only....Australian slang: Your favourite examples - BBC News
            Thank you..Thank you very much (best Elvis impersonation)

            Maybe it will be clearer, if I explain.

            If I am starting a presentation, or even just a talk about business, it is very easy to stop me. It takes almost no effort, and I won't bring it up again. I lose interest in a prospect very quickly.

            But once I've qualified, they are pretty well open to buying from me. It is those people, that I go for. And they either buy on the first call, or never...because I won't call them back.


            So, for example, I may have 10 appointments. I believe, if I just made repeated attempts, until they bought...that I could sell 8 out of those ten. Really.

            But those same ten prospects I've made an appointment? Six will not get a presentation. I just lose interest. And I lose interest quickly. If there is something I see, that will keep them from buying that day..I just thank them, and leave. I'm polite, smiling..but I'm no longer engaged in selling.

            But the other four, out of ten? I'll sell three and miss one.

            Soooo........

            Making multiple calls will get you 8 sales out of ten appointments...eventually.

            But I'll get three sales out of ten appointments, but only 4 presentations.

            It's just a different mindset. Probably not palatable for most people. But I don't possess the patience, empathy, interest...for multiple calls. And the older I get, the more I'm like that.
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            • Profile picture of the author anusheel23
              First thing first: People still judge the book by its cover, so make the cover look beautiful. Design your service in a flashy and 'a must have' way.


              Show them how they can benefit from your service, Yes all of us think of own good first.


              Once you have made a good first impression It is all about human relations and your conversation skills. Better, even if they reject your offer, give them a very small portion of your service free of cost. It might appear as a loss but in long run these relationships pay rich
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              • Profile picture of the author NBianco
                Originally Posted by anusheel23 View Post

                First thing first: People still judge the book by its cover, so make the cover look beautiful. Design your service in a flashy and 'a must have' way.


                Show them how they can benefit from your service, Yes all of us think of own good first.


                Once you have made a good first impression It is all about human relations and your conversation skills. Better, even if they reject your offer, give them a very small portion of your service free of cost. It might appear as a loss but in long run these relationships pay rich
                One thing I like doing is creating a content page designed to rank on the search engines. I've written some pages that rank a specific year make and model of car for a location, i.e. 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Cleveland (that's not an exact example). I can typically get it to rank in spot #1 or #2 on page 1 of Google.

                I need to do better in following up on this to be honest. I should have a campaign ready to roll once they see the results.
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        • Profile picture of the author NBianco
          Think of selling as a date. You go out to eat, dance, maybe a movie...you come back to the apartment....drink a little wine, kiss and maybe more...and then you say, "Well, Now I know a lot about you. When would be a good time for me to return, and take up, where we left off? How about a week from today?"

          When you go back, they seem like a different person. Why? All the momentum is gone. You killed it.

          If they buy a week later, on a second trip...they would have bought the day you were there the first time....In my experience, nearly always.

          I know this post will make me many new friends.
          First of all the analogy is hilarious. Second, you won't make many new friends, but I like this. I've done residential door to door and one call in-home residential sales. For some reason I've been under the assumption that it doesn't work that way for business to business sales.

          Light bulb goes off

          Maybe the difference is that I do quite a lot, before they see me. I may send one of my books, a DVD, let them go to a website.....before I ever show up. And I've done some qualifying on the phone already. When I get there, I'm pretty much hitting the ground running.
          So before you go in, you've already touched the business with some kind of marketing?
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  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    In the "real world" as opposed to the world of "done for ya" and "gurus" and "monneyy makkker plans"....

    You need to be able to connect with small biz owners when you walk in

    You should try to "mirror' them....your approach at a pizza place is different from your approach at an insurance agency .....

    Is the owner friendly, businesslike, happy, disgusted, sick of salespeople, or what?

    You have to quickly change your style, attitude, pitch to fit them

    Think of what you can do for them...do not overtalk them....learn how to listen...
    find something good about their current business marketing/plan/setup/whatever...and compliment it

    If you are a young, techy guy do not be too technical with NON technical people

    sell the sizzle not the steak.....biz owners want more customers, sales, profit, happy customers

    don't overwhelm them with geeky tech stuff ....you can see them "glaze over"....pick up on signals

    do whatever it takes....be of help

    I know people ignore me here in this macho macho place but I do know what I am talking about and I don't want to sell you anything LOL

    I have suggested before that you also hook up with a good printer and do some print sales, offer that as a fall back or add on.....you also can "rep" for a local coupon/mailer or even a 9x12 type deal and again use that as a fall back...or rep for other companies that pay a good commission for "whatever"
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    • Profile picture of the author NBianco
      Originally Posted by Freebiequeen1999 View Post

      In the "real world" as opposed to the world of "done for ya" and "gurus" and "monneyy makkker plans"....

      You need to be able to connect with small biz owners when you walk in

      You should try to "mirror' them....your approach at a pizza place is different from your approach at an insurance agency .....

      Is the owner friendly, businesslike, happy, disgusted, sick of salespeople, or what?

      You have to quickly change your style, attitude, pitch to fit them

      Think of what you can do for them...do not overtalk them....learn how to listen...
      find something good about their current business marketing/plan/setup/whatever...and compliment it

      If you are a young, techy guy do not be too technical with NON technical people

      sell the sizzle not the steak.....biz owners want more customers, sales, profit, happy customers

      don't overwhelm them with geeky tech stuff ....you can see them "glaze over"....pick up on signals

      do whatever it takes....be of help

      I know people ignore me here in this macho macho place but I do know what I am talking about and I don't want to sell you anything LOL

      I have suggested before that you also hook up with a good printer and do some print sales, offer that as a fall back or add on.....you also can "rep" for a local coupon/mailer or even a 9x12 type deal and again use that as a fall back...or rep for other companies that pay a good commission for "whatever"
      I love the keep it simple piece. Ultimately business owners want to succeed. Showing them I can help doesn't mean talking code (not that I really can) or process details.

      Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author awww1some
    Originally Posted by NBianco View Post

    Hey Everyone,

    A partner and I have started a digital marketing company and are looking to cold call businesses in person to start generating prospects. We already have a content side to our business, but we want to start working with brick and mortar companies to build websites, manage social media, PPC, etc.

    I have created a one page leave behind which is content focused on one side (giving tips/knowledge) and the other side talks about what we do and offers a couple specials.

    I have started walking into some businesses using the 'a little unsure' approach to get to the owner. What I don't have is a specific purpose or outcome I'm trying to accomplish like setting an appointment or gathering contact information or getting permission to add the business to a directory.

    I've noticed a few people have mentioned in other threads that they are cold calling businesses in person and I'd love to get some advice as to how you are successful on the initial contact. What is your goal on the first contact?

    Any help is greatly appreciated!
    What i do is look around the business first. Perhaps i see something i need to buy anyway. I can ask during the purchase who the owner is. I want to also get a business card of the owner. If, when you are purchasing you happen to be talking to the owner then you want to say " I have a product or service you may be interested in. but i would also like to know more about the services or products you offer." Why should anyone buy from you or refer you instead of the competition. I may not need what you have but i may know someone who will. I need to know why you are better, and i will tell you why you may want my product or service or tell me if you know of anyone that would. Even if you don.t buy my product that does not mean i cannot buy from you or refer you. What is your unique selling position? Then tell him what your unique position is. You are helping him get business and visa verso. I do not cold call, I trade time and knowledge. I am truly interested in getting him sales so it is a warm call.

    awwwsomejack

    The cold call king.
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    • Profile picture of the author NBianco
      Originally Posted by awww1some View Post

      What i do is look around the business first. Perhaps i see something i need to buy anyway. I can ask during the purchase who the owner is. I want to also get a business card of the owner. If, when you are purchasing you happen to be talking to the owner then you want to say " I have a product or service you may be interested in. but i would also like to know more about the services or products you offer." Why should anyone buy from you or refer you instead of the competition. I may not need what you have but i may know someone who will. I need to know why you are better, and i will tell you why you may want my product or service or tell me if you know of anyone that would. Even if you don.t buy my product that does not mean i cannot buy from you or refer you. What is your unique selling position? Then tell him what your unique position is. You are helping him get business and visa verso. I do not cold call, I trade time and knowledge. I am truly interested in getting him sales so it is a warm call.

      awwwsomejack

      The cold call king.
      Interesting approach. I feel like if you truly are there to exchange information and work as a lead source this is great. For me, my initial reaction is that it feels awkward simply because I'm there to sell and not exchange information.

      This is really interesting and maybe a great indicator that those who take the most action, regardless of the exact kind, are ultimately going to have the most success.
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