Sharing Ideas and Techniques

williamwilliam subscriber Posts: 2
edited May 2007 in Marketing
I have to admit I absolutely hate cold calling and drop-in sales techniques.  I am a technician by blood and trade and just have an issue just walking in and introducing myself and services.It would be great if true "road tested warriors" would share their ideas and war stories on how they succeed or got over the initial discomforts of related type sales.Your input is a great value not just to me, but I am certain to other new entrepreneurs and the like.
William2007-4-19 12:7:27
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Comments

  • InactiveMemberInactiveMember subscriber Posts: 12
    I believe that some people are made for sales and other people are not. This doesn`t mean that learning to love sales is impossible.
    Selling really requires the right personality. Some people just love sales; it`s thrilling for them. If you don`t like sales, use perspective ... Ever seen that "Worst, Dirtiest Jobs" show? Tell yourself "sales isn`t as bad as..." and make a list. Cause it`s not really as bad as say, cleaning septic tanks.
    Perspective is a great tool for many things.
  • williamwilliam subscriber Posts: 2
    My business is mostly by passive advertising, word-of-mouth, seo, and ppc.  The sales opportunities I`ve done were all unsuccessful.  When a qualified customer comes to me the relationship is wonderful and successful.The cold calling and surprise drop in is fruitless and I have a fear, squeamish, and no confidence.  Being in computer services is also difficult as most customers will only contact me if there is a problem.I enjoy the jobs show.  I can relate to what you`re saying.
  • InactiveMemberInactiveMember subscriber Posts: 12
    Drop in cold stuff is tough. Again there is a personality requirement ... some people are really good at cold calling, cold selling, etc. What is the objective? Increasing business? Increasing profits?
    Cold calling is sort of archaic in my opinion. Now there are promotion techniques that when combined with great marketing communications, can be very successful. Not sure if you have any Seth Godin books, but he invented/promotes the idea of permission marketing. This might be a valid alternative to cold calling.
    Looking at your business, I know there is huge demand for the service you offer. Promoting it effectively is important if you want to reduce the cold calls. Right now you have a local business, right? What are you doing on the ground there to promote your business in such a way that people call you? That`s sort of what you want, right? You would prefer to have the calls come in your direction? This is possible but it might require different tactics that you use at present.
  • ktoddktodd subscriber Posts: 1
    Cold calling is how many of my agents start out, some have a nac for it and some don`t, but very quickly most move to networking and building relationships through participation in orginazations.   One of the quickest ways to develop new clients is to ask for referrals from your current customers.   We continually need to remind our agents to ask for referrals.   Often the are hesitant to ask but, those are often the best leads.
    Below is a site I enjoy getting their newsletter.
    www.NeverColdCall.com</A>
  • williamwilliam subscriber Posts: 2
    I`ve not heard of Seth Godin.  I will track down some of his stuff.My business is local and online I have a great local presence in SEM, PPC (when active) and yellowpages.com.  However this is admittedly passive advertising.On the ground I have been in BNI, a handful of networking events, and a could of chambers.  My experience with BNI was dismal as the other types.  I rarely pound the pavement and just plain walk-in.  That takes you know what.Being a business services type company, I find the networking and such is not very affective.  I like to compare my business like a plumber.  I`ve experience little interest in my field, on the customer`s part, accept when their computer blows up.  If my pipes get clogged chances are good I won`t have a card from the last networking event of a plumber eight months ago.  Out comes the online or hardcopy yellowpages.
  • williamwilliam subscriber Posts: 2
    Do you have any advise on how I could potentially hire someone part-time?  I certainly can advertise and get interviews.  What do you think is is a formula to energize a salesman/woman needed to make them productive?  I`ve thought commission and base pay.  Is the commission recurring or one time based on the first sales?  Just some thoughts.
  • williamwilliam subscriber Posts: 2

    So don`t cold call.Market, advertise, get referrals, just get yourself out there .. they will come to you and then the sale part is easy.Someone from the local SBDC tried to get me to do some cold contacts once. What a great waste of time .....FWIW I took Sandler Sales Training for over a year, and it was invaluable.
    Can I ask an approximate cost and average time length for the course?  If not I understand.
  • williamwilliam subscriber Posts: 2

    I remember doing some work at Arthur Andersen, back when they did a
    company-wide split. They branched into Worldwide Consulting, which
    would handle their technical stuff and kept the tax and accounting
    under the Andersen name.

    There was a convention of very heavy hitters, high up in the company,
    all of whom were making well over six figures in annual income. My job
    was to transcribe various meetings to get them into print.

    At that time, a significant portion of the discussion was about what
    others above have been saying. They broke apart two fundamental
    categories of people, based on their basic and natural style. One was
    "Sales," the other was "Engineering."

    Over the years I`ve made various modifications to the concept, and it
    eventually came down to "Sales" and "Process." Some people are good at
    selling an idea, where others are good at the process of developing the
    idea. The two types of people rarely can do both.

    Yes, you can try to force yourself to be a cold-caller or go out and
    drum up sales. But it`ll likely lead you to more anxiety, more stress,
    and to fall behind in what you do best, which I`m assuming is the
    process side of the business.

    My advice is to find, hire, or partner with someone who`s very good at
    that sort of cold calling. Otherwise, use other ways of more passively
    getting some orders. We`ve had many great ideas over the past year
    about how to use direct mail. E-Commerce, of course, is a big help. Do
    what you do best, and delegate the rest.

    Thank you for your insight.  You can measure me up easily, engineer/technical weenie.  One premise I communicate very well with my customers.  Whoever, the base of my personality type is the typical "copier repair" and/or computer geek.Where are good sources, in your opinion, to seek out candidates?
  • williamwilliam subscriber Posts: 2
    William:
    Have you been able to establish any strategic relationships with other
    businesses who could benefit from the services that you provide and
    potentially offer them as their own? Such relationships could reduce
    the need on your part to constantly generate new business. One
    suggestion I would make is that you reach out to some of the Executive
    Suites in your area. ( http://www.offices.org ) This could be a nice
    fit and I think that you could easily see how they could roll your
    services into the benefits that they offer. This is just one example,
    but if you sit down and start making a list of potential target
    relationships such as this it could point your marketing and sales
    efforts in a whole new direction.
    You would need to be able to leave behind materials that get you
    noticed. If you need some help on that end let me know and I would be
    happy to give you a tip or two. Hope this helps.
    Duke




    What is the best method to approach the executive suites staff? I`ve not approached any business to pursue an alliance of sort.  Where do you suggest leaving materials?Thanks.
  • cmjrvpcmjrvp subscriber Posts: 0
    I hate to break it to you but once you decided to open a business you stopped being just a technician. You need to be the CEO, CFO, sales staff, AND technician. If you fail to do all of those better than your competition you will be beat by your competition.
    I`m not trying to be a hard ass here but how you feel about promoting yourself doesn`t matter. You just have to DO IT. I was just like you a few years ago. I was incredibly shy as a kid, got beat up a lot in school and hated talking to people. Later in life I started a business and realized that I needed to get over my fear of talking to people. The only way to get over it is to do it. You will get better and it will get easier the more you do it, but if you don`t promote yourself you will go out of business.
    I know several people on here have said to hire a salesperson. You can do that if you can afford to but do you really want to rely completely on someone else to drive business through your door. Do you want to entrust the business you have built with your own blood, sweat, and effort and provides for your family to an employee? I think a salesperson is valuable to increase sales but if you are a startup anybody selling at this stage of the game should be an invested partner.
    Try attending some sales seminars by Tom Hopkins, Read Double Your Contacts by MJ Durkin, learn and apply the concepts in Think and Grow Rich by Robert Kiyosaki, Read Why We Want You Be Rich by Robert Kiyosaki and Donald Trump. All of these books provide valuable business advice if you are willing to look for it. My favorite quote from Robert Kiyosaki is that he is a "best-selling author not a best-writing author". He failed English twice in high-school and he has the 3rd longest running New York Times bestseller in history.
    He might not be the best writer but because he can sell what he does write he is valuable. It goes without saying that the product must be of value to someone and your not ripping people off, but if you can outsell your competition you can win and have a successful and profitable business.cmjrvp2007-5-3 15:29:6
  • Steve58Steve58 subscriber Posts: 8 Member
    Will,It seems lilke someone has possibly told you to "Go out and sell!" nice idea...I have been told the same by family and friends over the years AND I HATE IT... BUT! there are ways to minimise the stress of it all.firstly though check out some other possibilities at Free business tips and post the same question there...1. Dont see it as selling - Chances are people will not buy from you, its more about building the relationship.2. Imagine it`s research - So  you drop in to find out who the RIGHT person is to contact. chat to people, most like to answer questions... "Hi I`m William, I want to find out who the person is that looks after x..., do you know who that is please?"3. Present well and have fun! - Dress so that people can respect you (not pick you as a sales person) whack on a cheery smile and say Hi! How are  you? Go out with the aim of having a good time, smile like you KNOW something! drop compliments at the chicks on the counter... Hey you look great today... message, have fun.4. Use the info - This is the big one, get the contact name of the right person, get the address and contact details right (get a business card) then start to build  your database of these contacts. 5. The fortune is in the follow up - Now start a process of contacting these people... E.G. send a postcard
    of info - a few days later send them a letter of introduction - ring 2
    days later to see if they got the letter, "Oh you did, great, just
    wondering if any of that is of value to you?" then start to chat - Aim
    to get face to face to chat some more and build the relationship
    (people buy from people they like! so be likeable!)6. It`s now a warm call - If you get invited to drop in and chat about what you have (from no 5) you then have the chance to show them what you have as they have trusted you, you built the relationship... the warm call is MUCH better and the ONLY reason for a cold call is to create a WARM call!7. Keep going! - Keep working on the cold and warm calls, know the difference. Know that results are all in the numbers... the more people you see, the more your database will grow, the more warm calls you can make, the more chances you can have to get face to face - Keep stats, know how many calls it takes to get one face to face meeting and then how many meetings to get a sale! It makes it so much easier when you know how close then next sale is.hope that helps, oh and to all those that say avoid cold calling, notivce how networking sessions are really just that, but formalised...
  • GirlPaintGirlPaint subscriber Posts: 0
    Cold calling can be a little frightening, but if you do your homework, you increase your odds of it being a rewarding (or at least not completely harrowing) experience.  Make sure to find out basic information about the organization you are contacting.  If possible, find out who you should reach out to before you call, and get their direct extension.  One thing I cannot stand is when I receive a cold-call and the caller doesn`t even call the right person (they call reservations when they should`ve called sales, for example...basic homework, folks, please!).Another easy way to make that cold call alot warmer is to contact someone you already work with--call the local chamber of commerce guy or gal you work with ask for an introduction or, even simpler, permission to use them as a `reference` or point of contact for your target.There are lots of ways to make this seemingly difficult task easier.  Use those wonderful contacts you already have...reach out and ask them to refer business.  If they are happy with you, your service, your product, etc., they`ll understand and more often then not, they will help.Good luck, be well and remember, don`t sweat the small stuff (like cold-calling).Best,GirlPaint
  • DragginbuttDragginbutt subscriber Posts: 0
    Have you ever met someone in line at a store, or waiting for a bus etc and struck up a friendly conversation?  A smile, a comment about the weather etc.?  That is COLD calling.  You just have to turn that into Marketing.  Somehow steer the subject to "I am involved in selling XYZ or doing ABC.  Hand them a business card.  Practice a short synopsis of what you do, and limit it to just enough information to Pique their interest...  Let them make the first move on your card.  They make the call, not you.  You have just pre-qualified a very good prospect.
    Second, do not judge a book by it`s cover.  Do this to everyone you meet.  If they are not interested, chances are they know someone who is.  Let them be a hero to their friends, and spread your news at the same time.  After all, the failure is yours if you do not make that contact... and what are you out?  a few seconds of talking, and the cost of a business card.  Have them print a discount coupon on the back to really heat things up...   Give them two cards and tell them to share it with a friend... and you will give them both a discount if they call within X number of days....  When you do the work, give them more cards with discounts on the back.  You can bet that you will get more calls than you can handle...  
  • RailroadRailroad subscriber Posts: 0
    I will attempt to make this brief - we know you`re excited about growing your business more than hanging out on the internet. Strategic selling/marketing/business relationships, referrals, etc - all highly effective means of generating business.
    Working in one of the most competitive markets in the country, Southern California, even as a native you learn to do what is most effective. Many aim for California as their "pot-of-gold" destination, more than any other area of the country due to the obvious: "favorable" climate, larger business base (but then, MORE competition!), etc. As a result, you have a lot more folks competing for the same dollar. Regardless, I have always included cold-calling (I prefer face-to-face to phone solicitation) as part of my marketing efforts.
    If you feel as though cold-calling is a necessary part of your marketing portfolio, then don`t be swayed from this direction. I have heard many younger business people say that cold-calling is the least effective means of generating business. That may be so, but then I refer back to some of my great successes (many recent). Contrary to popular opinion, my cold calling efforts have resulted in literally millions of dollars (per customer) in new business, in a highly competitive technology market, with major home builders, universities, IRS, etc.
    Initially, depending on your current active customer base, you may want to dedicate more time toward cold-calling, gradually making this a smaller percentage of your efforts. If you already have a "sustainable" customer base, you should consider making cold-calling the smallest part of your marketing efforts, say, when you are out visting another customer ("Hi, my name is William. I was next door visiting one of my customers. I wanted to stop by and introduce myself  . . . ").
    Assuming that you already have a "15 Second Opening Statement" (Elevator Speach?) cold-calling can be very effective and should not be uncomfortable. The reasons business people have a distaste for cold-calling is the fear of repeated rejection and/or they feel as though they are begging for the business. Neither of these feelings could be farther from the truth. If you believe enough in yourself and your business (whether self-employed or as a salesperson), then you have a story to tell. Your story, when in front of the decision maker, is that no one can do it better than you (in so many words, of course!).
    When asking salespeople how they feel when someone hangs up on them on a phone call or abruptly cuts them off on a face-to-face (personal) cold call, they admit their basic emotion is anger. When they ask me how I feel when this happens to me, I tell them that I smile and think, "that`s really too bad. They just passed up the opportunity for free valuable information that could help their business and the chance to meet someone who can provide them with superior service." Sounds arrogant? Not really. If you are not currently thinking this way about your abilities and your business then you need to re-assess your outstanding qualities and abilities.
    Through all of the training courses, self-help books, etc, etc you will eventually learn that one thing: you have a valuable service/product that will help them. They are not helping you. I tell sales people to stay away from thinking that the prospect is doing them a favor by meeting with salesperson. Rather you are doing the prospect a favor by spending your time to share valuable information with them - without charging them (at least initially!).
    The caution to salespeople (and business owners) though, is to be careful not to come across as arrogant when taking this approach to cold-calling (I have a valuable service/product and I`m doing you a favor by providing you with initial consultation, at no charge).
    If you can make this self-assured attitude (again, without coming across as cockie) and integral part of your selling psyche, I promise you will be successful!
    Best wishes! Now go help people successfully run their businesses and, remember, have fun!Railroad2007-5-4 11:13:33
  • williamwilliam subscriber Posts: 2
    I hate to break it to you but once you decided to open a business you stopped being just a technician. You need to be the CEO, CFO, sales staff, AND technician. If you fail to do all of those better than your competition you will be beat by your competition.I get the point and there is no ass in your input.  Getting out is what it takes.  It is a technique more so than skill.  I am always searching for a way to successfully sell the computer service.
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