Making Cold Calls Work Part 1

March 15, 2005

Turning Cold Calls into Warm Calls

By: Matt Michel

Sales result when an unmet need or unfilled desire meets an affordable solution. Simple, huh? Right now, there are people all over your community who want or need what you offer. The problem is the gap between the need and the solution is huge.

People can coexist for months or even years with their unmet needs and unfilled desires. They can coexist even when the solution is a simple as a phone call away. Why do they wait? I don’t know. It could be a lack of knowledge about the solution, inertia, comfort with the status quo, lack of time to investigate solutions, other priorities, or any number of reasons.

Your challenge is to break through, to reach the people who will buy your stuff. Some advertising works if they are actively seeking solutions (e.g., the yellow pages). Some is designed to stimulate action, if it can break through the clutter and catch them when they are open to consideration and ready to act (e.g., mass media and newspaper). Some is designed to get in their faces directly and force consideration (e.g., direct mail and telemarketing).

Nothing is a forceful, however, as face-to-face. Retailers deal with face-to-face confrontations every day. People wander into their stores and provide the opportunity. For service businesses, it’s more difficult. The service business must force the opportunity.

Sometimes there are staged opportunities, such as home shows and community fairs and other events. Often, forcing the opportunity means knocking on doors.

Ugh! Noooooo! Go away!

Yup, it’s door-to-door cold calling. The fact is that door-to-door can engage people at just the right time, shake them out of their complacency and create opportunity.

Cold calling is not easy for people. I’m not sure if anyone really likes to cold call, though some get pretty proficient at it. HVAC industry sales trainer, Pat McCormick cut his teeth in the industry by knocking on doors to sell high efficiency air conditioners in moderate climate Los Angeles.

The way Pat survived psychologically was to mentally work out the value of each door he knocked on. Pat knew how many doors he needed to knock on before he got a sale. He knew his take from each sale and divided his commission by the number of doors.

If someone slammed the door in Pat’s face, called him names, or said objectionable things about his ancestors, Pat merely smiled. Mentally, he told himself ka-ching, I just made some money.

Pat got so good at it that he sold over $1 million dollars knocking on doors. He’s not the only one. HVAC super salesman Tom McCart is pretty proficient as well.

When Tom and I worked together, we would often send Tom out to visit a struggling operator. Invariably, Tom would end up taking the operator out one afternoon to work a neighborhood.

Tom’s method wasn’t high pressure. It’s not rocket science, magic, or slick salesmanship. He simply introduced himself, handed the homeowner a business card, and asked for consideration if he or she ever needed a new air conditioner. Well, before long, Tom would stumble across someone who did indeed need a new air conditioner. By being friendly and unassuming, Tom broke the homeowner out if his complacency. He would invite him to take a look at the old beast and a sale often resulted.

Next: How to make cold calling more efficient.

Source: Comanche Marketing. Reprinted by permission.
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Copyright © 2003 Matt Michel

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