Sales mentor Pat Cavanaugh reponds to the following question from an user:
My company gets most of its clients through word of mouth, social meetings, and cold calls. Currently I send a brochure to a prospective client, then call with a spiel about making sure they got it and asking if they have any questions. I think some people are naturally goodat cold calling, but I would rather have the flu then do it. Do you have any suggestions on developing my skills?

Pat Cavanaugh's response:
First of all, let's make it clear that much cold-calling success is dependent on attitude. You have to view it as a challenge, and you have to have a competitive spirit. If you'd "rather have the flu" than make cold calls, I can only hope that this is just a temporary illness that can be cured with better cold-calling techniques.

There are plenty of resources out there that address cold calling strategies and techniques. A gentleman I recommend is Jeffrey Gitomer, whose Web site is I know he has resources that address cold-calling strategies that are very, very good.

At my company, we like to "warm up" cold calls by sometimes sending prospects a small -- and unique -- promotional product. (It's amazing. A $2.15 crazy little item we've sent out has helped us get Fortune 500 accounts.) When we call, they say, "Oh were the one that sent me that..." It gets us remembered. It makes us immediately stand out from the crowd.

The objective of the cold call is to get the appointment. Nothing else. That means I'm a little wary about sending out brochures in advance. If they already have the information on your company's products and services, why do they need to meet with you? You are a much, much more effective salesperson in person, than any small brochure is.

One small technique that is recommended is to directly ask for an appointment at a certain time. Instead of saying, "Would there be a chance to meet with you sometime next week?," say, "Would next week on Tuesday at 10:30 be a good time to meet?" Take the iniative. Be the aggressor.

Here are a couple of my other personal tips. Always say to the person, "All I'm asking for is 10 minutes of your time, believe me, I would not be wasting your time or mine if I didn't know for a fact that I could help you!" Another comment when someone is pressed for time is, "All I'm asking for is 10 minutes, I'll even bring in a stopwatch, and you can time me." This reinforces that you respect that person's time.

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