First, what is cold-call selling?
Cold calling can be by phone, as you telephone prospects for appointments, or maybe to do some early research. (Telephone cold calling is a topic we'll be dealing with another time.)
What we'll be speaking of here are cold-calls made in person.
Cold call sales involve dropping in on prospects without an appointment, either with the objective of going for a sale, or of collecting research for a later call-back. (Or, phoning people more or less at random is another form of sales cold-calling.)
The fact is, cold-calls in person are usually not a good use of your time when selling. You can waste a lot of productive time waiting in reception areas for an opening to see the Decision Maker (abbreviated here DM).
Besides, your willingness to wait and wait for an opening might be interpreted by the DM as an indication that you don't have anything better to do with your time.
But there are certain situations in which cold-calling in person IS appropriate.
1. Cold-calling IS appropriate for follow-up calls on existing customers, when you drop by to make sure all is going well with your product.
2. Cold-calling MAY be a productive use of time if you find yourself with time to spare between other appointments. For example, if you’re already in an area and have some free time before your next appointment, then a good use of that time is to make some cold call sales stops in order to prospect for new leads.
Cold-calling is ideal for seeing what other opportunities may exist in that part of your sales turf. Think about it: is there a building that might, just might, have prospects . . . but you’ve never found out much about that place? Then that building is worth a cold-call when you’re between appointments in the area.
In some cases, you may just get lucky and stumble upon a qualified Decision Maker who is interested in meeting right then. If so, seize the opportunity.
What if the prospect is interested but doesn't have the time just then? Strike while interest is high: say you understand about time, then immediately ask to set up an appointment for another day. You can always build that later day's schedule around this call.
3. Cold-calling can be useful as a tool for conducting some kinds of preliminary research and scouting for prospects. In order to quickly survey potential for your product or service among the tenants of an office building or industrial park, the best way may be to quickly "sweep" from office to office, gathering information.
The content in this post has been adapted from my books, How to Sell Face to Face: Survival Guide, and Selling 101. They are available in various e-book and paper editions; see below:
Survival Guide: Order paperback edition via Amazon
Survival Guide: Order e-book as Amazon Kindle (Amazon offers free apps that enable you to read it on your PC, Apple I-pad, I-pod, Blackberry, and others)
Survival Guide: Order e-book via Kobo, usable on various kinds of e-readers
Selling 101 (third edition): Order e-book as Amazon Kindle (Amazon offers free apps that enable you to read it on your PC, Apple I-pad, I-pod, Blackberry, and others)