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Sales / Cold Calling

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Sales / Cold Calling
December 22, 2010
1:53 am
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ely
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December 21, 2010
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Hi,

I have very little sales experience and would like to get your take on a way to cold call businesses. From the time I walk into the door to the time I leave. How do I introduce myself and my company. What questions they might have for me and the correct way to answer them. I know information will vary with individual circumstances but I want to be comfortable in front of them. Thanks for any info you can give!

December 22, 2010
1:55 am
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Bob Lavendusky_1
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December 20, 2010
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Hi Ely,

Lets start with the low hanging fruit, by that I mean the quickest and easiest way for you to get clients.

1. Call local Courier/Delivery companies and subcontract routes from them. ( I know couriers who do nothing but subcontract with other courier services!) Most courier services will subcontract work out to other couriers. Why? they get busy and can’t handle it themselves, it doesnt fit their schedule, a driver takes a 2 week vacation, etc. this is by far the easiest way to get started. Just call, introduce yourself and your Company and let them know you would be interested in helping them out should a need arise.

2. Tap into and build your network of contacts: Service businesses live and die by referrals. People love referrals, what do you do when you need somebody to paint your house or fix your furnace? you ask your friends who they recommend. Its the same way in the business world, so join your local chamber of commmerce, advertising in your churches newletter, tell your Facebook friends that you are open for business, and pass out your business cards to everybody you know.

3. Market Research: dont just cold call anybody use the market survey form that came with your kit. Go around and give these to businesses that are your best prospects. (The best prospects list is in your documents kit along with the marketing survey) Distribute these personally and come back in a day or two to pick them up. This is a relatively stress free way of making an initial contact, so when you do call on them it is not a cold call but a call to a qualified prospect.

4. Calling on a prequalified client. Once you pick up the completed market research survey you have another opportunity to make contact and establish raport with a potential client. Thank them for taking time to fill out the survey and ask them if they know of any other businesses to give the survey to. When you review the completed surveys you will know what the clients needs are, how frequently they use couriers and what they pay for these services. Next contact the businesses that showed a positive response and set up an appointment to talk to them about your services.

The initial meeting should be seen as more information gathering, go over their survey with them and nail down in more detail what their needs and desires are. Many businesses have very detailed ways they would like their deliveries handled, this can be a way to differentiate yourself from other couriers. Tell them that you are willing to conform to whatever special requirements they have. ie. need a reciept, need a signed delivery log, need confirmation of the delivery etc. Once you know exactly what they need you can then go home and write up a proposal, to be presented to them at the next meeting.

I am not a natural born salesman and I treat my potential clients the way I like to be treated when somebody is trying to sell something to me. I keep it very low key and don’t put pressure on them to "close the sale" especially during the initial meeting. Take the time to build raport with your potential client, develop a sense of trust, because they are getting to know you as a person and not somebody who is trying to get something from them. Nothing will blow the sale faster than being too pushy or too desperate to close the sale, this will definitely scare off any potential clients, no matter how good your service and/or your prices are. You should always be of an attitude that you are helping them to solve a need they have, once you find the need and have a proposal to address it, the sale is already half way done.

Once you get a few solid clients under your belt, you will probably start to get referrals from them. I get the vast majority of my clients through referrals from satisfied clients and from my network of acquaintances.

An obvious and often overlooked part of the sales process is to present a clean and professional appearance to your potential clients: be impeccably groomed, I would suggest wearing a suite, polish your shoes etc. Make sure your market research survey looks professional: ie has some graphic design, not handwritten on a piece of paper. If you have business cards already make sure they are very professional and don’t look like you printed them from home. If you have one or more clients already it can be a great sales tool to allow your prospect to contact your client(s) for feedback about your service. (of course ok this with your clients first).

Take time to establish raport before launching into your sales pitch. Chit chat about the weather, sports etc, if you notice photos of kids on the desk, make nice comments about the photos, etc. What you want to do is build a sense of trust and friendliness. Be calm and confident, take the pressure off yourself and don’t focus on closing the deal, just focus on finding their needs and offering solutions to their problems.

For the actual sales process I would suggest writing out a script, and memorizing it. You will also want to write down any possible objection a potential client may have and write out responses to these as well. It’s very important to memorize and maybe even role play these scripts with a friend or spouse. Memorizing is not enough you need to continually practice rehearsing your script so it becomes natural and when in a sales call an objection comes up you have an immediate, and appropriate response for the prospective client. You should also be changing your scripts based on the results with prospective clients. If you notice something works especially well or not at all, adjust your scripts according to the results you are getting.

There is a lot of free information about sales on the internet and many great books at your library and the bookstore to help guide you on how to be an effective salesman. You may even want to attend a sales seminar to hone your salesmanship skills.

But a bit of warning, there are many, many opinions on how to be a good salesman. What is the right way to approach sales? Find the way that fits best with your personality. I am a fairly low key person, so a book that touts an aggressive, "always be closing (the sale) mentality" may be fine for some people but is not a good match for my personality. No matter how hard I try I will never be good at that type of selling technique. What I am good at is helping people to solve problems, so a sales approach that shares this philosophy resonates with my personality and is the most natural fit for me. I don’t have to try to be somebody I am not.

When all is said and done you are the face of your company. Your company is an extension of your personality and your philosophy, so be natural, be yourself and find a sales technique that takes advantage of your unique strengths and innate personality, and not one that focuses on the areas you are not so strong in.

Good Luck with it! Let us know if we can be of further assistance.

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