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Alternative Ways to Cold Call By Pat Evans


Which employee in your firm fits the following description? The person sits at a desk at the entrance to a firm. The employee answers the phone, types, has a little bit of an edge, maybe does the mail and is trained to keep sales people and other foreign invaders OUT.

Yes, you’re right; it’s the receptionist…the “white blood cell” (WBC). The only person with “Don’t let anyone in who does not have an appointment” listed in their job description and the only employee with a “defend the fortress at all cost” mentality.

So, how do you cold call? How do you as a sales rep get by this person? Believe it or not almost all sales reps exit their car, walk in and try to converse with the WBC. How dumb can you be?

I would suggest you simply walk in a different door and experience a totally different reception.

Walk in through the shipping dock. Most people working the dock presume you are there to speak to a manager. You simply ask the first person you see,” Purchasing? I’m looking for Purchasing” or “I’m looking for the Sales Manager.” Make sure you walk briskly and act like you are supposed to be there.

I worked trucking docks for four summers to put myself through college. 99% of people unloading trucks don’t care who you are and are not as uptight as white-collar workers. This approach works. I used it when selling leasing and mailing/shipping systems. I cold called with saleswomen and salesmen. Once a rep realizes he/she can simply enter through a different door their prospecting becomes much easier.

Haphazard cold calling is not a profitable venture.

Call a prospect and instead of asking for the CFO or the President, ask for “accounts payable”. Why will the receptionist put the call through right away? Because she thinks you are asking for money and you would not be calling if her firm had paid its invoice on time. She is not paid enough to screen this type of call so she allows you past the gates. Once you hear, “Accounts payable” you simply say, “I’m sorry I wanted the CFO. Can you please transfer me to the CFO?” If you are passed back to the operator, hang up without speaking and call back at a different time of day to try again.

(I have never had to do this more than twice. It works.)

Ask questions and ask often. The more questions you ask the more money you will make.

Prospects are people just like you. They want to find a trustworthy supplier and depend on them.

You may actually save their firm time and/or money, but so many sales reps lacking in social skills have approached them that a roadblock is their knee-jerk reaction when any sales person appears.

Ask your prospect, “If I can prove mathematically that you are wasting money and supply you with industry references (industry references trump brand name references), will you purchase my product?” If you receive a YES, you are very close to a deal. If they reply NO, that’s OK. Simply ask the prospect, “How can I get your business?”

If you want to think outside the box, you need to realize “there is no box” on day one.
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Pat Evans is the author of SalesBURST!! World’s Fastest (entrepreneurial) Sales Training (Wiley; October 2007), past national spokesperson for NODMA, and was founder of EVCOR, a small business that eventually grew to $40 million in annual revenue and sold for $60 million. Visit www.EvanSales.com.

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  • Steve

    Great advice Pat. So simple – but we spend so much time making solutions to our problems so complex that we forget how simple and straight forward it can be.

    Steve Crothers
    salesreprecruiter.com

  • Josh Hinds

    Steve, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    -Josh 🙂