Retailer2Retailer: The warm cold call

Home Columns Retailer2Retailer: The warm cold call

September 14/21; Volume 30/Number 7

By Scott Perron

What is it about the idea of cold calling a new prospect or customer that makes sales professionals dread it? It has been ingrained in our heads since the beginning of time that cold calling is somehow difficult, ineffective and not worth our time. Well folks, I am here to tell you that preconception is dead wrong.

Granted, in times of economic difficulty, cold calling will produce fewer results simply because people are not actively spending money. However, during times of economic growth, as most of you are experiencing now, it is not only effective but can also be fun.

One of the beliefs you may have heard me preach is to be proud of who you are, who you work for and be sure to tell everyone you meet about it. During conversations, I rarely get through the first couple of minutes without introducing our business and what we do for a living.

How many times have we, as flooring experts, walked into a home or building that clearly needs our services, only to walk out without ever mentioning that we could be of help? How much effort would it take to reach into your wallet or pocketbook, offer a business card and introduce yourself to a potential customer?

Let’s take it up a notch and consider the idea of producing some inexpensive brochures that include your contact information, quality images of new floor covering and the list of product categories you carry. (Remember, less is more.) Attach that to a business card and you are armed and dangerous. I dare you to take this simple tool and walk into one of the many medical offices or condominium facilities in your area. Visit each office and introduce yourself to the office manager. Simply state that when she considers redoing the flooring in the space, you will be ready to service her needs. You will find that 99% of the time you will not be thrown out and you may even tap into individual potential customers looking for residential work.

Of course these lead sources are not restricted to the medical community—there is an endless list of possibilities when it comes to building your portfolio. Every restaurant, office building, retail store, insurance agency, law firm and virtually any building you walk into is your potential customer.

Many businesses are flourishing in this economic climate and are considering the possibilities of remodeling. In our market there is a plethora of new projects in which we are bidding luxury vinyl plank, tile and modular carpet. In many cases we are a welcome sight during these cold calls, as these folks are already gearing up to get estimates and schedule consultations.

I suggest that you carve out a set number of hours (between two and four per week) to attempt this underestimated form of marketing. Be diligent and efficient with your time by mapping out exactly where you will prospect during these hours. Measure the important details of all the locations you visit and be sure to accurately document your results so you will be able to handle the questions that come up and be better prepared for your next encounter.

There are two main advantages of this kind of cold calling: You can accomplish your goals with minimal advertising costs as it is primarily labor intensive, (if you can even call it labor) and, best of all, you will differentiate yourself and your business from your competitors, especially the big boxes.

If you have the guts to give this a try, shoot me an email and let me know how you made out.

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Volume 30/Number 7

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