End of the Year Advice: Top 10 Cold Call List—Ignore at your Peril!

The Appointment Source’s quick recap of some of the most important principles to follow when trying to secure meetings with decision makers to sell products or services. Ignore these at your peril!

  1. Be skeptical: You will often be told “a decision has been made,” when, in fact, if you got the right person on the phone, you might discover otherwise.
  2. Don’t pitch the janitor. Unless you are talking to the person in charge of your project or issue you are spinning your wheels.
  3. If they tell you, “check back in 90 days”, call back in 4 weeks (no more than 6). Sometimes things move fast. You snooze you lose.
  4. Always ask for what you want: even if it’s early in the project cycle, tell them you would like to meet and introduce your company “before you are inundated with other vendors”. That way, you get a leg up on your competition.
  5. Use the myriad tools the web affords you: LinkedIn, Google, and Jigsaw are your best friends. Use them.
  6. Don’t waste your prospect’s time: if you are fortunate enough to reach your target on the phone, be clear, concise, and polite. Ask for what you want. Decision makers don’t like marketers that waste their time and pussyfoot around. Get to the point, quickly.
  7. If you are told, “so and so is handling this and he’s already chosen a vendor”, be sure that you talk to so-and-so yourself and verify that this is the case. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to “so-and-so” and discovered that the bidding has not been closed and booked an appointment.
  8. Be skeptical (I know I said this already). If you are told, “vendors have all been chosen,” call back in 2 or 3 weeks and try again. You’d be surprised how often the story changes and you are able to get in the door.
  9. Remember that it’s a numbers game: you have to make a lot of calls and get turned down many, many times to find the live ones. This is not a game for the easily discouraged. Keep hammering—good things come to those who work, and work smart (see previous tips and blog postings).
  10. Network: good networking contacts (i.e. people that share valuable business intelligence) are gold and very hard to find. I have probably gone through at least 20 networking contacts that give me out-of-date worthless info for every one person I have found that provides me with valuable information. Be ruthless about getting rid of the former and do all you can to hang onto the latter—share your best info with them so that they reciprocate.
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