Being in Business Development and Sales for a very long time I still love cold calling. And I know how a sales motivation can always get me fired up again. I watch daily inspirational videos, read blogs, books and posts from sales superstars to keep me charged up. I always learn new ideas. In this blog I give my thought for the day on using business cards to recharge my thinking. This is an outline of five simple steps to get back to the basics, make those calls and revisit old prospects.
1) Find that old Business Card Binder
Digging out that old binder of business cards gets me motivated. We all have them. I have a leather binder that has hundreds of business cards in it. I even have bundles of them wrapped in rubber bands thrown in a shoe box. Dust them off, they are a gold mine.
Like most of us we all use a CRM and should have most of the prime contacts electronically archived. After all it is the modern age of technology and social selling. But I find that the art of Cold Calling is still alive and well, especially in rural areas of America. It is easy for me to break out that old book of business cards and view several pages at a glance. There lies the old school book of business.
2) Back to the Basics
Get on the computer and compose a follow up email and remind prospects from years ago that you're still interested. Generally these are the ones I haven't seen or met with for over two years and are not be in my newsletter database. I let them know you I am still interested in meeting and remind them when we last met. A lot of things have changed so there will be plenty to discuss. This activity always provides me with results. Keep the message fairly short and no more than one paragraph. This is my preferred method and I always tell them you look forward to their reply.
3) Do the Follow Up
We all know that follow up is king of the sales cycle. A basic follow up phone call or an email and when possible a on site visit are my next steps. If there is no reply and most of the time there isn’t. I repeat this 2-3 times in a week putting a day between attempts. The process if repeated will net me an average response of 3 out at least 20 prospects. No follow up; no meeting. If you said you will be calling again then do it.
There may be prospects that expect not to hear from you again and they are always surprised when you do. It may not be a good timing on their end so no hard feelings if nothing turns out. This is why we use a multiplier of repeating the process over with new business card contacts each week. It is part of the process and I will reach out again in 9 to 12 months, repeating the process at that time.
No pressure here, but the more follow up you do the more results you will receive over longer periods of time. Compounding these types of potential leads is generally what keeps the call from really ever becoming cold again.
4) Ask for the Meeting
Schedule the meeting by offering several dates and times in your message. Always explain the reason for requesting the meeting. It is usually combined with the fact it has been so long that you want to offer a brief meeting of introductions and get reacquainted. Make sure this is always part of your follow up email and in a voice mail message if you're calling by phone. Keep it short and simple.
I always remind my prospects of any previous communication such as call next year or they are not in the market, etc. My favorite is an email reply message, these are the best. Even if they are not interested I always save them. I make sure I reference the old message and include a copy. If your last call was by phone and they were not interested you should have that note in your CRM. If the contact you are trying to reach is no longer there I see that as an opportunity to leverage old information to catch up with the new contact. This is a reference point.
5) Make the Best of the Meeting
By this stage you should already have 3 maybe 4 meetings out of 20 provided there is history. This is my point of it not being so cold. They will remember you as long as you made an impression the first time no matter how long it has been. I am also using the averages of week over week when I state by now you should have 3 to 4 new meetings to add to your week of prospecting.
While you are in the meeting now it is time to shine. Bring out your best business overview presentation after a short warm up, the exchange of new business cards and a handshake. If you only asked for 15-20 minutes stick to it. If there is time to go past that you will know based on how well the conversation is going.
Hopefully you catch the prospects attention with one of your product or service offering as you recap and update. When you are done and if you did it right you may have already sparked curiosity and received notification there is an interest. Ask for another meeting and be prepared with all your materials, proposal and subject matter expert and try for the close on the next round.
It is as simple as that “Back to the Basics” with old business cards.