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    14 Replies Latest reply on Jun 8, 2009 2:42 PM by NotBillyMays

    Cold Calling

    aacl2009 Adventurer
      My business partner and I go cold calling about once a month to apartments and commercial buildings to drum up business, we have found this to be the most effective way to get responses from people. Direct mail and email contacts brought no results but face to face allowed us to submit some bids and land some work. This summer we will be expanding our residential exterior services and I would like some ideas on how best to generate leads.

      When I ran a painting business five years ago I would hire respectable young people to canvass an area with me and guarantee them $10 per lead or $8.50/hour which ever was greater. Do you think this is still an effect way to get help? There are not many people that want to work for just one or two days and possibly make minimum wage for their efforts. It's hard to find people who want to cold call. I enjoy it because I know it adds to our bottom line but the cold callers often seem unmotivated. Any ideas on how to make cold calling effective and mutually beneficial to all parties involved?

      Lastly do you think it is effective to offer $100 to anyone that can give me a commercial lead as long as they end up hiring us?
        • Re: Cold Calling
          Chestermo Newbie
          I am in Merchant Services (Credit Card Processing) and I HATE cold calling. I ran across a book the was titled "Never Cold Call Again" and the system in there works very well. I found the book at Kinkos in San Bernardino. One of the things listed was to offer to pay any other salespeople a fee for referrals that turn into a sale, as in your question.

          Networking clubs are similar to this but do not offer to pay for the leads. I am trying to get a networking club started that would pay for leads. If you would like to see it, go to and use the link "To return to the C4ABA I*nland Empire Consultants Co-Op"*

          Good luck!
          • Re: Cold Calling
            LUCKIEST Guide

            Cold calling is the process of approaching prospective customers or clients, who were not expecting such an interaction.

            Cold calling gets you in front of the right person. You meet the decision makers. Cold calling gets you to the right people by meeting them most of the time. You need a written referral program to help you succeed.

            Who are you offering the $100 to?? The person who truly gives you the lead or the decision maker of the company that just signed up?? (not clear)

            Good luck, LUCKIEST
            • Re: Cold Calling
              PhxSmallBiz Newbie
              In order to offer a $100 incentive or spiff to the sales person that lands your new account you need to have that much profit in the bid, only you can answer that question. If you land the customer will all of your costs be covered in the first service or will they need to get on a maintenance contract in order to net out the $100 profit you are paying as commission. If it takes more than one service to net out the profit (fully-burdened) then I would pay an extended commission; e.g. $20/month for the next 5 months- payable when you collect on the contract.

              It is very difficult to find people that are self-motivated and still only making $8.50/hour. I would look at what your true profit is for each new customer that you bring in and from that number determine the highest dollar amount you can afford to pay as a spiff to the sales person that landed the account. Quality sales people are worth the money you pay them and are the surest way to grow your business, unfortunately the good ones generally know that they are good and are looking for the money.

              Remember, ultimately this is the face of your company, they are relaying your branding and message to the public. You want to invest as much as you can in this asset.

              This is a tough market and I applaud you being proactive.
              • Re: Cold Calling
                Marketing1 Wayfarer
                There are many ways to generate leads and Cold Calling has to be the hardest and most able of demoralizing and undermining the confidence the caller. It's hard not to take sales rejection personally even when the person who doesn't buy is not rejecting you. It's even harder when it's your own business.

                As I know you have heard before, people buy from people they know and trust. They also buy on the recommendation of those they know and trust.

                Here are a couple of techniques I would use to generate leads without Cold Calling:
                1. Contact people you have done work for in the past, ask them for a written recommendation (you might have to prompt them on what to say...maybe even write it for them) and an introduction to one or more of their business colleagues. People do like to help other people. You can tell them you are expanding your business and they can help by....
                2. Join a networking group, the Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trade, BNI and attend regularly. Don't go with the intention of getting business because you will probably be disappointed at first. Go with the intention of expanding your network of business people and show interest in them. Some groups let you do a short elevator speech. Part of that speech is an opportunity for you ask for what you want. Be ready with the names of one or two of the largest commercial property owners in your area and ask for an introduction to them. Is there a commercial property owners association in your area?

                Kim Duke, The Sales Diva is great at providing tips on how to grow your business without cold calling. Even though it's primarily for women, a lot of the tips are transferable.

                Good luck!

                • Re: Cold Calling
                  vistasad Adventurer
                  You have to behave in a slightly more managerial style. Firstly keep cold calling on your own. I assume you are not absolutely full up with work.
                  What follows is just illustrative thinking. Structure the payment that you are making to the sales persons. Tell them they will be in training for the first two days and take them along at a wage of $5. After that they get what you are offering at present. Teach them a sales drill of how to address and talk to a prospective. They should carry your business cards to hand over. Count these at the end of the day. Have a book on selling techniques in your office. Make them read it (without paying for their time). At then end of it give them a nicely printed certificate on your company letter head saying that they have succesfully completed a 5 day sales course. I assume they have a list of houses and persons names they contacted (or had the door slammed on their faces) along with comments.
                  Sell them the idea that they are not just geting $8.50 but also training in sales along with a certification.
                  Read the sales book yourself so that you can learn from it and cross questiion them.
                  Have you considered women as your sales agents. They won't have doors slammed on their faces so easily, specially if they are not carrying large bags.
                  Just some thoughts. Use brainstorming to come up with other ideas. Best
                  <!--Session data-->
                  • Re: Cold Calling
                    sbimonline Newbie
                    Personally, I hate cold calling. I used to run a marketing agency and refused to do it. Instead, I built an online system to get around it. I used search engine marketing that lead to a page with valuable content and a lead capture form. My conversion rate wasn't all that great, but those that filled out the lead capture form were extremely motivated and it gave me time to run the business and not make hundreds of calls. I never found cold calling to be effective or efficient. I also did a lot of networking. Here's a post I wrote on how I did it:

                    • Re: Cold Calling
                      workhard Newbie
                      Cold calling can be very effective .. For your team to be motivated for that particular day, they should have something to look forward to in the evening, like a prize or something. Also you should conduct some motivation classes in the morning, even its just for 15 minutes. Tell them the benefits of cold calling and how that confidence they develop will help them out in the future.


                      • Re: Cold Calling
                        k2kwon Newbie
                        I think cold calling is great as long as you do it an effective way, and be persistent. As long as you have a great script and an key selling point, cold calling can go a long way. Here's a link with some tactics you can use for successful cold calls. . In the long run, you should consider some lead generation companies such as Vendorseek and InsideUp
                        • Re: Cold Calling
                          LUCKIEST Guide
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                          • Re: Cold Calling
                            trivestors Newbie
                            If You have a good telephone script, you could always use telemarketers. You might think that it is a thing of the past. Remember that Business ( selling of services or products) is a number's game. The do not call list is a pain in the #@#, but you can buy a scrubbed list for your area. I would rather spend my money on telemarketers then on advertising at first. Going back to cold calling. You need to pay them for the quility of the lead and a bonus if it sells. Do not be greedy. Share the wealth and it will get you a lot more business. Your business will grow fast. I've used my business plan all through my businesses. If you share the money with your employees they will work more efficiently, increasing their output ten fold. You see if you just pay them hourly, you have hourly leads.

                            • Re: Cold Calling
                              kwikturn Newbie
                              There is a better way to get fresh leads everyday without cold calling.
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                              • Re: Cold Calling
                                studio 525 Adventurer
                                I always prefer having prospects come to me rather than me go to them. The conversion ratios are much higher. By distributing a strong, focused, irresistible sales message to a wide audience, your target market pre-selects themselves. The ones who contact you already know all about your company, products and services. They trust you and chose to do business with you. At this point selling is easy. A cold call means you have to do all that work in a very short time, frequently a time that is very inconvenient to your overworked prospect. Not an ideal selling situation. Unless you have a rare talent, most people lose many potential sales this way.

                                It's true that selling through print and the web isn't easy. You need excellent marketing, copywriting and design skills. But from my experience, it's a lot easier and more effective than cold calling. If you don't have those skills yourself, there are many people who can help you out.

                                To see just how effective selling through the web, print and email can be, check out our website. There's tons of free marketing information, resources, client success stories and a free downloadable 43 page Special Report.


                                I've spent over 30 years in marketing and advertising working for some of the top ad agencies in the country. There's never been anything as effective and cost-effective as the web. As long as you know what you're doing. And most of that info is available for free.

                                Good luck and good selling,

                                Peter Cutler
                                Principal/Creative Director
                                studio 525