I was in the office on a cold February afternoon. My mind was mush. That’s worse than the oatmeal consistency it usually has. I needed inspiration and motivation.
So as usual, I made popcorn. No, not that microwave bag crap. REAL popcorn, MAN-style popcorn with oil and salt (but no butter ’cause I gotta watch my figure).
POP GOES THE EGO
I was taking a ginormous bowl of PC back to my office. I stuffed a giant handful into my mouth and I walked through our reception area. A salesperson was conversing with Malia, our office manager. “I thought I smelled popcorn!” the salesperson exclaimed. “What a great idea for an afternoon snack.” Clearly, she appreciates fine dining.
‘’Aaankk Ooooo,” I said — trying to talk with my mouth full. I finished chewing and repeated my “thank you” and offered her some. For the next five minutes, she and Malia and I talked about ways to make popcorn. Eventually, my popcorn pal introduced herself and told me she was just dropping off info about a new copier her company sells.
WE BOUGHT; SO DO OTHERS
The copier she was selling now sits in our production room — we bought it. That’s right, we made a major purchase from a salesperson who made a cold call — an IN-PERSON cold call. There was no billboard, direct mail or TV bringing me her firm’s message. No email blast, YouTube or Twitter.
That got me thinking, and I investigated some of the major purchases we’ve made and our major suppliers. Many originated with cold calls.
Cold calls can still be effective — even in this day of “internet everything.” Many of my associates have bought from people who started the relationship with a cold call.
IT STARTED WITH MARKETING
Now don’t get me wrong — most of these suppliers have great marketing, and we recognized their brands and products. But often the “tipping point” was the act of them walking in and eventually bumping into a decision-maker. Or they convinced Malia, the Queen of Gatekeepers, to recommend them to a partner in our firm.
WE DO IT
At Farris, we keep business cards, sample materials and a laptop with us when we go out for meetings. If we get a chance before a meeting, we stop in the next-closest office to our meeting. We strike up a conversation and introduce ourselves. No pressure.
DO IT RIGHT
Use “People Media” like traditional media. Create awareness first, and gather some information. Start to build a relationship and inform, then eventually ask for a meeting and a chance to make a proposal. Take little steps and be friendly, but be persistent.
THE MOST SOCIAL MEDIA
There is nothing more social than visiting with people. And your cold calls should be a “visit.” Occasionally, set aside your big marketing efforts and go visit some prospects. Who knows…they may be making popcorn!