Quality America - We Make Compliance Easy!  
Home > Distributor Program > Helpful Articles

Distribution Information

Distribution Application

Contact Information

Product List

Helpful Articles

Put Some Punch Into Your Cold Calls
By Wayne Care

Nobody ever said that cold calling is easy. No part of a sales representative's day can present more challenges and frustrations than going to visit people who have absolutely no pressing reason to see you or buy from you.

One of the tricks I use to use was to always start and end my day with a known customer who was fun to visit. These were not always my biggest customers, but the ones who made me feel welcome and good about myself-a part of their practices. This way, no matter how many doors got slammed in my face during the rest of the day, I was able to maintain a positive attitude. I might get knocked down, but I was never knocked out!

Sometimes You Get Lucky…
…Like the day you walk in and the customer is angry with their current supplier over any number of issues: delivery errors, backorders, price increases, not returning phone calls, etc. On those days they might just jump on the opportunity to switch the business-suddenly, you're their primary supplier!

But this sudden conversion can also be a slippery slope. Consider…

  • What happens if their supplier promptly makes amends and they change back?
  • What if they are on credit hold and are switching suppliers just to get product?
  • What if not everyone in the decision making circle is behind this move and someone works actively to make YOU look bad?

Those accounts that convert spontaneously present questions and responsibilities, and demand prompt follow-up and attention. Ask them to place the first order with you personally, so that you can follow-up and ensure that the order is handled properly. Write them a personal thank you note the same night that you give the order. Make sure that they receive their order when they expect it. Call or visit immediately after that delivery is made to make sure everything is to their satisfaction. Watch their payment records closely for the first 120 days. And, if there is a mistake or late delivery, be proactive about it! Don't wait for their complaint; show them that you have been tracking the order the whole time, and that you recognized the mistake and rectified it promptly.

Remember: Luck may get you in the door, but it won't keep you there!

PCP: The Three Watchwords of Cold Calling
PCP. While the initials are reminiscent of a street drug, the words they represent are the three core responsibilities of cold calling for new business: persistence, consistency, and personability.

Some time ago I was working with a rep and we called on a medical office. The head nurse who did the buying said she had just switched vendors, and unless something unusual occurred to change their minds they were not anticipating making another change any time soon. I knew this nurse from a previous job and asked her what had happened. She said that they had been experiencing some problems from their vendor and this competitive sales rep had been faithfully calling on them so she gave him a chance.

After we left, I asked my rep how often he had been in the practice. He said that he popped in his head to say hello every three or four months and to see if they were interested in pursuing a change. Unfortunately, that wasn't often enough. While we had treated the practice as an occasional stop, the competitor had made it part of their pattern. Persistence and consistency worked for the competitor and not for us.

Persistence and consistency lead to trust. You buy from someone you trust. When a buyer becomes familiar with you they trust you; you've already shown them that you are interested in them and that they can count on you.

Personability-your parents probably said it this way: "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." It is one of those cliches that is so true it should be tattooed on every sale rep. You want to find the competitor's weakness, but you can do it in a way that is not offensive to the potential client. A couple of examples:

  • "I understand Company XYZ is always back-ordering you on syringes."
  • "Tell me what you like about your current supplier." (Then listen to the answer.)
  • "If you could improve anything in your current supplier relationship what would it be?" (Again, listen!)

Being personable is a sales rep's main door opener. Don't give them a reason to slam the door. Be inquisitive rather than critical. Be educational rather than sounding competitive.

Don't Plan To Fight, Plan To Win!
You're on a cold call. How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors when there is the ever-present question, "Can you do a quote?"

There are some who say that they don't plan their cold calls, and I wonder why. If you don't plan a cold call, then you do both yourself and the customer a disservice.

I contend that you need to follow PCP, and then you have to supply the "difference."

You need to have a plan for cold calling if you want to get past the glass. The first difference is YOU. If you follow PCP then you are already developing a bridge of trust. What else do you bring to the fight? The only muscle that matters here is the one between your ears. Sun Tzu, the Chinese General (c. 500 BC) said, "If ignorant of both your enemy and yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril."

Part of preparation is knowledge. Know who your competitors are and their strengths and weaknesses. Know your own strengths and weaknesses, too. Be honest about it. If the customer likes Rep X better than you, then decide how to combat it.

If they have one service component that is seemingly better than yours, analyze it and find a way around it. For instance, your competitor delivers daily to a certain locale and you deliver twice a week. You might use this strategy: "We help you to plan your shipments so that they arrive when expected and are less disruptive to the practice."

5 Ways To Get In Some Punches
1. Value-Added Services: Know your own services and adapt them to the customer's needs. If you've asked questions about what the customer would like to see improved from their current supplier, this is a perfect time to fit your services to that need.

2. Presentations: When asked to quote, take it a step further and do a complete presentation, emphasizing your company's strengths. If you have discovered any weaknesses in the current supplier, make sure that you emphasize those items as your core strengths while never mentioning the competitor. Make the presentation look as professional as possible.

3. Special Services: These offerings can be great gate-openers. Some ideas: checking the calibration of blood pressure equipment; offering to help review their OSHA supplies or emergency supplies; taching their centrifuges, etc. Performing these kinds of services immediately sets you apart from your competitors who do not.

4. Products: Introducing a new or different product is also a way of establishing your difference. Rather than leading with, "I can save you money. Can I do a quote?" you might talk about the new safe sharps directive and ask if they have already begun evaluating products. If not, get them to order just a trial supply from you.

5. Traveling with Manufacturer Reps: Much is dependent on the manufacturer rep, but many times reps have helped me get past the glass by offering a product or service, or simply following up on products of theirs that the customer already has or uses.

May all your cold calls turn into knockouts!


Home   |   Company Profile   |   OSHA Compliance   |   Lab Testing   |   Products   |   Seminars   |   Distributor Info  |  Order Online

Copyright © Quality America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.       1-800-946-9956 | email us | sitemap | online resource center

Website by Intellitraffic

Quality America Company Profile OSHA Compliance Lab Testing OSHA Products OSHA Seminars OSHA Consulting Order OSHA Compliance Products Online Quality America, Inc.