Lately people have asked me lots of questions about the new bill that has passed on the subject of phone solicitation, which we affectionately call “cold calls”. “So Greta, don’t you think it is unfair that they don’t allow people to do their job. Thousands of people are employed by these “marketing” companies and they are going to be out of work”.
First of all let’s understand this bill. It does not say that you cannot solicit on the telephone. It does allow people to put their name on a list so they will not be called. I have not seen the percentage of potential prospects that have actually made this request but truly, do you really think it will cut out your business?
Second of all, stop whining! This country was built on entrepreneurs creating business on opportunities. The telephone and wide usage of it began the brilliant idea of using it to solicit business. Times change and so do ways of doing business.
Thirdly and most of all (some of you are not going to like this) Stop cold calling! OK maybe in some cases you will need to, at least at the beginning, do some cold calling. But are you developing a system for referrals and networking? Are you asking for referrals as a part of your business plan or is your plan haphazard. Don’t you want to do business the most effective, efficient and by the way the most pleasant way, which is networking, and referrals.
How many of us would rather do business with someone we were referred to? The meeting is more pleasant, more interactive and if you were referred, someone probably has already sung your praises. (Which is so much better then you doing it, right?)
OK so here are some tips:
1. Create a system to get more referrals. This means actually setting goals of how many “referral meetings” you will have in a particular week or month. Then talk to as many clients, friends, colleagues etc. until you meet your goal.
2. When you have these meetings they are not about you and how they can give business to you. The philosophy is “Givers Gain” . This means ask about them, their business and how you can help them. What is a good client for them? Help them grow their business and they will always help you grow yours.
3. If they ask about helping you, figure out who you’re looking for. If you tell them “anyone who needs insurance...”for example, it is too difficult to picture that. Remember people see in pictures.
4. Create a picture for them. I have a great example I heard from Wendy Widman, an office products sales consultant. Wendy said “ a good referral for me would be if you see one of those big red “office product” trucks parked in front of an office building, give me a call. I bet when you see one today you’ll remember this article!
5. Make a top ten hit list. When someone does ask if they can help you, be very specific and help them picture your customer. Show them your hit list. This should be the top 10 companies you would like to be introduced to. You never know who they know.