How to make a sales call

Today I was out making sales calls in my local industrial area where there are a lot of different rental companies. Idea being to get these rental / hire companies using to generate extra business. The timing is good, because we have a zero cost entry platform and times are tough in the B to B arena.

But the thing that really matters is how I’ve been making the sales calls. Firstly, these guys are B to B, trades focused guys. renting mainly industrial equipment. The last thing they want to some tech / web geek give them bullshit about how the internet is going to save them…. So here’s what I’ve done instead:

  1. I haven’t shaved for 3 days – got a good beard growing. I’m wearing jeans and boots with a fairly standard zip up jumper. When I walk in I look like a customer, in fact I look like they do. I’m less threatening and this is obvious with the positive greetings I’m receiving.
  2. When I drop in (remember it’s a cold call) I say, ‘You know I live around the corner, I drive past here everyday and I’ve been meaning to drop in for ages. You know I’ve got web business which is all about rental companies…..” And I do live close enough to use this line. It is genuine.
  3. The F Bomb – Yep, I’m dropping this one big time – for one simple reason – they are. I’ll use whatever language they use. If they like swearing, so do I. I’m matching their culture in dress and language.
  4. I know their business. I don’t walk in and say ‘So tell me about your business’ – I do my homework before I turn up. Granted I know enough about the rental industry now to adapt to different segments pretty quick. I know what matters to them and get the conversation into that area quickly.
  5. I don’t try and sell anything on the first call. We do have a free entry to rentoid – but we also sell integrated web technologies. But I don’t try to sell anything.  Just get them to like me in fact, I’m selling me. People buy things from people they like. Then they find a logical or business reason to justify their decision after they’ve already made it.
  6. I follow up with whatever I promise. Information, phone calls, data whatever they need. I try to show I’ll be a valuable resource.
  7. I get rejected too. It’s a numbers game, and each rejection is a lesson for honing my skills for the next call.

I’m learning heaps and I’m loving it.

Start up blog says – get out there and start selling.

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8 Comments How to make a sales call

  1. Tim Cinel

    I don’t particularly like cold calling, but sometimes it’s an opportunity too good to avoid. I certainly appreciate your chameleon approach – matching their formality and culture. Cool resource 🙂

  2. webshards

    Great post mate … all very valid and accurate pieces of sales advice for whom ever reads it … goes to show that there are many many adaptations that sales people needs to make when selling into different industries and segments within them

    Enjoyed reading it – @glebe2037

  3. Scott Kilmartin

    Nice one Tap Dogs,

    I often do it Marlon Brandon “On the Waterfront” style in my motorcycle boot clodhoppers.

    The John Wayne is my favourite, but pounding the pavement too many days in a row in cowboy boots takes it toll on my wheels these days.

    I used to do the Sienfeld with white tennis shoes but that’s so passé these days.

    The Tony Hawk is kosher, and i’ve done some GOLD work in my Vans.

    I try and avoid the Bra Boys [thongs], it would be swell if I was selling SexWax tho.

    Next time i’m in Darlo i might add these badboys to my selling Rig …

    & the moral of this story…

    Good selling still requires some aerobic exercise, your foot leather of choice, face time & thick skin.
    No matter what you are flogging.

    ps. A smile helps [just don’t do the Peter Costello & wear a ridiculous grin]

  4. ThorSalesWarlord

    Cold calling is the bomb.
    I spent 4 years working at master builders and two years working for their publisher as state sales manager and I agree with a lot of what Sam is talking about here.
    Its a very intelligent no bull approach which goes off a bomb.
    I have done more business over a beer and a parmagana with these boys than over the phone. Cold calling is do able but using the three step – call in the arrange the more formal visit (at the local pub if you can do it) then call back or back in and close.
    I think if you really do your research like Sam has here, it isn’t really cold anyway.
    Mirroring is a classic, and tradies do have their own language so being “real” and not talking down or using big words is really important if you want to get their trust.
    I find most tradies to also be kinesthetics, hence they like to touch feel meet personally shake hands and be able to enjoy a tangible experience before purchasing. Eating drinking talking shit. Mate of mine did the best business by taking them to the pub and not even talking business. Just like me trust me. Calculate your life time value for the deal and figure out whether its worth a pot and a parma..

  5. Steve Hopkins

    Sometimes, if dealing with corporate clients, this can be a lot harder. I was trying to get some leverage about 3 years ago on a leadership development course we were trying to start and we just kept getting blocks from gatekeepers at every step.

    Now, you coudl go either way. You could try waiting down in the foyer, hit your target up on his/her way into work in the morning and go from there (i’ve done this, the results aren’t great – it’s obvious you’ve been waiting to jump them) OR you could try to stand out a little more…

    So, I sent these people (who were very busy) a saucer I bought from the salvos with the following handwritten on it.

    “I know you have a lot on your plate, but could you possibly spare a chat about our amazing idea?”

    I then packed it into a mail box, put a one-pager in and then followed up with a call the next day. They certainly knew who I was…

    “I’m the guy that left the plate…”

    I sent it to 5 and got 1 great response and a meeting. The response, mind you, was already a warm connection so I’m not sure how well this counts as an anecdote but, heck, I thought it helped get some traction.

    It was also quite fun 🙂

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