Friday, February 06, 2009

Cold Calling

I started my career over 10 years ago in Corporate America.  This was pre 9/11 and the meeting and event business in New York City was booming. Being the VP of Event Planning, all the sales calls were directed to me. Instead of sending the calls to voicemail, with little or no intentions of returning the call, I would pick them up and speak to the sales person.  If it was service we had and we where happy with our current vendor, I would inform them of that, but always ask to receive their contact information. If we did not have the service and there was interest, I would set up a meeting accordingly.

Three years later, 9/11 occurred and the hospitality and tourism market sank to unthinkable lows.  I was still the VP, and when the sales calls increased, I will still take the call and either gather the contact information or set up a meeting based on our current needs.

Ten years later, I still remain in contact and utilize the services of those vendors that called blindly over the decade, and are thankful for their support and loyalty in growing my company's current and future business.

Presently, we are in a recession (or a depression as some may call it) and now I am the one doing the cold calling since I am no longer the VP of another company, but the President of my own.  The difference is that I'm receiving "straight to voicemail" phone lines or the new trend of a "sales and marketing" hotline that won't allow you to connect with a live individual.

In January of 2009 we were fed endless media about "Change" and believing once again in the United States and helping to bring back a lucrative economy.  Wasn't this supposed to be a movement to start helping one another?  

Did I miss something?

Despite the thousands losing their jobs daily, business still needs to occur to help motivate the economic upswing.  There are still wedding celebrations, corporate meetings and promotional events occurring that need the help of a strong, budget conscious, respectable company.  I'm kindly asking these associates in charge of those events to simply just take that vendor's call. Even if the conversation is for 30 seconds, it is all that matters.  And if you decide that this vendor is not for you, it will still be considered a successful call.  Otherwise, you are feeding into the negativity that has been dictated by the media and possibly losing out on an amazing service. 

Having experienced both ends of the spectrum, I understand the challenges of each. From the anxiety of making the call to the awkwardness of the unknown.  No one wants to say "no" but a "no thank you" and a conversation to why the service is not needed will make both parties more the wiser and form some type of relationship for the future.

Just try it once next time you receive a phone call, you never know what just might happen.

1 comment:

bcaponi said...

As a bloger that specializes in helping companies get in front of more prospects (including cold calling - www.coldcalling101), I appreciate your thoughts and let me add three additional ones.

1) As much as we'd like people to take those calls and have a brief conversation with us, it's going to get harder because those that are left after the lay-offs have even more to do. Ergo, our voicemails better be very compelling or we'll less often get through let along have that informational conversation.

2) If you're looking for someone who believes the way you do (and be more willing to have a conversation), call into the sales department first. Us sales types are generally very friendly and willing to help other sales people learn some valuable information before calling the person you think (or the sales person thinks) is the right one.

3) Also, when you ask to be transfered, the call will generally ring as an internal call, more likely to be picked up!