Cold calling is the most common and generally most effective way of developing sales and is especially successful if the necessary pre-planning takes place. A clear idea of who and where the best potential buyers are located is a must.
To ensure maximum selling time, that is the time you are in a direct face to face meeting with a potential customer, a degree of pre-call planning will, for the vast majority of businesses, not only be beneficial and cost effective, but also essential.
The face-to-face sales interview with a potential buyer is the most important part of the whole marketing function. It is at this point that your product or service is scrutinised by the person who can, with the right decision in your favour, make the all important contribution to your business; that is place an order, for without orders there is no business.
Before you get in front of a customer think about your personal appearance. If you seek maximum acceptance it is safer to conform to conventional style.
The first and crucial step in selling is to identify prospective customers (prospects). Even when you already have customers or leads, it is vital that you continue to develop further sales opportunities. You can do this in the following ways:
ask current customers for names of potential buyers or ask them who is their biggest competitor;
develop referral sources, eg suppliers, bankers, trade associations, etc;
join groups such as your local small business club or Chamber of Commerce, where you have a good chance of meeting or learning about new prospects;
Selling is as essential an element of your business as, say, preparing a business plan or retaining effective financial control. It is a skill like any other, and can be developed and improved over time and with practice. Writing out an order having attracted a prospective customer and made a successful sales presentation is one of the most satisfying things you will do.
Karma Active won a Shell LiveWIRE Award in June 2010. Here they offer some advice on refining your sales technique.