The question of cold calling has gotten a lot of ink in Woodshop News lately. For anyone who does not know, this is the practice of contacting a potential client without any previous arrangement or appointment. Basically, you just pick a number, call it and begin pitching your product or service to whomever happens to answer the phone. This has become much more of an issue recently because, with the economy being so difficult, more people are more needful of trying to drum up new business.
I have seen an exponential increase in the number of unsolicited sales calls I get every day. For me, it’s a nuisance. I have always made it a practice to answer my shop phone personally. When a potential customer calls my shop, I want them to be talking to the primary decision maker, not some intermediary whose main function is to screen calls or a machine that plays a recording that requests they leave their name, phone number, the purpose of the call, etc, and then informs them that someone will “get back to them.” To me that has always been a way of telling potential customers that they are not important enough for me to take a few moments to talk to them. That’s not a good way to begin a solid working relationship.
But, lately, the phone has been ringing almost constantly. I have a loud bell that I can hear over the din of machines and dust collectors running but I still have to shut everything down to hear what the person is saying. When it turns out to be some guy selling something I neither want nor need, that time is wasted. The most aggravating variation on this is when the caller is not even a person but a recorded message. The worst is getting a recorded message that asks me to please hold for Mr. So and So. And if that happens several times an hour, the total time lost during the course of a day can be significant. And then I have to factor in the time lost to trying to remember everything I was thinking before I was interrupted which makes the loss even greater.
In spite of this, there are valid arguments for this practice. Later this week I will outline my own “method” for cold calling potential new customers.
To be continued…