Direct Sales: Finding New Business In Your Cold Market

Written by Nicole Dean

You started your direct sales business and every single on of your friends, family and their friends and family are your customers. Now it’s time to branch out and get some brand new customers. Where do you look? Where do you find brand new customers that have never heard of the company or tried the product? It’s time to enter the cold market zone.

What’s a cold market, you ask? Simply put, your cold market is anyone you don’t already know. They may also not have any experience with the product and also who may never have heard of the product or company.

Reaching your cold market can be very rewarding but it can also be a little intimidating. The term alone can send shivers down your spine. But don’t let the words intimidate you or stop you from reaching a whole world of possible new customers. Reaching your cold market can open doors of opportunity you may have never thought possible.

So, how do you go about reaching your cold market? Most sales people save the cold market for last when making sales calls because it can be scary to call a complete stranger, who might slam the phone down on you as soon as they hear you are a sales consultant. If that happens, and it probably will, just move on. Don’t let rude people stop you from reaching your goals and dreams.

Think of every place you go as a place to meet new people. When you enter an office (think doctor, dentist, pharmacist, post office, hair dresser, etc) who do you encounter first? Most likely you’ll meet the receptionist. Receptionists are usually busy so be sure it’s a good time to talk and keep it brief. If your company offers samples, leave some. If they don’t, think of a way to let them try the product. If you are selling skin care, talk to the receptionist on a personal basis. Oh, and be sure there aren’t any “No Soliciting” signs up. If there are, then you cannot go in there and solicit to the receptionist. But, if there aren’t any, then go ahead and ask the receptionist a few questions.

Here are some examples to get a conversation going:

You: Hi. My name is Mary. I was just in the neighborhood and thought I’d stop in and see if you’ve ever heard of Great Stuff for Your Home? I’m a consultant for them and looking for people who’ve never heard of it or who’ve never tried it. We’ve got some really great products that you might be interested in.
Receptionist: No, I’ve never tried it, but I have heard of it.
You: Okay, well let me give you my card and here’s a brochure. Can I give you a call at home?
Receptionist: I suppose so. But, I am only home in the evening after 6:00.
You: I will be sure to call after 6:00. (Be sure to write that down! You don’t want to make a mistake and blow the whole deal!)

When entering a business, make it brief, short, sweet and to the point. Offer your business card and brochure first before asking for their name and number. Don’t try to sell them right then and there. Follow their lead and don’t take too much time. They won’t be happy if their boss isn’t happy. And always be sure to follow up and follow through.

Another possibility is the phone book. It’s full of names and phone numbers just waiting to hear about your company or product. Well, maybe not, but if you’re at a loss for people to contact it can be a good place to start. You can start with A and work your way to Z, or vice-versa. Or you can just pop it open, point and the name you point to is the first call you make. Either way, make sure you write down or keep track of who you’ve called so you don’t call them twice.

Here’s a little script that will help you when making cold market phone calls:

Other person: Hello.
You: Hello. My name is Mary and I’m a consultant with Great Stuff for your Home. Do you have a minute? (Always, always ask this first. I don’t care if you’ve been taught otherwise, this is called having manners. I know I hate it when I don’t get a chance to say, “Hey I’m busy right now, I’ve got food on the stove or a baby playing in the toilet”, so always be polite! This will get you much farther in the long run than being rude and not letting the person on the other end speak!)
Other person: Um, yeah, I suppose so.
You: Oh great! I’ll only take a minute of your time (and be sure to do just that!) Have you ever heard of Great Stuff for Your Home?
Other person: Yeah, I think so. My ex sister in law used to sell it or something.
You: Oh okay. So you’ve never seen it or tried it then?
Other person: No. Not that I know of.
You: Well let me tell you a little bit about what we have. (Be brief, descriptive and find out if they have a need for your product).
Other person: Oh really?! I didn’t realize you sold that! I was just thinking I needed that something along those lines for my home office!
You: We also have this that may help with your home office organiztion. When would be a good time to get together? I have Monday at 2:00, Thursday at 4:00 or Friday at 6:00 available next week.
Other person: Thursday at 4:00 will work great!
You: (Tell them about the hostess plan and ask them to invite a few friends too.)

The scenario may play out where the other person just doesn’t have a need for the product. That’s okay. Be sure to give them your name and number so when a need does arise, they have it. Also be sure to ask them if you can send them a brochure in the mail with your card so when a need arises they have it on hand. If your company has a website or you have one, direct them to that as well. You want them to remember your name and look you up when they are ready to purchase.
Other ways to find people in your cold market to talk to include drawing boxes left in local business locations (with permission) and event booths. Any time you have a chance to talk about your company, try to get the information of the person you’re talking to and ask permission to contact them. Handing out free “samples” with your business card attached is also a great way to get your product in the hands of people and simply a nice thing to do.

Reaching your cold market can open new doors of opportunity for your business, so don’t be afraid to get out there and find those people who have never tried your product or heard of your company! Cold market calling can be fun and rewarding so don’t let the “No’s” stop you!

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