Walk-in Cold Calls – NOT Super Scary

Walk-in Prospecting Calls

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Last week, we talked about prospecting calls with a heavy emphasis on telephoning.  We started with a pattern interrupt, received permission to deliver a 30-second commercial, and then either sorted them out as not a prospect or started a conversation.

This week, we take that up a notch for walk-in cold calls.  Oddly enough, I’ve trained salespeople that were scared to death of one or the other and sometimes both.  They would tell me that they couldn’t walk in but they could call all day without taking rejection personally or vice versa.

In either case, if we can temporarily put aside our own needs to sell and put forward the prospects need to solve a problem, it becomes exponentially easier to have that initial conversation.


Walk-In Cold Call

Interestingly enough, just about every receptionist, greeter, office manager, and business owner says about the same thing when a stranger walks into the business, “Can I help you?” or some version of that or similar pattern.  From last week, we learned, “If you look, sound, or feel like a salesperson, you’re likely to be treated like one.”  So, don’t respond how a salesperson would to this question.

How would a salesperson respond?  (With a huge confident smile and puffed chest) “Oh yes, I’m Billy Bob with XYZ company.  Can I speak with the manager or owner?”   And, what do they say?  That’s right, they treat you like a salesperson!  They either have an excuse why that person isn’t available, ask you to leave a card, ask if you have an appointment, tell you they aren’t interested, etc, etc, etc.  They have a defensive pattern for salespeople.

Pattern Interrupt

So, just like the telephone cold call we learned about last week, we need to introduce a pattern interrupt.  I personally answer the question meekly, like a little, lost boy, “I’m not sure.  I’m not sure if I’m even in the right place.”  What do you suppose the receptionist says at this point?  Is there a well-worn pattern for that response?  Probably not.  Most likely, they become more nurturing and helpful

trying to help me find my mommy.  After all, they aren’t sure if I’m a customer, vendor, I.R.S. agent, or little, lost boy.

30-Second Commercial

At some point, we request permission to share why we stopped by and ask if we should talk to someone (hopefully we’ve researched who someone actually is and know their first name) or not.  We do this by saying something like, “Would it be okay if I took 30 seconds and shared why I stopped by and you can decide if there is some I should visit with or not?”  [Note:  If you haven’t MASTERED your 30-second commercial yet, PLEASE focus on that today and go back to that lesson here on the training site:  Effective Prospecting Message].


Now that you’ve shared why you’re here, you can ask a question like, “But I’m not sure any of those are even an issue for your company.  Is that something FIRST NAME OF DECISION MAKER still handles?  This is another form of a pattern interrupt, as the receptionist jumps to the conclusion that you actually know the decision maker.  The typical pattern would be for the salesperson to walk in and ask for that person specifically; however, since I’ve asked much later the pattern is broken.

Appointment Request

Based on the receptionist’s answer and additional information they provide, I typically suggest an understanding that they weren’t expecting me, they are always very busy, and that I wouldn’t want to interrupt them.  I’d like to schedule a 4-minute meeting to for us to figure out if I can help or not.

I’m very specific about 4 minutes because salespeople and time wasters ask for a “Few” minutes and five minutes sounds just as general.  Many decision-makers aren’t going to schedule a 4-minute meeting, they’ll just come out to find out why a four-minute meeting.

Face to Face with the Decision Maker

Now that we’re face to face with the decision maker, we must keep the character…we aren’t sure if we could help or not and assume that they don’t even have problems we could solve.  We offer up a 30-second commercial and let the rest of the sales process work from there.

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