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Too cold call or not to cold call for your small business

To cold call or not to cold call in small business marketing
By Brandt C Stohr

I hate cold-calling. In fact, there are a lot of horrible pains I would suffer before cold-calling someone. And I think that many small business owners feel the way I do.

It’s true that there are a number of means of small business marketing – direct mail, personal letters, advertising, networking, public relations, internet marketing – and alas, cold calling is one of them. When it comes to small business marketing – any business activity, really – at some point you just have to buckle down and do what you gotta’ do if you want to succeed. But is cold-calling one of those small business marketing activities that small business owners simply have to suffer through in order to succeed in business?

Some experts say, loudly and with vigor: “Yes!” Others say, “Absolutely not.”

The truth about the value of cold-calling as part of your small business marketing strategy is that it’s somewhere in between, and it depends on your particular business. If, for example, you retail small-dollar items through a catalog and on the Internet, cold-calling your potential customers probably isn’t cost-effective: if each customer might spend with you, spending 20 minutes or more on the phone with that prospect doesn’t make sense. If, on the other hand, you’re a manufacturer of small-dollar items that you sell to retailers who may spend ,000 or more buying your products in bulk, then picking up the phone and making a call may well be worth your while.

If you decide to make cold-calling a part of your small business marketing strategy, there are a few things you can do to maximize the chances that your cold call will turn into a new client:

Cold-calling small business marketing tip #1: Take initiative. When you ask the potential client at the other end of the line “When would be a good time to meet?” you open the door for them to say “Never!” Instead, ask “How would next Tuesday at 11:00 work for you to meet?”

Cold-calling small business marketing tip #2: Approach the call with the idea that your goal is to help your prospective customer. Resist the urge to make the call about you – what you do, what you want. Instead, make the call about the prospect at the other end of the line. Ask the prospect about his needs and wants. Then suggest that you can help – and if he meets you next Tuesday at 11:00 you’ll tell him how.

Cold-calling small business marketing tip #3: Get to the point. The prospect at the other end of the line is going to feel, right off the bat, that you’re wasting her time. So, by all means, be brief. Be clear and concise. Avoid saying “um.”

Cold-calling small business marketing tip #4: Ask questions. This tip reflects back to small business marketing tip #2, making the call about the prospect, not about you. Asking questions also helps steer you to the right information and will help you tailor your sales pitch – for you to deliver at the appointment.

Cold-calling small business marketing tip #5: Save the sales pitch. Effective cold-calling isn’t about selling your product or service. It’s about getting an appointment so that you can sell your product or service in person.

As with any small business marketing strategy, the best way to figure out if it works is to try it. Make enough cold calls so that you can accurately measure their effectiveness. Then compare that measurement to your other small business marketing tools.

About the Author: Brandt Stohr, The Small Business Marketing Genius has brought startup one man operations to billion dollar corporations by using creative marketing techniques rather then investors and capital. Brandt Stohr has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs to get their small businesses exploding with sales without the use of expensive traditional marketing techniques. For more information and a free report on the ten deadly mistakes most small businesses are still making visit Brandt Stohr's site at For a web version go to

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