It's all in the preparation

National Telehandlers

I got quite annoyed today, its not like me anymore to be honest. Since I started working for myself I only have to blame myself if something doesn’t go to plan and there is no point in falling out with the boss when you are self-employed!

I received a cold call – I actually don’t mind them if they are relevant and have targeted me because they could make a difference to my business. The call was a marketing business asking for Ian, I told him my name was Lee and I’m the Managing Director. His response was, well Ian you are the right man. He then called me Ian 11 times during a pitch that was became quite aggressive.

He was the Managing Director like myself and I could ring his customer base if I liked, to prove his concept regarding a specific sector of Marketing worked! He then proceeded to tell me my Marketing company was ripping me off and he could do it for half price...WOW…what a saving without even knowing my name! I hadn’t said a word by this point!

I remained polite and asked for an e mail to be sent with further details – the concept of what he was trying to pitch seemed quite a good idea but his aggression and lack of understanding had already put me off. The email arrived within seconds of me ending the call abruptly as I explained I had an online meeting with my marketing company.

It started as follows;

“Dear Shannon"...

Now, the last time I looked I’m sure my name was not Shannon, so I am a victim of a copy and paste email, something I’m not a massive fan of but there is a time and a place for it.

It then continued, “I’m pleased that you have taken the decision to work with me”.

Mmmmm so not only is it addressed incorrectly it is also the wrong email entirely. However the next line then says “Further to my conversation with you today”…

Yes that’s correct although I’m sure a conversation happens between 2 people, it certainly wasn’t a conversation.

So I was actually a victim of a double copy and paste – impressive if you think about it

Of course we don’t always get it right, we all make mistakes and we all are human – this pitch was probably the worst I have received in many years. You have to get your preparation right to be confident you are pitching to the right person with the right product.

I cold call on a regular basis, it’s a big part of my business and I know I have a limited time to make the right impression, as long as it is to the right person who would have a vested interest in doing business with me

No 2 calls are the same, it can be like opening the same door on a hot day or cold day so be ready, be polite and above all listen. If you are doing all the talking then you are doing it wrong.

Use open questions that do not prompt a yes or no answer – engage with your potential client and learn about them. Never pitch as if it’s the last chance saloon, build a relationship for the future.

Oh and that follow up email is so important so make it count and make it memorable. Use something that you both talked about in the e mail so it sounds familiar and above all address it to the right person. Their will never be a problem using copy and paste but check and double check before you push that send button

I worked for a business that used the punchline “Keep it simple, Do it once, Do it right” I hope Mr Cold Caller had a break after my call and came back better – it couldn’t of gone any worse