5 Effective B2B Cold Call Strategies
Traditional & Non-Traditional Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door
B2B sales are a completely different challenge than selling to a retail consumer or the general public. Instead of casting a wide net and attracting many potential customers, more often than not you’re trying to convince a single material manager, buyer, or procurement manager to take a chance on your product/service.
As a young entrepreneur you’re ultimately convincing the decision maker to take a chance on you personally as much as the product you’re selling.
The YES or NO that comes out of a buyer’s mouth can be the difference between a million dollars in revenue or closing your doors. In a B2B setting getting in contact with the decision maker can prove just as challenging as actually closing the sale.
If you truly believe in your product & service and believe it provides value above and beyond your price then you should have no problem selling it once you get to talk to the decision maker. That is where your confidence comes from as a young entrepreneur à knowing your product & service provides more benefit to your customer than what they are paying for it.
Getting ahold of the key decision maker can be tricky so occasionally we’ve told a few little white lie every now and then at our company. What’s the big deal of telling half-truths to get in contact with a buyer or materials manager? I’m not saying outright lie about your product or service, but sometimes going in the front door turns into a brick wall and you have to think a little differently. Not unethically, but differently.
Here me out before you click off of this article or report me to the Feds.
Below are 5 traditional & somewhat non-traditional B2B sales strategies you can use to get in touch with the decision making buyer who you need to convince to give you an opportunity. My goal with these strategies is to get you the name, phone number, and email address of the buyer you’re looking to sell to at the very least. Our goal is always to talk to the buyer directly, but make your consolation prize their contact information.
B2B Strategy #1
The Front Door – This is the most straightforward strategy we implement and is the oldest method in the books. It can’t be more simple: walk in through the front door with your head held high and see if the front desk employee is kind enough to go find whoever it is you need to talk to.
Sometimes this works and sometimes they throw your business card in the trash as soon as you walk out. Again, always remember to at least walk away with the correct contact information. Even if the buyer is “busy” and won’t meet with you at least see if the front desk will provide you with their contact information.
B2B Strategy #2
Phone Line (Straight) – This method is simple too and has the upside of being incredibly efficient. Remember Google is your friend. You can cold call many more companies using google maps as opposed to physical going to each business.
Call the phone number listed online and try to charm whoever picks up. Always ask to speak to the buyer directly and if you get shot down…settle for their contact information.
If the receptionist won’t pass you along to the buyer’s phone extension they will usually settle for passing the buyer’s contact information to you as a consolation prize for your effort. Don’t leave empty handed.
B2B Strategy #3
The Back Door – If the front door doesn’t work and the phone line operator won’t give you the answer you want, there is always the back door. Sometimes the front door gets slammed in your face, but the back door is usually a little less guarded.
In my experience, I’ve found the people working in the shipping/receiving door or some kind of back office are more likely to pass along the appropriate information. The front office receptionist is usually coached up to not pass along any contact info to solicitors, but the people working in the back office are more usually more open.
B2B Strategy #4
Phone Line (Amnesia Method) – Ok, I admit this strategy is a little more bent towards the little white lie side of ethics, but I’ve found that it is extremely effective and can be the fast track to landing a sale. At our company we call this method the “Amnesia” method.
Put simply, you call the main phone line of your potential future client and act like someone from their company called you earlier requesting quotes or pricing on the product/service you’re selling. The problem is you “forgot” the name of who called asking for pricing. You wrote their name down on a sticky note and now you can’t find the sticky note (if you catch my drift).
Politely explain what your company does to the person on the other line and they usually say something like, “Oh, Jim handles that. Let me transfer you over to him.”
B2B Strategy #5
When All Else Fails, Get Creative – When the front door, back door, and phone line doesn’t work you can start leaning into the grey area of sales ethics.
For example, I once called the main line of a Payless Shoes Distribution Center and was promptly rejected by the operator when I was honest and told them who I was and what I wanted.
Instead of giving up I called them back on their general number the next day and acted like a semi driver who is in need of directions for a delivery. The operator promptly transferred me to the shipping office.
Now my foot was in the door.
Once the shipping office answered their extension, I played dumb and acted like I meant to enter the extension for the purchasing office but must have hit the wrong numbers. The shipping office politely transferred me to the buyer.
Long story short, we sold product to Payless Shoes for years until they went bankrupt.
Another “grey area” strategy I’ve used when getting stonewalled with the main line is to act like I put in an application that you’re following up on. The operator will usually transfer you to Human Resources. This is where you can politely play dumb again and act like you mean to enter the extension for purchasing.
Rinse and repeat as needed.
Don’t eat too much this Thanksgiving.