Don’t Make Another Cold Call …

Brrrr...… until all of your inactive customers have been contacted.

Inactive customers – accounts who purchased something from you in the past – are often forgotten about or neglected.

A True Fact

An encouraging fact about this valuable group of people is that they are (usually) very receptive to your phone calls.

Calls made to these accounts are NOT cold calls.  They are warm calls and sometimes HOT calls.

These businesses know your company’s name.

They trusted you enough to buy from you at least once.

They are the easiest people to sell to.

Ask yourself three questions:

1.  Have all of your inactive customers been contacted during the past three months?

2.  Are all of your current and past customers aware of ALL of the products you have to offer?

3.  Do ALL of your customers buy everything they could possibly buy from you?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions – think about it:

Do you really want to start making cold calls before all of your inactive customers have been contacted?

If your focus is on bringing in new customers by cold calling BEFORE contacting inactive customers, you are leaving money on the table.

Begin Here

You can start contacting inactive (or “lost“) customers by snail mailing or emailing a good re-introductory letter.

There is an excellent win back the lost customer letter in this best-selling e-book containing 63 marketing and business letters you can copy and paste and send immediately.

Cold-calling Tips

After you have contacted all of your inactive customers, there are very effective ways to begin cold calling.

Take a look:

The scariest thing about cold calling


Are they listening to you?


Solving the gate-keeper dilemma


Use these 4 words and your clients will love you


How to avoid 3 costly mistakes that kill sales and waste time.

One-to-one Help and Coaching

The next one-to-one sales training e-Course begins on Wednesday. If you have questions or would like to enroll, please send me a message. I’ll get back to you ASAP.  Your BTA educational discount applies to this course!

One Thing Makes Cold Calling Easier & More Successful

workplace-meeting-med-tnIf one of your employees is new at sales or looking for ways to feel more confident making outbound cold calls, this story is for you.

Even though it happened years ago, the memory is still vivid.

It was my first sales job.

Before day one on the job I began reading books about sales to learn as much as possible.

Dozens of well-written books by experienced authors were stacked up on my bookshelf with important sentences underlined and Post-it notes on the pages that seemed most helpful.

But the actual experience of making cold calls was a shock.

The rejection was real and hurtful.  (It’s hard not taking rejection personally.)

Not getting positive results from making outbound cold calls was disappointing, to say the least.

It was at that point that I asked myself: “What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I make this work?” 

The Thing That Made the Difference. 

One experience changed everything:

It started with an announcement from the manager:

“We will have role play this afternoon from 1:00 to 4:30!”


The Situation

At 1:00 that day, seven other sales reps, plus me, sat in a conference room, around a table – with “an observer.”

The observer was not a manager or a supervisor, but an objective and knowledgeable technician.

He took notes but said nothing until after everyone finished playing the part of sales rep and customer.

We all nervously waited for results.

Would he criticize our mistakes?

Would he comment on our badly worded questions?

Would he ask why someone playing the part of the sales rep did not ask for the sale?

Thankfully, no.

He focused on positive and insightful questions asked by reps playing the part of the sales person.

Whew.  What a relief.

What He Did

  • He offered suggestions on how sales reps could get better answers from prospects and
  • He talked about the importance of listening to the prospects and not interrupting and
  • Suggested “needs-based questions” to ask, to find out how the prospect could benefit from our products and services.

This experience and other role play situations made all the difference in understanding the need to not only ask the right questions, but listening carefully and gaining the prospect’s trust.  And the best ways to ask for the appointment or sale.

You Will Make a Difference

Do this with your employees or co-workers and you will make a positive difference.

If it is you, you will feel more confident and be more successful making outbound cold sales calls.

When I first began presenting on-site seminars for the BTA in 1994, role-plays were incredibly valuable to raise the comfort and confidence level for sales reps making sales calls.  One of the most successful role plays involved three different departments within one company.

How Did This Work and Why Were They So Successful?

I set the rules ahead of time.  No one could interrupt during role play, including me.

And they were successful because:

  • Sales reps learned from watching and listening to each other,
  • They were not critical of each other,
  • They discovered new and effective ways to create opening and introductory statements,
  • They learned how to ask open-ended questions
  • And seamlessly ask for the appointment or order.

Want more ideas about creating a successful role-play situation?

Send me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Solving the Gate-Keeper Dilemma

The screener.  woman-working-on-phoneThe gate keeper.

Those words can strike fear in the heart of anyone who has ever made a cold call.

Strike out with this person and you’re a goner.

She (sometimes he) is usually efficient and organized.

Her/his job is to keep people away from the boss – people the boss doesn’t want to – or doesn’t have time to – talk to.

Often that means you – the sales person.


The screener is not always treated with respect by callers, especially callers who become annoyed when they are not immediately put through to the boss.

What does not treating the screener with respect do?

Annoys and irritates this employee.

Is this person important to you?


S/he can make your job easier or shut you out of the company you are trying to get into.

What’s the best way to get to the decision maker (DM)?

First:  Get the Name

Your job will be more difficult if you don’t have the name of the DM.

Call first (before you intend to talk with the DM) and ask for the name because you are “updating your files.” After you have the name, wait a few days before calling back. If you are unsuccessful at getting the name of the DM this way, there are other ways to find out.

How to Find the Name of the Decision Maker

  1. Look through the prospect’s web site. Often you will find several different contact names you can use.
  2. Call the company and ask to be put through to the sales department. Sales reps are usually willing to help other sales people – and will often give you the name of the DM you are looking for.

It’s amazing what happens with the right words and a respectful tone of voice.

Four Tips:

  • “Can you help me out?”
  • “Can you point me in the right direction?”
  • “I’d like to be of some help to your company. Could you tell me who I would talk with to introduce the benefits of [insert your product or service.]”
  • If the screener is not sure who the decision maker is (for your particular product or service) and puts you through to someone’s assistant or secretary, it’s very important not to assume that person is not a decision maker.

One Respectful Way to Ask the Question

“Are you the person who makes the decision regarding your [product/service] needs, or do you have someone who does that for you?”

When you convey an attitude of respect to the screener or the assistant to the boss, you may make a friend who can help you get to the DM.

Get more sales-building tips and ideas when you join my exclusive one-to-one e-Course.

Send me a message or phone me at 757-463-0924 if you’d like more info or want to register for the course.

Here’s wishing you a happy and productive day!

PS:  Your BTA Educational Discount applies for this course.

Are They Listening to You?

woman-listening-with-ear-phonesIt is often just a part of the job.

Making call after call.

Wondering if people are really listening.

Do they want to hear what you have to say?

It may depend on what kind of day they are having.

Are they under pressure?

Do they not feel well?

It also depends on how YOU are feeling.

Your tone of voice and the words you are using make a big difference.

Are you comfortable calling people who don’t know you?

If you aren’t feeling comfortable, the listener knows.

Think about this:

Whenever you pick up the phone, you have an opportunity to brighten someone’s day.

You may be calling about a product or service they really want or need.

4 Guidelines for Making Calls that People Actually want to Listen to and Remember

1.) Before you start making cold calls, read the positive comments and testimonials customers have written for your company’s products or services because this will help you feel more confident and you can:

2.) Approach your calls with the knowledge that you are helping people because you have a product or service that will make their lives better or easier.

3.) Spend time with positive friends and stay away from negative people.

4.) Register for my 4-week private e-Course because I will teach you how to make a positive difference – and feel more comfortable – in the way you approach prospects by phone. And this leads to a better response and an increase in your sales.

Last week, after completing my most recent e-Course, Jonathan Thacker said:

“As a result of taking part in your four-week e-Course, I’ve been more comfortable making calls and I’m getting better response from prospects during the calls. Thank you, Ann!”

- Jonathan Thacker, Sales Representative, Indiana Business Equipment,
Terre Haute, Indiana

During this e-Course you will:

• Learn how to create your own unique opening statement which will motivate the prospect to become more interested and will end up in more sales for you.

• Use authentic words that will cause the prospect to trust you and feel that you are there to help her rather than “just get the sale.”

• Find out exactly how to create trust during the first call.

• Discover specific questions to ask the prospect that will prompt her to think and share important information you need to move forward.

How it Works

As soon as you register, we will schedule a time to talk so you can describe your situation. I will let you know how the course works and answer any questions you may have.

Then I’ll send you the Week One workbook in a pdf document and assignment pages in a Word document.

After you review the workbook and complete the assignment pages, email your completed assignment pages to me.

I’ll review your assignments and send you an email to set up a date and time to talk and give you my ideas and suggestions and answer any questions you may have.

And we do this once a week for four weeks – while you are achieving your goals.

Click here to see feedback.

To register or to have a conversation about your goals, send me a message

I look forward to hearing from you!

P.S. – BTA Member discounts apply for this e-Course.

The Pirate in Your Office

pirate-flagNot an actual pirate, but products purchased by someone in your office – unknowingly – from a “toner pirate.”

What, exactly, is a toner pirate?

Toner pirates are scam artists who mislead unsuspecting office staff into accepting replacement toner for copy machines, or who send replacement toner unsolicited, and then bill the company at exorbitant rates.

If you have not yet been a victim of this scam, there is a strong possibility this will happen to you or one of your clients in the near future.

Victims of telemarketing fraud include:

Local, state and federal government agencies, charitable organizations, family-owned businesses, churches, schools and multi-million dollar corporations. Anyone who answers a phone is a potential victim.

Every time I hear a story about fraudulent telemarketers, it makes me angry because not only do these criminals cheat businesses out of millions of dollars, but they tarnish the reputations of good, honest office equipment dealers and re-sellers.

It is Critical to Set Yourself Apart if You are Cold Calling

If someone in your office is making cold calls, be sure they clearly identify themselves to the prospect, using company name, first and last name plus the city and state where you are located.

Click here to see important tips for cold callers.

True Story

Last week a customer of one of my clients received a call from someone concerning toner for her copier.

The caller identified himself as their “toner supplier” and knew the identity of some of the machines in the customer’s office.

This customer almost placed an order until she realized the caller was from a different state and was not really their toner supplier.

They were going to charge her over $500 for one toner cartridge!

This is not a new story.

Unfortunately, toner pirates have been operating in the U.S. and Canada for many years.

Lately though, it appears the calls have increased and when I hear a story like this, I feel an obligation to make everyone aware of what could happen in any company doing business today.

3 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Fraudulent Telemarketers

  1. Make all of your employees aware of the possibility of getting a phone call from someone pretending to be “your local supplier.”
  1. Never place a supply order with someone over the phone unless you are sure who the caller is.
    and -
  2. Know the names of your current suppliers and circulate these names and phone numbers within your organization.

You can see more information about toner pirates on the BTA website