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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

How Responding to Cold Calls Is an Opportunity for Customer Engagement

Written by  Duane Bailey

I’m a sales guy and I’m going to spend the day tomorrow making cold calls. If I were to send an email or place a telephone call to a C-level in your company, how would he or she respond? Would he or she even respond?

The answers to those questions will tell me a great deal about the leadership of your company and how they view their relationships with other people. What some people fail to realize is that my cold call is also an opportunity for customer engagement. The question, then, is a matter of if and how they will embrace it.

Here’s why.

While I may be a salesperson, I am also a customer. And an influential voice on social media, within my community, among my friends and family, etc. My cold call is an invitation to engage me, nothing more. A polite, timely and thoughtful response will go a long way into making me feel good about your company, its people and the products and services it offers…even if there’s no possibility of a sale for me. It might even inspire me to tell others how great your company is and encourage them to buy from you.

As an example, a close friend recently sent an email to a consumer goods company. While it contained an intriguing subject line and a well-crafted message, it was a cold call. Within minutes, the CEO responded with a personal message indicating there was no possibility of my friend’s making a sale to him in the near future. He did, however, ask for my friend’s address so he could send him some free samples. The samples were overnighted and my friend received them the next day. That simple engagement…and the experience that followed…resulted in the acquisition of at least one new customer and positive word of mouth for the consumer goods company.

Contrast that to receiving nothing in response, or even a canned “no sale” response from one of the C-level’s lower ranking employees. It conjures up images of a leadership team that believes engaging with people they don’t already know is beneath them and of no value to the company. Worse yet, saying nothing or responding in this way is not likely to generate favorable word-of-mouth for the company, let alone acquire new customers.

The next time you receive a cold call, embrace it as an opportunity to engage a potential new customer. You might be glad you did!

Duane Bailey

Duane Bailey

Duane Bailey is a regular contributor to The Chief Storyteller® online conversation. He has helped organizations of all sizes drive growth in revenues and market share through the development and delivery of key business messages that resonate with target audiences. He holds an MBA in International Business and a BS in Marketing. He brings 28 years of experience in marketing communications and high technology sales.

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