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Ask the outside expert: How to make cold calls more effective?

  • April 5, 2009 - 11:12 PM

Q Because of the recent economic downturn, cold calls have not been as effective. Are there any suggestions -- other than increasing the number of calls -- that may help improve cold-call effectiveness?

ERIC MENSEN

THE FURNITURE SOURCE

A The rules that govern cold calling really have not changed as a consequence of the recent economic downturn. Rather, the economic downturn requires that we revisit the guidelines that govern effective marketing.

First, you should consider modifying your definition of "target market" to reflect the realities of the downturn and subsequently adjust your prospect database. You can then partner with your list suppliers to develop the most precise list possible.

I also recommend reviewing -- and modifying if needed -- your performance metrics.

While revenue and profit must remain the final measure of success, when a storm is raging your first task is to keep the ship afloat. For example, are there specific categories of products or types of customer behavior that you can leverage for greater impact? Perhaps you want to focus more attention on moving high-end and high-margin items? Or would you prefer instead to close out certain items in your inventory? When you change the metrics of performance you will probably end up calling different prospects and change the content of the conversation.

RICH REXEISEN,

PROFESSOR OF MARKETING,

UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS

OPUS COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

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