While in-person canvassing is less common these days, there are certainly advantages to approaching a business in-person rather than over the phone or via email.
One advantage is most people have a harder time saying “no” in-person. It’s just true. The other is meeting in-person gives you an opportunity to genuinely get to know someone and humanize your products or services.
Here’s a few tips on making your next B2B or B2C in-person cold call a success.
Smile. Genuinely Smile.
People tend to mirror our own emotions. When we approach with nervousness, arrogance, or deception, others tend to react with confusion or defensiveness. When we approach with genuine kindness and friendliness, others tend to react with warmth and welcome.
One of the very best things that you can do when approaching a receptionist or other employee for an in-person cold call is to smile. Genuinely.
Remember, this is another human being—so be human. Whatever you have to do to get yourself into a place of true positivity and care before an approach, do it. When you genuinely smile and approach with a tone of friendly well-wishing, others will be more open to allowing you to meet with the higher ups, penciling down an appointment or taking down your information (with the true intent to pass it forward).
Explain What You Do and Why It Should Matter to Them
People need to clearly understand what your company does and why their business would want to be involved. There needs to be clear trust and value, and they need to feel you actually care about them, not just about selling them.
Before an in-person cold call, plan 2-3 points you can briefly share about what sets your services/product apart from others. When doing this, don’t share what makes you impressive (people could care less), but instead what benefit your product/service has for them and what sets you apart. If you plan well enough, and hit hot points people find engaging, then they are more likely to follow up with you.
Take Time to Get to Know the Person at the Front Desk
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Before people let you in, they need to feel invested in. While a 5-minute conversation may not seem life changing, if you actually take the time to get to know someone, then when the time comes for them to explain to management who you are and why you were there, their tone is more likely to convey interest and positivity.
Take the Pressure off of the Prospect
People don’t want to feel controlled or pressured, they want to feel autonomous and respected. Once you have explained what you do, why it is important, and taken time for a genuinely friendly interaction that comes from the heart, then let them know that a time to meet is free of charge or obligation. If there is a way you can benefit them, then you want to help; but if not, that’s okay too. Explain that either way it will have been a great experience to have gotten to know them.
Value people, not outcomes.
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