HOLY GRAIL by Nada Mesqui

I believe cold calling is a holy grail of sales and anyone who wants to call themselves a sales person should have a significant experiance in cold calling. Why I stand firmly behind this statement is only because I have had many different sales experiences (direct, B2B, B2C etc.) and at the end it all comes down to you and the consumer in front of you, or as some of my collegues call it- human to human approach.

We constantly hear how demanding today’s consumers are; thèse unloyal switchers seem to be increasingly more difficult to please. Obviously, there is some true to that but there is a way to « brake them «.

My very first sales job was in a small sales company that did exclusively door to door sales and payed strictly on commission, of course. Since I had zero sales experience and very little training (not to mention that I barely spoke English since I have just moved to Florida from ex Yugoslavia) you can only imagine how challenging it was for me to knock on people’s doors and convince them, on the spot, to buy whatever I was selling that day. To make a long story short, I learned very quickly one of most valuable lessons in sales- it is not what you say but how you say it!

This is precisely why you can have an amazing product, with great conditiones, that actually responds to your consumers needs but still fail to close the deal ; meaning your message was simply delivered in a wrong way. Surely, as any sales rep should, every day I worked on improving my product knowledge to the point where I truly became an expert, but the real commissions started to come in only after I learned to scan the potential consumer in front of me (age, gender, house, car, clothes, style…) and adapt my pitch to every single one of them.

Does this means that my offer changed at every visit ? Of course not ! What changed is possibly the first two steps of the sales pitch- icebrakers and introduction, and my attitude ; once I was all smiles and jokes, other times I kept it strictly professional- all based on the first 5 seconds after the door has opened. This ability to improvise and adapt your pitch is not something that can compensate the product knowledge or sales techniques. As a mather of fact, it can only come after you already have all of those tools in your hands but, just like any other sales behavior- it can be learned.

I do not like the popular notion of a « natural born salesman » eventhought it is undeniable that certain qualities such as self-confidance, eloquence, good physical appearence can surely help in a sales carrier but they do not sufice ; you can only sell charm to some but not to all. What I do believe and know from a personal expérience is that practice makes perfect and if you want to succeed in sales you should first start by knocking on doors because everything after that is just a variation of a scenario that you will surely live while cold calling.

By: Nada Mesqui

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