Help! I Hate Cold Calling But Gotta Do It

Last Updated Apr 28, 2010 8:34 AM EDT

Here's a cry for help from a Sales Machine reader. Let's see if we can help him out. Here's his note, which appeared as a comment to the post "Free Coaching -- Accelerate Your Career":
Cold calling has always been my weakness. I have always hated spending the time and shoeleather, and enduring the massive rejection of cold calling. I feel that MY time is much better invested in front of a qualified prospect rather than trying to locate one!
I am a home improvement professional of 30 years and boast in excess of a 50% closing rate due to my experience and the value I bring to my customers. The present issue is that many home improvement companies have found the cost of producing the leads for their sales people to run is more that they are willing to bear.
It has come to the point that I am close to losing EVERYTHING that I have worked so hard to acquire. I need help FAST. I need to find the best approaches and mindset to enable me to go out to the homeowner and produce my own leads.
Can you help me?
Sure. I can help, and so can the rest of the Sales Machine community. In fact, one reader ("redscarf") has already chimed in with some good advice:
Have you asked for any referrals from your existing customers? Start with the people you've worked with. Don't laugh but have you ever thought of coming to Canada for a short time? We are doing much better than the U.S. Find some seasonal gaps homeowners are experiencing with their properties and fill those gaps. Hope that helps.
I don't know about the Canada idea, but the idea of working your referral network is an excellent one. Here's a step-by-step program:
  1. Create a list of everyone whom you've already done home improvement.
  2. Put a star next to everyone on that list who you're sure has plenty of money.
  3. Put a star next to everyone on that list who you're sure knows other people who have money.
  4. Put a star next to everyone on that list who you're sure was DELIGHTED with your work.
  5. Call all the "three star" people on your list and tell them that you're available and ask if they've got anything coming up that you can help them with. If so, schedule an in-person meeting. Then, regardless of whether you made an appointment, ask for a referral.
  6. Call all the "two star" people on your list and do the same as in Step 5
  7. Call all the "one star" people on your list and do the same as in Step 5
  8. Call the referrals you got in Steps 5,6, and 7, and do the same as in Step 5.
  9. Call all the "no star" people on your list and do the same as in Step 5.
  10. Log onto Sales Machine and tell us how much business you've booked, because I'll bet you won't even get to Step 7 before your schedule is completely full.
Please note that you're not actually doing classic "cold calling" (i.e. having an initial conversation with a potential prospect) until you get to Step 8. Up until that point, you're actually just reconnecting with people, which is much easier.

If you DO get to Step 8, here are a couple of blog posts that can help settle your cold calling heebee jeebies.

READERS: Any more suggestions?