1231: Cold Calls as a Game vs a Job

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Past AFDR Hall of Fame DSR, Tamara Bales of US Foods shares with DSR Dave her method of making Cold Calls. She actually enjoys cold calling because she approaches it like it’s a game, not a job. Don’t miss out on this positive and easy 3-minute audio (or read her transcript - - short and sweet).

DSR Tamara:I love cold calls. When I have new people out with me, I say let's go make a cold call. The whole thing about cold calls to me is it's a win-win. They could kick you out. They could say no. But you haven't lost anything because you didn't have anything before you went in there. So, when I make a cold call I go in very unassuming. There are a lot of different ways to make a cold call. Everybody has their own style. I just literally go in and start talking to somebody and I don't have anything other than my business card with me (and sometimes something small to take notes on).

The whole idea for me to make a cold call is simply to get to the next appointment, and then I'll come in with any information I need to bring in at that time. It's all a numbers game. You can call on 20 people and maybe you'll get two appointments. Great. It's not a losing proposition. It's fun. If you treat it like a game, you'll enjoy it. And I do. And I meet a lot of people that way.

DSR Dave: Like any really good athlete or anybody that's good at anything, they practice. You practice, you practice, and you practice, so consider all those cold calls "practices." Think of it differently. I think the best DSRs that I see out there do this. They're always practicing even when they're not working - - even when they're not in their area.

DSR Tamara:I talk to a lot of the new DSRs who are terrified to make a cold call and I'm like, ‘Why?’ They're worried about messing up or asking the wrong thing. One of the things you have to keep in mind is they don't know you. They don't know that you don't know anything. And if you're doing it right, you're going in and they should be doing most of the talking.

Just have a handful of questions you know you can ask that are open ended questions that can start the conversation. The key thing is you must listen to what they're saying because they're going to tell you what your next question should be. If you approach it just like a normal conversation with anybody, you will know innately what to ask. And if you don't know what to ask at that point, then simply ask for the next appointment.

When you run into a good operator that knows what they're doing, they know what they want. Some even know how our end of the business works, how a distributor works, but not many of them. But every once in while you'll run into them.

DSR Dave:Do you like that kind of a customer?

DSR Tamara:Yes! You know why? If you ask them the right questions, they'll tell you exactly what it is that they want. And if you can solve the problem given what they're looking for, they're going to trust you, and you will learn something from them and hopefully they'll learn something from you. You're nuts if you think you know it all. I don't care how long you've been in the business, whether you're a DSR, a manager or if you own a restaurant. You learn something new every day.

This is not a job. It's passion for food. Passion for the restaurant industry, because people will want to do business with people that have passion in their job. They want to align themselves with those types of people.

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