Hate Cold Calling? Here are Five Alternatives

Alternatives to Cold CallingBy Dawn Berryamn

Hate cold calling? I don’t blame you, most of us do, yet it’s something that the majority of us have done at one point or another. A lot of people starting out in business feel as though they have no other options. If you’ve just a launched a new business and you’re in desperate need of some clients and customers; here are some things you can try instead.

Direct Mail

Rather than spending your time knocking on doors, send potential customers a pressure-free advertisement. Of course, do your research first and target your mailing audience. Send them a coupon, an invitation, something that makes them want to take action. Make sure your piece is attractive, easy to read and of value to them. Then, if you don’t get any response, you have a conversation starter if you decide to call on them. “I’m just following up on the flyer you should have received in the mail last week about our buy one get one special…”

Target Audience

Where can you find your type of customer? Trying to start a business relationship is not much different than trying to establish a personal one. You want to meet people who fit into your target market. If you’re selling baby products, you don’t want to be spending your time at the local senior citizens facility. However, you may want to visit the local daycare with free samples and promotional materials. Donating bag fillers (coupons, business literature or product samples) to local event organizers is also a good marketing strategy. Around the holidays, there always seem to be plenty of open houses, craft shows, and other gatherings with lots of potential.

Media Relations

Being part of a feature news story is free. You can’t beat that price. However, in order to get media attention, you need to fine tune your public relations skills and your messaging. Establish a strong contact list and work at forming relationships with them. Write strong pitches and press releases. (Get help with these if needed!) Make sure you are giving them something to write about. Things like hosting an event or donating to a local charity are great reasons for the media to write about you and your company. Be sure to personalize your story. Why are you different?

Display

By participating in already established events, you can take advantage of the already captive audience. Larger events provide the traffic and much of the advertising ahead of time. Purchasing space at trade shows and expos can be great exposure for your products. Do your research first and select events that pertain to your niche. Around the holidays, local events tend to multiply. Be chatty and talk with as many potential customers as you can. Be sure to offer brochures or giveaways that they can walk away with. Also, don’t forget to talk with other vendors; you don’t want to miss an opportunity for excellent networking!

Network

Network, network, network. Always network. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the local farmer’s market or the monthly meeting of your town’s Chamber of Commerce, be ready to talk about your business. You never know when the opportunity may strike. Keep a stash of business cards in your purse and don’t be afraid to offer them if the situation seems right. You can make plenty of opportunities for yourself by being outgoing and forthright.

Dawn Berryman is the founder of MarketMommy.com and Market Mommy:: The Blog, online marketing resources for mom entrepreneurs. Market Mommy shows moms how and where to market their businesses. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University and has worked in the marketing/communications field for more than 11 years. She resides in rural Ohio with her husband and three children. For more information, please see: Market Mommy.

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