Charles Brantley of Page South asks “How do you handle a No Soliciting sign?”
I have cold called every office, in every (no soliciting) office building, in uptown Charlotte. I got off at the top floor, and worked my way down each tower. I got tossed out of two offices. One actually called the sales police. But they can only throw you out into the hallway! You, of course promise not to do it again, get on the elevator, get off at the next floor and keep on coldcalling. No Soliciting is actually more of a game than a rule.
The sign is meant for door-to-door type of sales crews who canvass an area trying to sell handbags, perfume, calculators, and wall hangings. If you have a legitimate, established business, making a cold call will not be offensive to most businesses IF YOU DO IT RIGHT.
The best method is actually an indirect solicitation. You’re only dropping off literature off and asking a few questions.
You don’t have to solicit to make a cold call. Here are the guidelines to follow to ensure maximum no soliciting success:
- Ignore the sign.
- Have literature and business cards.
- Ask for help.
- Offer to leave literature only.
- Get the name of the decider.
- Find out the title of the decider.
- Write him/her a note on your business card.
- Get the business card of the decider.
- Find out when is a good time to call the decision maker.
- Get the name of the person who helped you.
- Thank the person genuinely for their help.
If you’re making an appointed sales call, it’s great use of your time to make a few next door neighbor cold calls after that appointment. I always do. If there’s a no soliciting sign, I don’t even think about it. The entire cold call process takes less than 5 minutes. Try this pitch next time…
“Hi, my name is (first name only) and I was wondering if you could help me?”
(Everyone wants to help.)
“I want to leave some information about (my product/service). Who decides on that type of thing?” I ask.
“Oh, that would be Mr. Whozit,” she gleefully volunteers.
Great, now I know the decision maker, but I’m going to double qualify while I’m on a roll. “What would his position be?” I query innocently. You’ll get that answer, too.
Now I make a bold move. “I’m leaving this information and a note for him. I wonder if I could get his card?” You’ll get the card 90% of the time, 5% you’ll get some facsimile of the card, and 5% of the time the boss himself will appear. If you’re a female salesperson and the boss is male, the boss will appear twice as often. That’s not a sexist remark; that’s a fact.
“When would be the best time to call him?” I ask, trying to get the last bit of info before I wear out my uninvited welcome.
“Thank you so much for helping me, I really appreciate it.” I say. “What was your name?” “Thank you, Susan.” People love to hear their name associated with praise and thanks. If you do both, she’ll remember you the next time you call and need to speak to Mr. Whozit.
If I leave now, look what I’ve got…
- my literature in the hands of the decider
- his name and business card
- the best time to call
My follow up call will be made 24hours later to set an appointment, and Susan will help me every way she can.
A word of caution…if you see a no soliciting sign that is customized, or hand crafted, they probably mean it, especially if the word absolutely is on it.
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If you have a legitimate, established business, making a cold call will not be offensive
IF YOU DO IT RIGHT.