Food Service – The 15 Seconds That Decide Your Cold Call Success

January 17, 2023 by No Comments

We were on a cold call when the prospect comes out of his kitchen and the sales rep approaches him with a business card and says, “Hi, I was just in the neighborhood and thought I’d drop in.”

Now there is an inspiring reason for the prospect to stop everything he’s doing to spend half an hour listening to a stranger who wants to sell him something, something he figures he would already be using if he needed it.

I don’t think so!

In the “cold call” situation, the DSR needs to have a plan for what he or she is going to say and ask and the plan needs to be effective.

The Initial Benefit Statement

The first thing out of the DSR’s mouth should be a 15 to 20 second memorized and rehearsed “elevator speech” or initial benefit statement. Imagine getting into an elevator and the person standing next to you asks, “What do you do?” You are on the spot. You have to introduce yourself and make a favorable impression before the doors open on the next floor. If you fumble and mumble, you sound like an idiot and no one will want to talk to you. It’s the first impression and it’s critical.

In sales, a flawed first impression will be hard to overcome if not impossible. That’s why it is so important to have a well-planned and professional initial benefit statement.

In this first 15 to 20 seconds, the prospect wants you to answer three questions, “Who are you?” “What do you want?” and “How long is this going to take?”

If you can make this “elevator speech” sound natural, on auto-pilot at the drop of a hat, then you will look and sound like an organized professional, like you know what you are doing. And you will be more confident. Getting started well is the key to making more and better “cold calls.”

Here’s how it might sound; “I’m Robin Banks from Sunny’s Food Service. We are a broad line distributor specializing in serving independent restaurants just like yours. I’d like to take 10 minutes of your time to see if there is a chance we might be able to work with you. Is now a good time?”

Important Points:

1.) Robin tells us who she is, what company she represents and what she wants.

2.) She also stimulates the prospect’s interest (specializing in serving independent restaurants just like yours)

3.) Robin claims she only needs only 10 minutes. To make the 10 minutes work best:

Get to the point

Ask questions that will earn you a second appointment

Keep your time commitment

4.) She asked the closing question. (Is now a good time?)

5.) One selling error Robin avoided was apologizing. She did not say, “I’m sorry to interrupt your day,” “I know you’re busy, but…” “I don’t want to waste your time.” Don’t waste more time by apologizing. You only have about 15 seconds. Just get to the point.

Once you have practiced the initial benefit statement use it several times before making any change.

Remember, there are only two reasons the prospect will take time to see you:

1) He is lonely

2) He is interested in something.

Assume he is not lonely. So, when your initial benefit statement is successful, you need to be prepared with good questions to uncover what the prospect is interested in.