Hello readers! Welcome back to week 2 of our blog. We hope you enjoyed reading our first one! Every week we'll be sharing our experiences at Tri County Copiers Plus Xerox as part of our University of Windsor Co-Op Program.
Compared to other cities in Ontario, Windsor is relatively small. You'd think that having been born in this city, I would remember every street name. Yet, without the Maps app on my phone, I get lost countless amounts of time. I used to think my sense of direction was on point, but I have been very wrong so far. For some reason, as I was growing up, I never remembered street names and the typical East, West, North, and South ways of areas. With a poor sense of direction, I found myself having to turn back around a number of times while trying to make cold calls. Street names don't sound so familiar, but business and store names do instead. For example, if you ask me where Dougall Avenue is, I'll tell you there's a little Naples store on the corner of Dougall, right next to a Jiffy Lube store. I remember it this way because Naples is my favourite pizza place! I have difficulty trying to remember the "layout" of the city. I won't remember street addresses but I can certainly picture the area in my head.While making cold calls, if I'm unfamiliar with the area, I'll take two minutes to quickly look up the street address on Google and make my way there. Getting lost and being in an unknown area can be a positive situation sometimes. I have found that my problem-solving skills have gotten much better. I had a time where I had to ask someone who was walking down the street if I was headed in the correct way, since my phone didn't have any service. At that point, I just met a kind-enough stranger to help me out for a minute. It's times like those when you realize the city you grew up in is inhabited by great people. If I come across a situation where I don't have the slightest clue as to where I am, these stressful circumstances must be overcome. I've learned to stay calm and find a solution quickly.
Throughout this co-op experience, I hope cold calling will better my sense of direction. In the last two weeks, I have been trying to read every street sign when I'm unfamiliar with the area. What usually helps me remember the names is what stores and businesses are in the area. Cold calling in the Tecumseh Area for the past few days has helped me get my bearings around that area of town.
One memorable rejection that I experienced was when visiting a local Korean restaurant, where the owner was not excited to hear about our flyer. At first the owner seemed interested in the flyer when describing what it is, and was happy to take a copy. After taking the copy of the flyer, the owner said that he would be environmentally friendly and recycle it right away. I learned that even if someone is nice and polite, they still may not be interested in what I have to say. I learned from that rejection, and continued on to the next business as if nothing had happened.Rejection in sales can happen in one of several ways. One being the person says that they are too busy to talk, and rush you until you leave. Another way is to be polite to the sales representative, then say that you are not interestested. And the last one is when you are blatantly told to leave their office, without giving the chance to introduce yourself. There are plenty of other way to be rejected, however, in our co-op experience these are the most common ones we encounter.
Cold-calling is one of the tools used in the first step of the sales process; make initial contact with a business. Cold-calling can be done through e-mailing, phone calls, door-to-door and some other ways. Hopefully, we can have a business develop an interest in the product or service offerings, which can lead to the next step, and we can schedule a meeting with the manager or owner. In our experience, cold-calling has meant going door-to-door of local businesses and handing out the Documents in Jeopardy flyer. It's a way to help businesses familiarize themselves with Xerox's products and solutions. Our goal is to persuade businesses to completing our Documents in Jeopardy game where they have a chance to win an iPad Pro. During the initial contact, you can learn how their business is run and who the decision maker in the office would be. A salesperson can ask to schedule a meeting and discuss products and solutions.Cold-calling offers many advantages. From a business student perspective, we are being placed into the field trying to learn and understand the market. It's a great way to learn how the economy is changing. So far, we've met some well-respected business owners and managers. You really feel comfortable when someone continues a conversation with you. During our usual shift, we are often sent out to cold-call at different times in the day. The flexibility of cold-calling helps when we have other work to complete. Another benefit is having the option to work alone, for those who are more independent, or working side-by-side with a partner. Sometimes, working alone can mean you'll be able to visit more locations than we would as a team. But what's nice about working with a partner is it means there's someone else to talk to during a long day ahead. Our first day of cold-calling, we might have not been prepared enough, but as we are going along, we are prepared and ready to deliver our elevator pitches.
Each cold-call is unique - the outcome is never known before you walk through that door. A good experience that I had with cold-calling was when I went to a local dentist office. The receptionist that I spoke to was nice, and seemed interested in what I was discussing with her. She asked a few questions about our flyer, and how their business can reduce paper waste. At the end of the conversation, she said that she would complete our Documents of Jeopardy game as well. The overall experience of meeting her and talking about their business was productive for the both of us.On the other hand, cold-calling can be difficult at times. Some businesses we've visited have been annoyed, uninterested, and just flat-out rude. You'd think it wouldn't hurt to listen for a few short minutes, but some people view it as wasting their time. Sometimes it's very difficult to effectively convey the value of our message, especially if they have no interest in listening to us. There have been language barriers between us and the business owner/employee, and they refuse to listen. There are also times when the person points at the door to get us to leave. We weren't surprised that a few people might be disrespectful, but for the most part, people have been warm and welcoming. You remember the people who were extremely kind and extremely rude. The kind people always seem to outweigh the bad experiences.
A bad experience that has happened a few times is when you have only introduced yourself and the employee is already trying to get you to stop talking. I walked in a law firm and the first thing the receptionist said before I could get past saying my name was, "I don't have time for this! Just leave. I don't care about what you have to say. I have better things to do than listen to you". I was shocked as to how disrespectful she was, but the most important thing is to brush it off and continue on. As sales people, cold-calling is a continuous learning experience.For the rest of the summer, we hope to make positive connections with business owners and employees. The University doesn't teach us first hand experiences of how to communicate with others, but cold-calling is a way to better our conversation skills. It's apart of the networking process we wish to establish. Don't let one person's mood affect the rest of your day!
Thanks for reading our blog!
Michel & Santeena
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