Warming up cold calls
By Joan Slattery Wall
Gloria Long, owner of Midwest Title Agency in Powell, says she'd rather stick a needle in her eye than make cold calls for her 16-month-old business.
But making cold calls is something she has to do to find potential new customers, so to ease the process, she takes along promotional products. They break the ice.
"When I walk in there with these items, it somehow lessens the pressure for me," she says.
The tall, thin coffee cups she brings are conversation openers, and she's found that her mortgage broker and real estate agent clients are often golfers who are fond of the golf balls or golf towels.
"Fifteen minutes into the conversation, you feel like you know them, so you can really start selling yourself," she says.
Before she chose the mugs, pens, pads of paper, candy jars and golf trinkets that she has emblazoned with her agency's name and phone number, Long asked her clients what items they like. She also found out what promotional products her competitors use, and she one-upped them by choosing similar items of better quality.
Since she started her business, Long has spent more than $7,000 on promotional products for her agency, but it only takes seven orders for title service to pay for that investment.
"In my business, [the clients] have to feel that they know me and trust me, and I've got to be in their face every two weeks," she says. She uses the excuse to bring new products or refill candy jars she's left previously to keep contact going.
"In today's business environment, people more than anything want to keep their name out there in front of their clients as well as market to new potential clients," says Jean Loehnis, owner of The Corporate Gifters in Clintonville, where Long buys her promotional items. "[The clients] automatically think of that business when they have a need for whatever it is that that business provides."