Learning from cold-calling mistakes | TravelResearchOnline

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Learning from cold-calling mistakes

I receive quite a few cold-emails from folks that want to sell me something.  Most of them are hawking website design work, SEO marketing, Facebook marketing, copywriting, etc.  Deleting them would be easy. I took a different route and studied them and learned what NOT to do when cold-calling.  Not all travel agents use cold calling (or emailing) in their marketing plans, but for those that do, here are some tips that might give you an edge.

Be personal

If you send unsolicited emails, make sure you are sending them to a specific individual.  Address them by name, and send it directly to their email address.  Most of the daily emails that I receive start with Dear Sir/Madam, Dear Info, Dear Admin, and Dear Ships (really?).  They obviously did not take the two minutes necessary to get my name from my website.  If you can’t invest a few minutes into doing some research, then don’t bother.  I won’t even read the content when the email is not addressed to me personally.

Know your target, and their business

A networking guru I know was telling me how every travel agent she’s ever come into contact with immediately pitched a group cruise.  In person or via a cold call, the first question out of their mouth is “how about doing a group cruise for your business?”  They did not understand her business and that a group cruise was not practical.  If it’s not a good fit, don’t make the pitch.

Ask permission

Never toss an entire pitch to them at once.  Instead, ask permission to send them some information that you feel will be of interest to them.  And tell them briefly why you think it would be of interest.  Are you approaching a business about incentive travel?  Then briefly explain that you have a program to help them increase productivity or sales, and ask if they’d like more information.  Are you contacting golf pros?  Then briefly explain that you have a program they can use to travel and golf for free. And again, ask for permission to send more information.  Your first contact should be a short and sweet introduction. If they give you permission, great—the conversation has begun!  If they say no, say thank you and move on.

Don’t be annoying

If you do not get a response, don’t harass them. Assume the answer is “no” and move on.  I get follow up emails constantly which are more annoying than the original–did you get my email?  I haven’t heard back from you, why haven’t you responded? I simply do not have the time to respond to unsolicited emails, even to type a single sentence to tell them to bug-off.  Deleting is faster.

Have you had any success with cold calling or emailing prospects?  What tips do you have to share about what works more successfully?

Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel (www.shipsntripstravel.com) located in Nashville, Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers.  Through their division Kick Butt Vacations (www.kickbuttvaations.com) she focuses on travel for young adults under 35.  Susan can be reached by email at susan@shipsntripstravel.com or by phone at (888) 221-1209.

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