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Close.Up.Dave
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Hey guys, with the holiday season coming up I'm going to be cold calling companies and wanted some feedback on my strategy.

First, instead of calling any company that I can find, I've decided to target an industry that I know is doing well and will have the budget to hire entertainment. I've decided to target (at least to start with) only medically related companies, such as pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical supply manufacturers, and hospitals/medical centers. The other positive of sticking to one industry, I figure, is that I can get a feel for the organizational structure of this particular industry. This will hopefully make my future campaign efforts easier. And, people may be more likely to talk if I stick with the one industry.

A problem I've realized I need to overcome is that these companies/hospitals tend to be massive, and I am at risk of being sent into a thousand different directions by the operators. A friend of mine who works for one of these companies confirmed that they set each party up by department, and are usually planned by the department's administrative assistants.

He was nice enough to give me all the admins' information, but I know it won't be so easy at the others. Not only may there not be an administrative assistant to target, but the company may not even be the one planning it:

Another friend of mine's sister works for an event planning service. They plan for one of these larger companies I have in mind. My friend said that her sister does a lot of the logistics, but it still is at the preference of the company's representative. This makes me think it still smart to target the companies by department instead of trying to work with the event planner. But, I'm just not sure.

Do you guys think it wise to try and go for each department of these companies (marketing, executive, customer care, etc.)? Or, is that simply not a good blanketing solution? Perhaps there's a better method of finding the people who may be shopping around for event ideas?

Thanks!

David
sb
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David,

I think your best bet would be to pick up the phone and make a bunch of calls to different hospitals and businesses, and ask who the right person is. Every place will work differently. So, call and find out how each place works their parties or events and the extra work and the list you create this year will help make next year easier. It would be a ton easier to just send out some flyers, but the upfront calling and sending info to the right person is what is going to make this project much more successful.

good luck.

sb
magic4children
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Hi David,
It may be worth targeting the Public Relations representative and suggesting a way to get exposure via press. Magic is certainly newsworthy and with a little thought you may be able to come up with an angle.
PR’s do have a budget and they are always on the hunt for anything that will put their company in a positive light even if this is just bringing magic to the employees or their families.
Ken Kelly
Mindpro
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Quote:
On 2012-08-30 14:22, magic4children wrote:
Magic is certainly newsworthy

I would disagree with this statement. This is very much thinking like a magician. If you want any chance to succeed with your cold calling or business operations, you must think like and from the perspectives of the customer (the targeted business). Of all the things they may consider "newsworthy", magic probably isn't one of them.
Close.Up.Dave
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Agreed, the purpose of this cold calling campaign is to connect with people who plan meetings and holiday parties, not to get on the news or to do an event that would gain publicity for the company (and therefore me).

The one company that my friend connected me with worked out well. I made a few good contacts.

I contacted a large hospital and the girl I was speaking with (in the marketing department) informed me that, though its a big hospital, the holiday parties usually don't have large budgets and are planned by hundreds of different people in their own small departments. I do know that hospitals can host large events, and those orders probably come directly from the top. I'll have to work a little harder to find who those people are.

After a long day of being on the phone, I came up with less leads that I would have liked, but it was worth it and I learned quite a bit.
Bill Hegbli
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Start with the receptionist then the Personnel Department and go from there.

Your main question is who is in charge of the Christmas party.

At this late date, they may all be planned by now, or are in the final stages of planning.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Close.Up.Dave
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I'm fully aware to ask who plans the event.

The point of my original post has always been that some companies are HUGE. They sometimes have separate campuses that are home to hundreds, or even thousands of employees with a bunch of different departments. And each department has different event planners for the holiday party. The hard part is finding a solution that:

1. Indicates how many different departments there are (that actually have a party)
2. Informs me which position plans for EACH department (if that exists)
3. Provides the information of each person

No receptionist or HR rep will take 15 minutes to tell you the personal contact info of EVERY admin. Its a waste of their time, and I doubt they would feel comfortable giving out so much personal information, especially if its for something that seems like telemarketing.
Mindpro
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I have found that since 9/11 most companies have stopped having large parties and emplyees events. Many seemed to stop for that year, and as expected have never returned to the weay it was previously. This has lead to much lower budget, lower attended events. For us larger stage performers the corporate market has taken a hit. Yet for performers who work smaller performance environments (closeup, parlour, etc.) they have seemed to do quite well - IF they can reach these departmentalized contacts. That now becomes the issue.

Since you are in the cold-calling mode, let me propose an experiment for which you may simply have better success. Take one business (large company hospital, etc. and simply call the switchboard and ask for specific departments (Accounting, Human Resources, Sales & Marketing, Billing, Auditing, Quality Control, Personnel, Collections, Shipping & Receiving, etc.), and then proceed to ask who their contact is for holiday events, employee events, etc. Repeat this process (separate calls) for each department you are interested in.

I would be willing to bet you will enjoy greater results and success while zeroing in on who the decision maker is. No charge, best of luck.
charliecheckers
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If you target a large hospital with many departments, it may even be more worth your while to personally try to meet with these people in person - on a cold call. Just say you were there to visit a friend and figured while you were there you would like to introduce yourself. You may hit it lucky. I have never tried this, as my show is not aimed at this audience, but I have had success in cold calling in person vs on the phone.
socalmagic
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I have cold called and booked Christmas parties. I reccomend targeting smaller companies of approximately 35-150 employees. They are more likely to have a party compared to large companies and are easier to find the decision maker. I normally offer them an email with a link to video, brochure, and website. I also offer a publicity package with DVD to present to the committee. In some cases, I offer to do a short presentation at their planning meeting if necessary.
SpellbinderEntertainment
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Your absolutely correct!
Large medical companies are in really good shape (Cymbalta anyone?) NOT the hospitals or other end consumers-- the manufactures. So this is a great target market for this season and enough to overwhelm you right there, so I like your targeting plan/

You’re late to the game! Many such companies start planning their holiday parities in June or July, so you’ll not get many bites from those early birds, the good side of that is those who are behind many be anxious to plan now and are ready to book, at least I hope so.

One of the above ideas is great. Contact the Human Resources department first, they are generally a company wide department and have their fingers in many pies (ick!) If they are centralized multi-department parties they tend to be the ones who pull at least some of the strings. DON’T talk to the receptionist, she knows little and cares less.

Via Google or discreet calls find out who the “employee services representative HR” person is …NOT the one who hires and fires, the ones who take care of the workers on the inside. They are also slightly easier to contact as the ones getting 2,000 resumes a day try to stay underground.

If there is NO centralized party planer, those people can get you info on who in each location/department is in charge this year. Then you can say “so and so referred me to you.” The sales department is a good start to ask for, the folks on commission tend to get better perks!

Be absolutely ready with your totally prepared (and not canned sounding) fifteen second “elevator pitch” and make absolutely sure it has a “hook” specifically of interest to that field/area. Be ready to email or mail all your promo material, don’t play cat-and-mouse at this late date, do for it. Do NOT say you are a magician!! You are an “event solutions entertainment company. “



If you gent one hot lead, ask THEM to help network on the inside for you. You do this by offering substantial (that’s really good) discounts for multiple parties of 6 or 12 or 20 parties within a two week period for different divisions/locations, they get others hooked and you close the deals, and the more they work for you the better you treat them and price them.

Don’t overlook the companies multi-national locations, the heavy hitters (unlike small/niche/struggling companies) will still fly and pay per-deim to go from city to city, in order to book standardized, high-quality entertainment ((((AND I hope you are that, or you’re hurting the industry not only for yourself, but magicians for many holiday seasons to come, if you’re now worked the corporate scene extensively DUMP this plan now!!!)))

I know time is short, but these folks are busy and will forget you, and really don’t give a rat’s butt about you or your shows personally… so follow-up, follow-up, follow-up, follow-up, follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Postcards, emails, discreet calls, any way you are able.

If they bite, make it really, really, fast and easy for them, have your contracts, spec sheets, prices, everything they need ready to send immediately in PDF, mail, or universal attachment forms.

Don’t forget the back end in January, PERSONALIZED thank you letters, surveys, “hello” cards… if they liked you (see above about quality) they, or another department, or partner company will want you in the following years and you won’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Good Luck!
Magically,
Walt
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by Walt Anthony
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Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
On 2012-08-30 16:04, Close.Up.Dave wrote:
I'm fully aware to ask who plans the event.

The point of my original post has always been that some companies are HUGE. They sometimes have separate campuses that are home to hundreds, or even thousands of employees with a bunch of different departments. And each department has different event planners for the holiday party. The hard part is finding a solution that:

1. Indicates how many different departments there are (that actually have a party)
2. Informs me which position plans for EACH department (if that exists)
3. Provides the information of each person

No receptionist or HR rep will take 15 minutes to tell you the personal contact info of EVERY admin. Its a waste of their time, and I doubt they would feel comfortable giving out so much personal information, especially if its for something that seems like telemarketing.


Is this how you talk to your prospects. Ask a question and then say I know all that. I though Attorney's only asked questions they knew the answers to. LOL

I have experienced a receptionist that pulled out her company telephone book and looked up everything that would help me get to the right person. They usually know more then anyone else in the company, as they are the person that directs the traffic. Usually they are very busy, so please don't tell here to hurry up.

HR is the department that will approve and cut your check. Most companies they are also the department that does the holiday planning. I have known magician that have been rejected, because they did not go through the HR department when HR was 2nd to get the word.

From your break down, you seem to be confused on exactly what approach you should take, some of this is do to terminology. There are companies "Headquarters" that house all the other companies at their "Headquarters".

Departments mean a totally different branch of a company. It can be confusing, as all companies like to use their own terminology.

I once dealt with a company that housed 9 companies, but many of operations were "centralized", so the "company" was only 1 or 2 persons in an office.

Then another method was our electric company, had a satellite company in a city an hour away. They booked entertainment for themselves and the satellite branch.

Another thing to consider is our hospitals in this state have gone to outsourcing all of their business and paper work and supply work. So there is no bookkeeping and purchasing departments on the grounds.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
showman
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While we are on this subject I have a question. I am cold calling on a regular basis now and find it hell on earth. Oddly enough I am making good progress with it but would do a lot better if I weren't so petrified about making the calls. I do have a strong suspicion though that it may well be the best marketing method of all. It certainly gets results. I just wish it wasn't so nerve wracking for me.

I am curious about one thing and if any of you do this type of thing and can offer any suggestions I would be grateful. I am calling corporations at the moment and I would say about 6 out of 10 times I end up in someone's voice mail. And no matter how many times I call the same number the result is always the same. Now do I leave a message or not? Do I just hang up and keep trying to get them no matter what? I have been on sales forums and the people there argue just as much as magicians do about the best way to do things. They seem just as childish too. And the advice is so contradictory it is giving me a headache. One super salesman says one thing and another equally hot shot salesman says another.

One will say always leave a message and another one will say never leave one amd just keep trying. Some will say do a graduated approach of leaving a message, e-mail and direct mail to them. And then some say that too much pestering them is no good.

Mind you, I have learned all sorts of little tricks and dodges to get through to people and other stunts to make them call me back which oddly enough I don't want them to for various reasons.

Anyway, if any of you do this kind of thing how do you deal with the voice mail problem?
Mindpro
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I think you hit the nail on the head - what works for one person may be different for another. We've always had a saying in my office - "whenever you need to make good money fast, pick up the phone". This has been absolutely true for the last 36 years that I've been doing this.

Other methods, techniques, trends and technologies come and go (remember b-cast fax?) but nothing is more direct, more personable and at and a better chance of conversion from lead to booking than using the phone. This is for the simple reason that nothing - web sites, post cards, flier, print ad, radio commercial - nothing is better than personal one on one communication, and nothing or no one is better to pitch you and your services than you, in person.

Myself I believe voice mail messages are the same as e-mails - you are depending on them to take an action to respond or the effort dies. By holding out and being persistence you will eventually reach someone and be given your best chance to present to them (not sell them). I don't leave messages, but I do use e-mails.

Probably what is best is to determine what you feel works best for you. Do a test. 100 calls where you leave messages (perhaps to one area code) and another 100 where you do not leave messages and try the persistence route and see what is more successful for you. Make sure you can track them.

Remember, making the contact is actually the easy part, it's just picking up the phone and calling them, repeat as needed until you make contact. The real important factor comes into your presentation (which includes confidence, clarity, and creating interest and a call to action) when you actually get them on the phone. I see so many entertainers that put all their efforts and emphasis on getting the contacts and never master the presentation or close once you reach them.

It is sales. No one likes or enjoys sales. But it works and is part of every business. We've found that there is no better motivation or level of comfort than when seeing the phone calls turn into dollars before your eyes (or ears). Around here we call it Dialing For Dollars and it works every day, week, month and year consistent;y and repeatedly. But you must commit in order to achieve your desired results. Also in reality not only is it the best and most effective form of marketing and sales, it's also the most affordable and easy to execute.
magicofCurtis
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A lot of holiday parties are planned by the HR department. Larger companies have internal event planners for their major events.
showman
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Thank you Mindpro. It is ironic that you are the first one to answer me because something you said on another thread about this awful matter persuaded me to try it. I have always known it was the best method of getting business but it has always filled me with dread. And it still bloody is although I seem to be having some success with it. I am sure that once I conquer this strange fear I have I will hit the roof with it. And no. It isn't the rejection I am afraid of which seems to be what most people are scared of. I couldn't care less about that. I have no idea what scares me but I make the calls anyway on the basis of "feel the fear and do it anyway" and I am sure eventually it will diminish in time.

I do agree it is the best way of getting business and in fact I read somewhere that it should be called "Gold Calling" rather than "Cold Calling"

I am actually quite good at it oddly enough. It is just this voice mail problem I haven't quite figured out yet. I was advised by a veteran at it that I should never leave a message and keep trying to get hold of the guy. He said people rarely return calls and I do agree with that. However, in his day e-mail wasn't around. I am tending to call twice amd hang up and if I get voice mail the third time leave a message. I do not expect the call to be returned but I leave the message anyway because it softens up the prospect for further contact. The next thing I have been doing is sending a postard describing my services to soften him or her up a bit more. Then after an interval send an e-mail and in that message a link to my website. It does seem that they do reply to the e-mail after this softening up process but the trouble is that I just haven't made enough calls to test it properly.

The other thing I have been doing is a variation on the above but again I just haven't made enough calls to test which way is best. Time will tell. I saw a post on some sales site or other where the poster said he far PREFERRED getting voice mails and was delighted when he wasn't put through to the right person. He used the softening up process I described. He also admitted that he did not expect his call to be returned. So because he was so pleased with not getting a live person I decided to simply leave a voice message at the very first call. I do NOT leave my phone number to be returned simply because I know it is a waste of time. I simply say "I know you are busy so there is no need to call me back" and then I send them an e-mail. And then if there is no response a postcard. And if no response after that I go through the usual hell on earth of trying to contact them by phone and this time not leaving a message until I get through.

The trouble is that I haven't made enough calls to test either method properly and I may even be doing it wrong. The trouble is that it is going to take me a long time to make the calls in the first place because I am petrified of it and therefore it is going to take too long to test things properly hence my presence on this thread trying to find out what other people recommend.

I must say that I am quite surprised at the good responses to e-mail so far but it is too early for me to make a conclusion yet.
Mindpro
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I have great success with emails to but only after a period of trail and error.

Another thing I've tried and used is voiceblast technologies. While I don't use it for direct selling I have used it to present a special offer and create awareness of our services. Part of this technology allows me to monitor how many receive the message, listen to the message and for how long. People do actually listen to the message and we have generated decent results from this. My point for telling you this is I feel that leaving a voice mail message is probably very similar to leaving a voiceblast message. I do think it will be received and listened to, but as I mentioned above that is different than actually having the chance to present to them in person with a direct contact. It's a number game as well.

Keep us posted on your progress, findings and success.
TomBoleware
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Way back when I did phone selling most didn't have answering machines. But I did learn that people didn't return calls mainly for two reasons:

1.They thought you were selling something.
2.They thought you were a bill collector.

People fear those two. It's hard to tell either one no.

Today, being on the other end of the phone, I know I was right, it is hard to talk to those two. I find it hard to tell a good salesperson no, but it's impossible to buy something every time the phone rings.
My job now is to outsell the salesperson. Smile But seriously, I don't get upset with salespeople calling, like most business people I understand that they are just running their business too.

showman, I wish I could say that you will reach a point where you're not nervous about calling, but I don't think anybody every reaches that point. They just learn to 'do it anyway' more often. The reason the 'just do it' saying is so popular is we all know deep down inside that is the only way. After all the practicing, worrying and wiggling, we still have to get up and 'just do it.' There is no other way. Got to remember, the reason successful people have success is they do what the other people don't like to do. They do it, do it, and keep doing it, and then they do it some more. It's a game and you have to keep inching to the finish line.

I'm sure you understand the importance of believing in the product you're selling. You should be calling to help people, not the other way around.


Email does work to a point, but don't do like many and run to it just to get away from talking to people. In the end, you going to have to talk to somebody anyway. Most of the time it's probably best to just pick up the phone and get it over with.

You may want to try/test leaving a message like, 'sorry I missed you, will try back tomorrow.' Leave no clues why you calling.


I do wish you well. Stay inspired, because nothing happens without inspiration. When you become inspired, success is just a short distance away.


Tom
Do What Others Do And You Will Become Average

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showman
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Thank you Tom. Actually I do know a few people (very few indeed) who not only have no fear of cold calling they quite enjoy it. However, these people are in the rare minority. I am not merely "nervous" - I am PETRIFIED! Which is very peculiar since I have no fear of crowds or large audiences. I just don't like talking to strangers one on one, whether it is in person or on the phone. Whether it is cold calling or otherwise. I do believe the "petrified" feeling will go away and I can live with the nervousness. I just want the cold calling to become almost boring so I can almost think of other things while I am waiting for the contact to be put through.

I never e-mail someone except as a last resort if I can't get through otherwise or if I think it is a strategy as outlined above. I believe it can be a powerful addition to the sales process if it is used in conjunction with the cold call. And I have just noticed one wonderful thing if someone replies. They often have in their e-mail signature great information that can be useful in contacting them such as cell phone numbers and their direct line or extensions. I have often seen phone numbers that are not the ones that are listed as the phone numbers of the company. I suspect strongly that if I call those numbers the prospect will not be quite so hard to contact.

I seem to be learning all sorts of tricks and strategies some of which come from my own mind and some which come from others. I am taking it slowly at the moment so I can learn all these gimmicks and formulate my strategy while I am waiting for this horrible fear to dissipate which it will do eventually. And then once that happens I will spend hours upon hours on the bloody phone. I can be unbelievably persistent when I want to be.
showman
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Incidentally, I am not keen on the strategy of not saying why I am calling and saying I will call back tomorrow. Naturally, I have considered it in the past but I consider it a red flag to business people and a sign you are trying to sell them something. I think it could make them resist picking up the phone in the first place and leave you in voice mail limbo. Still, I may be wrong and I am not experienced enough to say so one way or the other. Anyway, I will report on how I get on. So far, I seem to be doing things right except for being reluctant to make the calls in the first place. Once that reluctance dilutes (and it will) there will be no stopping me. It isn't easy but that is good otherwise everybody would be doing it.
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