Are Your Cold Calls Not Warm Enough?


I have been involved with sales for many years. Back home in Turkey, right after college I ended up working for an International trade agent in Istanbul, a prestigious distributor of textile machineries. I used to sell a large range of dying, weaving and finishing machineries to well known apparel and textile manufacturers. Although there was a high demand for these products from Italy, Germany and France, the idea of having to call people that you have never spoken to was a BIG deal. After this kind of sales adventure with a “tangible product ” I actually discovered the real challenge of cold sales when I switched to selling a “service”. Sales within the industry of international freight forwarding was not only about selling quality service but also how strong you stand against hundreds of competitors out there. After spending a good amount of years doing cold sales and making cold calls I realized that most sales people have an anxiety of cold calling because they are just not prepared to hear a ” NO ” or “NOT INTERESTED“.

Now that I’m much more experienced I can honestly say that I do prefer “warm calls” over “cold calls”. But as a sales person it is your job to take the necessary steps to turn the heat up in those cold calls. You may have repeatedly practiced what you are going to say (probably ten times or more prior to that first call) but have you ever really put yourself into the prospect’s shoes, who was in the middle of an important meeting when you called? Do you know anything about who you call or their business? As a trustable sales person, how are you going to demonstrate to them that you could add value to what they do? What is your strategy? Any planning? OR did you get in touch with your creative side and thought of anything interesting to say? These are actually all the things that help us to engage when making that first call. Spending a little more time to do the research that can turn a cold call into a warm one.

Just like in any other competitive field a prospect’s expectations are the same in our industry:
1. Competitive freight rates
2. Quality service
3. On time departures/arrivals
4. Dedicated staff

Customers would like to work with the most suitable service people that could provide all these important factors. Nowadays it is not so easy to find good partners because the market is soft, the supply is certainly there but unfortunately demand is not satisfactory. Under these circumstances at our very first cold call, we have no choice but to use our creativity to offer something that is different than others. I usually go by Kafka’s formula of creativity:

“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”

Don’t set yourself up for failure. If you want it badly enough – GO GET IT! I just wanted to simply share my thoughts with all sales executives out there who would like to pursue their dreams of more sales and eventually more success…

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Lora Altin Ozbilir
Lora was born and raised in Turkey. After graduating from Notre Dame De Sion in Istanbul, she got her bachelor degree in Labor Economics & Industrial Relations from University of Marmara. In 1997, she came to New Jersey to continue her education at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her last stop was in New York at Parsons The new School of Design. She speaks Turkish, French, English, Armenian fluently. She has been living in New York since 1999. Lora’s background is in active sales for the international freight forwarding industry. She is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at MTS Logistics Inc and has been with MTS for almost 11 years. Fun Fact: Lora was a professional swimmer, and competed at the highest level in Istanbul.