I get many calls, e-mails and introductions from suppliers every day looking to do business with Allstate. So when you are contacting a corporation, making cold calls or sending blast e-mails, here are some do’s and don’ts that will get you into the recycle bin or get you a call back. All the examples below are real and recent.
Don’t: It is surprising how many suppliers contact a corporation and talk about their diversity certifications and never clearly pitch what they do. I listen to a long voicemail or read an e-mail and have no idea what the supplier does – bad start.
Do: In your first contact clearly state what you do and how you can help that corporation grow.
Don’t: Here is another terrible start: I am calling to help you meet your diversity goals!
Do: A much better start: I have a service that I know is a perfect fit for your corporation. When would be a good time to give you an overview?
Don’t: Before you contact any corporation, do some research. I have actually received calls and have been asked what Allstate does.
Do: Take the time to review the corporation’s website before you call. What are the corporation’s challenges and how can your product or service help them solve those issues? Be prepared to explain what is unique about you and how you can help.
Don’t: If you send a presentation to a corporation, personalize it. I know presentations get reused, but review it to make sure it is directed to the corporation you are contacting. I received a presentation that had a competitors name on every page and how that supplier would help my competitor grow. That presentation quickly went into the recycle bin.
Do: Before you hit the send button, proof your presentation and alter and personalize it based on the research you have done about the firm you are contacting.
Don’t: If you are doing cold calls, make sure the caller can respond to questions about your firm. When I asked a recent caller a few questions about the firm the response was, ‘I’m not really sure, today is my first day.’
Do: If you put one of your staff members on the phone, make sure they can represent your firm as well as you do.
So the bottom line is make sure the first impression is a good one. If it’s not, your first contact will most likely be the last.