By Laura Vestanen—Phone calls don’t work. People hate telemarketers. Letters don’t work. No matter how much work you put into your mailer, the receptionist puts it in the junk mail trash can. You have to visit in person. Do not call ahead to make an appointment, just drop in unannounced. Calling ahead invites a “no.”

Some Do’s and Don’ts for Cold Calling

Best times of day to visit:

  • 10 am-11:30 am and 1:45 pm-4 pm – The best times are when people mind being interrupted the least. They are not starting their day and dealing with morning surprises. They have not yet turned their minds to lunch and lunch meetings. Lunch is over. They are not yet on the home stretch and wrapping things up so they can go home.

Best days to visit:

  • Monday – Not morning. 2:30 pm-4 pm OK. Mondays are generally hectic for people but they don’t mind a bit of distraction in the mid to late afternoon.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – 10am-11:30am and 1:45pm-4pm.
  • Friday – 10 am – 11:30 am. Not afternoon. People hurry to finish their work to try slip away early or at least avoid coming in on the weekend.
  • Saturday – 1:30 pm-4 pm. Retirement facilities only. Sometimes the activity director is in on Saturdays. Saturday is the big day for adult children of the residents to be visiting. They are the ones who see the need for documents needing notaries and make the arrangements.
  • Sundays and Holidays – No time is good. Treat the day after a holiday as you would a Monday: no mornings but late afternoons are OK.

Avoid the last half of December. People are too busy. Take home-made treats to your best customers and referral services instead.

Dress Sharp for Cold Calling

“You only have one chance to make a first impression” was never more true than for cold calling and networking mixers. Jacket or blazer for both men and women. Navy, gray, or black for jackets. No light color pants, skirts, or shoes. Dark leather shoes. Ties for guys. For notary appointments, you can dress in the style of business casual. Ties are not necessary. The right colors are. No corduroy or synthetics. Ever.

Go to the library and borrow “Dress for Success” by John Malloy. John doesn’t list the rules because of aesthetics in color coordination. John has done thorough research for decades on how people attribute characteristics to people they don’t know based on how the person is dressed. An example: John will get a room full of test subjects and put several of his workers in front of them. The workers are dressed in pre-arranged styles and colors. John will ask the test subjects to name the CEO, the accountant, the teacher, the doctor, etc. in the group they are viewing. Hundreds of tests like this reveal patterns that are both logical and illogical. Such as people dressed in black suits with white shirts and red ties are seen as conservative. Those dressed in brown suits are seen as less professional. Tall people are seen as having better leadership skills. The research goes on and on. Fascinating from a sociological point of view. And helpful to us so we create the best image for marketing our business.