Editor’s Note—August 2014

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Cold Calling

by Gary Weidner, Editor / Published August 2014


I’m not a very outgoing person, and I don’t like cold calling. But some words from Roy Chappell in the previous issue (“Opportunities are Where You Find Them,” CT, July 2014) caught my attention.  Chappell says, “Too many times, I think we get complacent out here. We think we don’t have to cold call anymore.”

In one former life, I spent a decade as a commercial painting contractor. Although I wasn’t an extrovert back then either, I came to find out that a surprising amount of business could be generated by cold calling.

A favorite target was industrial parks. I’d drive along the roads in an industrial tract, and if I came to a building that needed pressure washing and painting, I’d stop in and ask for the maintenance supervisor. In the beginning, it was somewhat surprising to find that a certain percentage of them would actually welcome a quotation. Those who responded positively were in a financial position to pay for a paint job, but they had probably been simply putting off looking for painters and getting quotes.

Sometimes I went a step further and was surprised to find that worked, too. The further step was that if the business appeared to be prospering and maybe just too busy to get involved with a painting project, I’d first walk around the exterior, taking notes and pacing off measurements. (With a little practice, you can develop a rather accurate three-foot stride.) Then I’d go back to my truck and work up a detailed quotation. Some prospects not only responded favorably, they seemed almost happy and relieved to have the whole thing worked out and ready for a go-ahead.

Armed with references and a substantial photo book (a tablet does the job nicely nowadays), I didn’t have to do a lot of talking beyond explaining the details of the quotation.

I’ve worked on a lot of pressure washers but never sold any. If I did have to sell them, I’d try to develop an approach similar to the one above, revamped for pressure washers. I’m not in sales but would offer the opinion that Roy Chappell spoke wisely.


Gary Weidner
(800) 525-7038