The best way to deal with cold-calling rejection

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In the past I shared some tips when you are cold-calling a customer. Cold-calling gets a bad rap. But it can be effective – if it’s done well, targeted and you do your homework beforehand. I also find that cold-calling can be made more effective when you send an email first to warm-up your prospect beforehand.

But even when you do that, rejection is bound to happen. In the event that you have the
right contact info, your prospect is still there and you happen to catch him, he might still flat-out reject you.

So today I want to talk about what sales people can do when they get rejected. I won’t get credit for this – I just witnessed this in a call from Ian, with Vidyard, a company specializing in on-line video. So thank you, Ian, for the inspiration. Interestingly enough, Ian doesn’t sport a “sales” title. But after all, we’re all in sales, aren’t we?

Before I talk about how he handled it, let me talk about how others have handled rejection, in a sub-standard way. Let me focus primarily on email communications here (the most common form of cold-selling these days), but the learnings can be applied to other situations.

These are the top three ways in which most sales people deal with rejection from cold-calling/emailing:

Ignore and Move-On (Don’t Do This)
This is kind of rude. If I took the time to respond to your sales email, to acknowledge it, and to give you very useful information (that I’m not interested!), I expect at least a “Thank you for letting me know Rodrigo – have a good day”. As I’ve said before, I try to reply to most cold-selling efforts (especially email), out of professional courtesy even when I’m not interested. But sometimes I don’t hear back from reps at all – they just go dark. I understand everyone’s busy, but remember to always say “Please” and “Thank You”.

Pretend The Target Is Interested – And Carry Along (Don’t Do This)
Oh, I have a good story about this that I’ll share sometime. But basically, I told a well-known company rep that I wasn’t interested. Then he kept contacting me, and sending me stuff. Again. And again. And again. I then told him that we had gone with the competition, and he finally left me alone. If someone is telling you they are not interested – why would you do this? I’m sure you’ll get an extra 1 or 2 sales, but I don’t think it’s worth the bad reputation you -and your company- will get as a result of it.

Keep Us In Mind (Don’t Do This Either)
This is the most common. Most times, after rejecting some sales effort, I get a nice, polite email back thanking me for letting them know and asking that I “keep them on my radar should things change”. If it was something that I might be interested in later on – most times I am – I just save the email for future reference when we’re looking for someone that can help us in that area. Some other times the sales person tells me that they’ll follow-up with me in “X” time. Depending on the area we’re talking about, that might be too soon, too late, or not appropriate at all, if I was really not interested.

Do This Instead
Now let’s see what the best approach is that I’ve seen so far. After I rejected the first offer and showed no interest, Ian sent me a polite and short email back, asking me a simple question and three options:

The question was: “Would you like me to…?” And the three options were:
a) Explain to you briefly what we do (5 minutes)
b) Circle back at a later time
c) Never contact you again

I liked the approach so much that I changed my mind and took his call. After a brief conversation, he found out what my pain was, and was able to find out a benefit, among all things they offer, that might be able to help us after all. I’m still not sure we’ll buy, but I sent it to our video team and they’ll decide. That’s certainly much better than getting a straight-out “no!”.

Now, don’t kid yourself – that same question is not going to work for you just because. Those are not magic words. Here’s why it worked in this case:

Ian had done his homework well before contacting me. He knows we have a bunch of Zoho videos in YouTube.
Because of the homework, it was a very targeted outreach. Like I said, cold-selling can work if you do it targeted and specific.
He offered me a really quick alternative – 5 minutes. That’s a very low time commitment.
He gave me a way out (do you never want to hear from us again?). That’s very direct, but also very helpful for them and us.
And also because I thought it was a very nice way of approaching the rejection problem. It’s the first time I’ve seen it and I reject sales pitches left and right every day.

Customer Spotlight: Andrijana makes sure your house is just perfect!

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Flipping through a magazine, you come across a picture of a living room with sunlight streaming through large curtained windows, a big white fluffy bed in a cozy bedroom or gaze at the sparkling and flawless bathroom and you sigh and say …”I want that house“. Buying a house is one of the biggest investment and driven primarily by our emotions (mind you, money is involved) but if it doesn’t click the first time then its just not the one.

Andrijana Furniss specializes in accentuating the best parts of the house and making the house speak for itself. Her company Homes Aglow is a staging and redesign company that  enhances the appeal of the house that’s listed on the market for sale. From her experience, she says ,

It’s all about the aesthetics. If the house is not visually appealing then it is either sold under market value or not sold at all.

Andrijana’s customers dole out praise of her work. Her eye for color and design, efficiency in getting things done with limited set of resources and putting together the best team in plumbing, tile, carpentry, hardwood install and painting are highly appreciated by her customers.

Home Staging and Redesigning

She has been using Zoho Invoice for the past four years now and our relationship is only getting better and better with every new invoice that gets rolled out. Andrijana says,

I started using Zoho Invoice within six months of starting my business and it’s been wonderful. Invoicing was one part of the business I wasn’t able to handle and Zoho Invoice does it beautifully for me. It makes it all so simple.

You can see some of Andrijana’s work and read her story in our Customer Spotlight section.

Launching, 8 huesome themes

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A combination of technology and art is essential in the making of a great website. It is also important that theme speaks the soul of your business, and reflects the mood of what you want to convey. Launching, 8 new themes, mostly inspired by color combinations.


To add a subtle touch to your business with a dash of measured hues.


As aristocratic as Blue. A stylish but formal touch to your website. A poised one.


The dull vintage lanterns glowing in gray adds to the classic feel. Preciously timeless..!


A blended theme of solid wood with communication and technology. For a sturdy business design.


Compact and self-sufficient design that gives a neat outlook. A humble design.


A theme that is explorable in all senses. The alternating Orange stripes are refreshingly fresh.


A hazy white-toned palette, named “Destiny”, gives a very sophisticated look to your website with the tints underplayed.


A theme that is most suited to showcase your artistic works. With a mellow background, your project would be the highlight.

You can also use the visual editor on these new themes to come up with your own color combinations. Check them out.

A letter of appreciation for Zoho Sites

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Six months ago, we launched Zoho Sites. It has been a wonderful journey since then, with memorable events along the way; customization of themes, password protection, checkout buttons and Zoho Mail integration. But it is letters like this that keep us pushing for more.

Friends, colleagues, even some gallery directors have urged me for years to build a website for my artwork. “It’s the most effective and sophisticated marketing technique ever devised to reach a global audience”, they said. With an online gallery, I’d be representing not just myself, but other artists whose work I felt was worthy of a shot at international attention. So, what does one in that situation do? One Googles.

Web building software, No HTML code required, Widgets, themes, drag & drop… Hell, I barely knew what any of that stuff meant. Then, about half way down the first page, “Watch out, Google…” It was an article about an up-and-coming challenger to the corporate giant’s hold on web building, hosting, and email services. Good place to begin my research.

The site was friendly and easy to navigate, and the tour was enlightening. HOW MUCH, was my next question. And after checking out the affordable pricing, I WAS sold. And now, a couple weeks of using it, I’m not just sold. The girl at the bakery counter today is probably still talking about the man who kept saying: “Yeah, just head to Zoho Sites!”

The true test of my partnership with Zoho was when I needed directional guidance. I received it promptly, professionally, and with a most comforting and respectful personal touch. It’s quite ironic, really. Little did I know that the second I teamed up with the people and technology at Zoho, I’d already made my first cyber allies.


Zoho Projects 4.0 Preview Is Here: New, Easier and Faster

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It’s been over a year since we started working on the new version of Zoho Projects and are very excited about it. We believe the new Projects 4.0 is the best version our customers have ever experienced.

We recently opened this new version in preview mode for a few of our customers and we are thrilled to share some of the things they had to say about it so far:

When developing Zoho Projects 4.0, we had 3 clear goals in mind:

  • Fastest Tool. All in One Page. 

    Your projects move fast. Zoho Projects moves faster. It loads in a flash, giving you a complete view of events as they happen.

  • See What’s Ahead Feeds keeps your finger on the pulse of every project. Plan for upcoming events/tasks, be alerted to missed deliverable, view critical requests and more.
  • Helps to do things you do everydayWant to know what your fellow team members are doing (or not)? Our new Follow feature lets you track individual progress and to-do’s—so you can effectively manage work.

Today we’re opening the  Zoho Project 4.0 Preview version to everyone. Please give it a try and let us know what you think, via this short survey, by email at or via Twitter at @zoho using #ZP4.

Remember, this is still in preview mode while we iron out the kinks. You can continue using the current version right now. We’re going to closely monitor usage and feedback – we’ll let you know when the new version becomes permanent.

Customer Spotlight: Gatsby Valet believes it’s all about the ‘experience’

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You know your event is a success when your guests leave it with an experience to remember. Simple act such as parking your car, can make or break that experience. If you are hosting an event, you would definitely want to liberate your guests from the parking woes and accidental damage to their precious car and wallet.

Giving the grand experience to each and every guest is what Gatsby Valet services excels at. This valet parking service in Toronto shows you that parking a car can be an experience all by itself.

Gatsby Valet

When they started their business, they focused heavily on their systems. Gatsby was using Salesforce and Freshbooks for their customer relationship management and invoicing needs. Two years ago they discovered Zoho and they’ve not looked anywhere else.

Read more about Gatsby Valet, the gentlemen who ensures that you have the perfect experience not only at the beginning but even at the end of every event. Check out their valet parking video and their blog to know more about the services offered.

Build Your Innovation Practice through Your Customers

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If you want your business to innovate with its customers, start by building a customer community that others can vote on and contribute to so that the company can pull the idea through the process, said Mike Fauscette, Group VP, Software Business Solutions at IDC, in his presentation “Leveraging Innovation Management for Competitive Advantage” at the CRM Evolution 2012 conference in New York City.

Once you have a tool that can collect customer interaction, take it one step further and let customers be involved in defining the process. It will open the doors to opportunity that you wouldn’t have had before, said Fauscette. Customer engagement improves dramatically once the customer feels they’re empowered to drive the business.

It’s also important to be visible and transparent. Meaning you want to set up a system that allows customers to contribute and know that they contributed, Fauscette continued.

Conducting social media and networking activities

The most popular reasons companies conduct social media/networking activities for their business are (in order of popularity):

  1. Gather feedback on company product or service
  2. Respond to customer/partner inquiries
  3. Competitors are doing it
  4. Communicate with partners/suppliers
  5. Communicate with customers
  6. Create awareness about company product or service
  7. Make decisions

Creating a collaborative enterprise for the purpose of innovation

Crowdsourcing and collaboration unlocks distributed expertise that simply couldn’t be found by any other means. Contributing across groups and disciplines is very empowering to employees who realize they can have an impact beyond the four walls of their cubicle.

While so many companies say they want their employees to collaborate, it’s not reflected in how employees are being paid, which is often to work individually. If you want employees to collaborate, you have to build it into the culture and they have to be incentivized to do it, said Fauscette.