Never ever cold call. Cold calling is dead. Elvis is alive.
Ridiculous statements all.
Cold calling for appointments is like any other marketing tool. Use it in the right place… and use it correctly… and you get results. Use it in the wrong spots… and incorrectly… you get frustration and phone phobia.
There is one truth. Cold calling stinks. I teach the stuff yet don’t love it. Rejection is the norm. Do and say the same things over and over again. But, but, but…. despite all that, if you know that a certain process consistently gets you qualified leads, cost-effectively and convert to very profitable sales…. Guess what? You take a deep breath and do it again and again and again.
In the early days when I was on my way to setting more than 2,000 C-level sales appointments in many industries, I would play all sort of mental games to battle the monotony and repetitiveness. But I and the companies I was calling for made a lot of money from those appointments and that boring repetitive full of rejection process.
The truth is, if you are gunning for top people, knowing how to use the phone to get in front of them gets you there faster and cheaper. Not as pleasantly as other methods, but faster and cheaper.
Today, I want to highlight for you a major change in cold calling process over the last 16 years or so.
When I started the game was simply call, they pick up or don’t, they agree to meet or don’t. Next! That was it. Again and again and again.
But as time went on I recognized that the stark bare cold call fell far short of reaping full value for those boring repetitive full-of-rejection efforts. My calling tended to be for services that people did not change vendors on very regularly. It tended to be for things that people just didn’t change sources for very frequently. Maybe every 2 – 4 years or longer.
So even if doing everything right, the odds of hitting a qualified target at exactly the time they were in the market to evaluate vendors was pretty low. Think of all the times you speak to someone and they say No, No, NO. Yet, six months later they buy from a competitor.
Well it took a number of years for light to dawn on this marble head and realize that even when someone said no, assuming they fit the profile of someone who could be a great client/account at sometime, they were likely to evaluate if not change vendors sometime in the next 3 – 18 months.
It was with that concept that “Plan B” was developed. I had dialed, dialed, dialed; repeatedly ventured into voicemail hell and endured the torture of automated phone systems again and again. All the work and agony had been done and endured. A good number of these emphatic “no’s” were going to buy in the near future. If the phone goes dead I have done all the work and reaped only a small part of the value for my efforts.
So I started doing two things that drastically increased the value generated for my cold calling efforts. 1. Ask them when I should call back. 2. Get their permission for future consistent communication (touches) in the future. Note: there are specific scripts and a way to ask this and get their permission. Do it the wrong way and you guarantee yourself a blow off answer and wasted time.
Those touches can be delivered by email, mail, carrier pigeon?? The key that the system be automated and not involve you step by step. When you call back, they know you, understand your value, you are credible in their eyes. You get the meeting and a much greater change of closing an account as they appreciate your value.
So you start with a cold call.
Then you add “Plan B.”
But, with mature systems there is even more. When you call you are identifying decision-makers. And, in addition to scheduling appointments, you should be using your interactions with gatekeepers to get recon on what people buy and how much and when.
If you just “cold call” for appointments without also getting all the recon info you can, you are dong all the work yet reaping just a small percent of the value for your efforts.
That recon info enables you to eliminate unqualified low-volume purchasers from your list. It enables you to use other marketing tools to a very qualified list very economically.
If you could identify companies that have the potential to buy massive amounts of what you offer, would that help your marketing?
If you could know which product or service line a company or individual was most likely to buy, would it help you to customize your messages?
If you knew when they were reviewing vendors or going out to bid, would that be helpful?
If you could communicate with the above similar segments as groups and not individually, would that save time and money and lift conversions and sales?
The “cold call” if you do it right, is part of an overall effective marketing process.
Make the calls in the right way in the right places. Learn to do that well.
But also be prepared to “add on” to those efforts to get your full marketing and sales value.
Best wishes for great selling,