Cold Calling “Unreachables” and “No’s.” What to do?

Also revealed… the #1 follow up strategy.

Here are five cold cruel realities of sales prospecting that a good plan B will

1. Most prospects will turn you down.
2. With “major sales” the odds of initially contacting someone at exactly the right time is low.
3. Most costs are up front. Most profits are in that group that don’t mmediately agree to meet.
4. Most know what they want. Most don’t know what they need.
5. The best prospects call you.

1. Even in wildly successful programs, most prospects will decline your request to meet with them. A rough rule of thumb I use is that you can expect to book a meeting with one out of every five to eight decision makers you speak to. There usually is a lot of great potential business among those that decline. If you don’t have a solid “plan B”, you won’t have a chance to get that business.

2. If you are making “major sales” which involve larger sums of money, have longer sales cycles or which your prospects only add/switch vendors every few years – the odds of initially getting them on the phone at exactly the right time are not high.  You need a “plan B” to automatically communicate with viable prospects cost-effectively and without you having to make numerous phone calls in the hopes that you catch them at the right time.

3. Most of your costs are up front, most of your profits are in that group of
prospects that don’t immediately agree to meet with you. Plan B enables you to realize a high return on investment on your prospecting activities as you will be able to generate business from those who don’t immediately agree to meet by enabling them to “raise their hands” from the crowd when they are ready to buy.

4. Most people know what they want, fewer know what they need. Plan B enables you to educate people as to new options that will help them, options they had not previously been willing to consider, because they have been on the receiving end of your Plan B strategy. I have seen a lot of business generated from prospects whose response to an initial offer is a resounding “NO”, as a result of effective plan B strategies.

5. The very best prospects are those that call you. If you want people to call you,  you have to include an effective plan B strategy into your prospecting program. After about three months of implementing the strategies in this tutorial, if you have a plan B program in effect, about 25% – 30% of your results will come from those who call you to initiate a relationship.

Why is it that someone would call you? Very simply, you have credibility in their eyes. Credibility usually is earned with a consistent message over a period of time. Consistency builds credibility. With a consistent message over a period of time your targets develop confidence that you have knowledge or expertise which can benefit them. They develop confidence that you have solved problems similar to theirs for others. They develop confidence that you may be able to help them.

An effective plan b is necessary because most people are going to turn you down, there are a lot of profits in that group that initially says “no”, the odds of touching someone the first time at a good time to make a sale is low, you have to educate and inform your targets and that requires multiple touches, and if the best prospects call you… you have to provide the opportunity and reason to call.

Let me describe the “plan B” used in my business (it may seem familiar).

When a targeted decision maker picks up the phone and ultimately replies “nope” to my set the meeting pitch, I immediately say..

“That’s fine. Look… I have a free email tutorial that has proven popular which includes samples of winning prospecting scripts, techniques on how to overcome objections and tips on time management. Can I put you on that list? You can opt-out anytime.”

Three times out of four the answer is “OK”. Then comes the Columbo questions. You remember Columbo. The detective who asked the most important question after he had said goodbye and was half-way out the door. “How many salespeople do you have?” The answer is obtained, goodbye’s are said. Click.

Someone who has said “no” HAS GIVEN YOU THEIR PERMISSION to send them information. Information which has value in their eyes, which is delivered in multiple hits over a period of time which builds trust and credibility, and awakens them to consider options they had not previously considered.

I then do three simple things. 1) Enter their e-mail address into my web based sequenced E-mail program and they get all my messages automatically without my having to think about it. Costs less than $30 a month. 2) Code them appropriately in my contact manager program. ACT, Goldmine and Maximizer seem to be the most popular desktop programs. All work well. A code is entered which indicates the size of the potential opportunity and a code is entered which indicates the step in the prospecting process. Simple, easy, enables you to focus your time and money where it will do the most good. 3) Schedule a call back in 30 days when the tutorial ends.

30 days later I call back. The target now knows me, is fully informed of what value I can deliver, and has formed an impression as to my worth and credibility. This is a very different conversation. This is a much warmer conversation than the initial cold call. I have noticed two things. First, people are much more likely to take or return your calls. Makes sense… you are now perceived as a valued service provider… even an expert… not a dreaded vendor. Second, people open up to you about their needs and challenges. This is important as it enables you to properly code them and properly allocate your future time and resources.

You may end up booking a meeting, agreeing on a future action or deleting them from your list. All important objectives. Many times the good prospects call you, because the e-mail tutorial makes it easy for them to do so by replying or filling out a form.

If you didn’t have a “plan B” with impact, you would lose the opportunity to begin building a relationship with a future good client, all the resources of time and money you invested to have that conversations would be wasted your return on investment for prospecting activities plummets and frustration builds quickly.

What about those you never get a chance to speak to? You have to have a “plan B” to generate some response from that group.

In an earlier tutorial we talked about how fax can help you increase response when prospecting. When you are in your initial prospecting cycle, you leave a voicemail commercial and send a fax to those you don’t speak to. The key to a good prospecting fax is an offer with high value as perceived through the eyes of your prospect. You might offer the e-mail tutorial in your fax, you might repackage the same info and offer it as a report or series of reports or, you might record your tips and offer it in audiotape or CD form.

Your targets receive your fax with your powerful offer and some will enter your sales pipeline. I would recommend always offering your e-mail tutorial as an option in your fax as I find that many who wouldn’t fill out a form will sign up for the tutorial. Maybe there is less commitment involved, I don’t know, but a good number of people enter your sales pipeline who would not otherwise be there.

So with a good “plan B”, with virtually no additional effort and no additional costs of consequence, you dump more prospects into your sales funnel and greatly reduce your costs of inquiry.

What is my favorite Plan B strategy… sequenced E-mail. It’s cheap, powerful, automatic and never has to be touched again once it is setup. Active prospects to receive messages THEY REQUESTED that communicate worth and credibility automatically.

Final note: Sequenced Email follow-up should be the foundation of your “Plan B” system. It can also include touches by mail if it makes economic sense and proves responsive. The key is that the follow-up touches be systematic and automated. If not set up on a system, the reality is they won’t go out.

Happy smiling and dialing,
Scott Channell
For a free CD, complete tutorial and lots of sales script samples click here.

copyright 2004-2011 Scott Channell