How Many Cold Calls Does It Take…

How Many Cold Calls Does it Take to Connect with a Top Level Executive?…

And 4 other “punch-up” your approach strategies.

– When you should stop calling.
– Many will buy from a competitor within 3-12 months. If they won’t meet now, what do you do?
– Voicemails. How to structure them and one thing you must include.

Read a study on B2B telemarketing. They evaluated thousands of telemarketing campaigns and here are the highlights.

1. Successful campaigns make more calls to few, more targeted suspects.

Why? The study concluded that for the average executive you need to make 3.68 calls to have a conversation. For C-level, the number is 7.

The point at which your return on investment starts to diminish for call attempts for most executives is 5.76 calls. For C-level, the point of diminishing returns is not reached until 12 dials are made.

Significance? If you are calling a lot of people yet calling only a few times, you are doomed to disaster. You are not doing it right. If you work a system, that system must have a call process of consistent repetitive calls made within a relatively short period of time.

In the book and seminar-in-a-box I describe a process of “three cycles of three” where you make three dials, then leave a voicemail, Email and maybe send a fax, before scheduling the next cycle for 3 business days later. As you call and get recon on the needs of the companies you can add more cycles to those that are more worth of your time. This process is consistent with the study.

The biggest roadblock in being able to do this is organization and perspective. If you are not organized correctly you can’t make dials efficiently enough and you are doomed. If you don’t have the proper perspective in that you have a realistic idea of how much effort it takes to connect, your process will not match reality and you will get no results.

2. Voicemail strategies.

The study concluded that 75% of calls get voicemail. Probably right. Also, that most voicemails are generic (their words) and worthless (my words.) The study recommends that you mention a specific pain point or issue your suspect is likely to have. Agreed. Specificity creates value and separates you from the rest.

But there are two points I would disagree with the study’s suggestions. The first is that a voicemail should be limited to 45 seconds. I believe it should be no more than 20 seconds long. Also, it says to start the voicemail with your name, company and phone number. I disagree. They don’t know you. As soon as they recognize they don’t know you they will delete you along with the 20 other “worthless” voicemails they have. Delete. Delete. Delete.

My recommendation is to say something within the first few seconds that would give someone that has a need you can fill “cause for pause.” Your name and company tell me nothing if I have a problem, but if I have a problem that you might help me with… and you tell me that up front, my finger pauses over the delete button and I will listen to what you have to say. Relate your name, company and phone at the end of the message. Use the front part of the message to communicate value and specifics sufficient to give someone who has a need you can fill cause for pause.

3. Not grasping the “big picture” and spending the time/money yet only getting 15%-20% of the return you should be getting.

The study also concluded that most telemarketing initiatives focus too much on the short-term. Absolutely!!!!!!

If you do it right, your calling effort will…

A. Maximize sales appointments now with qualified prospects that convert to closed accounts.

B. Get others, who probably will buy from a competitor within 3 – 12 months, into your “Plan B” follow-up automatic touch system. When they are ready they call you. When you call back, they know you and your value and it is a very different conversation.

C. Obtain recon info you can use to integrate other marketing tools.

If it takes an average of 7 calls to connect with a C-level executive, you can pick up a lot of good info on those other 6 calls. If you have the right strategies to interact with gatekeepers you can find out stuff like what they may buy, volumes, issues of concern and contract renewal dates that you can use to initiate other marketing efforts.

For example for larger volume purchasers you might initiate a multi-touch mail campaign that would not be cost-effective with smaller volumes. Smaller volume purchasers may be sold differently than others. You can approach those who buy similar products/services or whose contracts are coming up at certain times in “groups” rather than on a one-to-one basis. A much more efficient way to prospect.

If you focus only on the short term, you are doing all the work but not realizing the value from (B) and (C) above, which takes only a little more organization and forethought, not more time and money, to realize.

Best wishes for sales success,
Scott Channell