But regardless of whether you start with nine million or no million, cold calling still works. Someone calls you and says, "My name is John Smith and I'm a change management consultant.
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Do you need change? Let's meet.
But let's say John calls and says, "My name is John Smith. The reason I'm calling is because my company, the ABC Consulting Group, has just recently conducted a major benchmark study on how manufacturing businesses—including Competitor 1 and Competitor 2 of yours—in the Midwest are succeeding with their labor unions in the face of global outsourcing.
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There are 3 practices that are working across the board and a few that fail most everyplace. If you're interested, we'd be happy to come by and take you through the results. If this topic is on your mind, you might risk a minute meeting to hear the results. Or you might have some questions right then and there. Either way, if I'm John, I've presented my cold "introduction" of myself and my company in a way that delivers value to you. Will everyone take me up on this meeting? Of course not.
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But if my target list is well segmented and clean, a number of prospects will. When I get in front of them, the topic of conversation will be my recent research, work, and expertise—not a "get to know you and sell you" meeting. A conversation about recent research is just one of many potential value propositions for the meeting. You might not want to present research because it might not be the best entry for you.
How to Want to Do What You Hate to Do When You Need to Do It
But if you're offering is worthwhile, a conversation with you should be able to offer something of strong value. If you can't figure out how you can deliver value in a conversation, find a new line of work. Regardless of the meeting premise, you have to handle the conversation well to get the best result from this meeting, but the ball is definitely in your court as to what happens from here on out. Read 7 Steps to Successful Sales Meetings. Answer the following question: If you get 10 meetings with 10 company leaders who have the right title, are in the right organization, and have the right criteria for being a good prospect for you, and you stay in touch with them fairly regularly in a meaningful way after the meeting, how many would become clients of yours in some capacity over the next year or two?
The most common answers I get for this question are "two or three" or "eight or nine". Let's assume you're more modest, and the answer is two. Next question: What does a bread-and-butter buyer represent to you in terms of revenue over the course of a year?
Cold Calling Works? Prove It!
This, of course, doesn't take into account long term ROI factors such as repeat business and increased referrals. The fallacy, in many cases, is that most sellers aren't as good at closing as they think they are, and they don't continue to stay in touch with the prospect regularly and meaningfully after they meet with them. But these factors don't have anything to do with cold calling. They have to do with your ongoing nurturing, and the resources you devote to follow up.
The cold calling part works fine for what it's supposed to do: make an introduction with a prospective buyer that can lead to a good relationship. How you choose to build the relationship is a different matter. I appreciate that this may seem so obvious, but getting the right on the line critical, because your offer is only going to resonate and be relevant for the right customer. You need to do a bit of homework, check out their role, their responsibility, the better you can do this the more comfortable you're going to be making the call.
Just blindly calling a company HR department or just trying to get anyone on the board is not going to work. As my goal was to book more speaking opportunities, I decided to target Trade Association Event organizers. If I could get them on the phone, then I knew my offer was going to be of at least some interest. Whenever I looked to make a cold call previously, I'd always been trying to get them to consider me as a speaker for their next event right there and then. Which is a bit like asking someone to marry you on a first date, it might happen but it was highly unlikely.
Chris told me that this time my only goal was to be brief, compelling and look to set up a second meeting where we would share more details of our compelling offer. To be honest, I was relieved at this as I was no longer looking to sell, I was just looking to set up a second call, which took away a lot of the stress and pressure I usually felt around selling.
It may be necessary to "get your foot in the door" in order to make an important business contact or to pursue a potentially strategic customer. I believe we have discovered a breakthrough in unleashing the innovation power of frontline employees. In 90 minutes we called people, I got to have 12 real conversations. We were all given free access to the Connect and Sell tool for a month, and we were trained in the Noah Blumenthal Breakthrough Script, which is just five sentences, to help those of us who had limited cold calling sales experience.
Don't just weasel out at the first excuse. On average it takes 17 cold calls before you are connected to a live person and can have a conversion. Does the organization make it easy to be found online in their industry and marketplace by prospects searching for solutions? Even so I never really had a script that I felt comfortable with, this is partly because I was trying to be too aggressive, either that or I was just trying to start a conversation with not much clue as to what to do then.
Chris and his team were specific. We created a script that apologized for the interruption, and to say that I was only looking for 30 seconds of their time.
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I would then ask if that was ok , and then I would tell them I believed I had something that was of benefit and I'd like to organize a minute call to share more details. I could see how that was going to work, and that alone boosted my confidence significantly, and in sales, confidence is a big part of making a connection and being successful.
It was relevant to the call and what I was offering, and it gave me something to offer for the inconvenience of the interruption.
The offer of the gift made me feel that I was really calling to serve and help them rather than seeing this just as a sales call. Interestingly, this really made the person I was speaking to pick up their interest,and something that Chris is going to look to recommend to his clients. Dialing and getting stuck with an answer phone, or failing to get through at all, can be really discouraging.
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