Don’t miss the link at the end of the post – it’s a game changer.
The vast majority of sales folks still think that “cold” calls on new prospects is a necessary evil – it just comes with the territory of being a professional sales person. Wrong! That is absolutely incorrect unless you are part of a meat grinder called “call center” where your job consists of pestering unsuspecting professionals at work, or families at home during dinner. There is no such thing as a cold call unless you want to go in cold.
If you read or follow Jeffrey Gitomer you probably know about his philosophy of you creating so much value to existing customers in a way that you earn referrals and recommendations. To him there should not be anything like a cold call perios. He abhors this concept altogether and often asserts that that practice is only for mediocre sales folks. How does one get enough prospects and then customers in the first place though?
This is where I believe the answer lies in calling prospects in a qualified manner such that you no longer go in stone cold. Preparation is everything:
- Value preposition: Know what it is and how your prospects may benefit from it. Prior to taking off on any call do your homework. Do not go on ANY call, if you cannot figure out how you and your products/ services can be used and thus provide a significant value to your prospect.
- Timing: Some customers have a better time to call on them than others. Take entrepreneurs for instance. Better time for most is after hours. They work hard and typically do their best work when they are alone and without interruptions. Calling them during the middle of the work day may not be the smartest thing to do.
- Existing customers: When you go to existing customers speak with especially the front desk folks and any other “gate keepers”. Be genuine in treating them nicely when you try to get information about the people who work there and if and how you may be able to provide value to them. They will ultimately lead to other people and businesses. The next call will not be cold!
- New prospects: Turn any call – even the ones that at first were not successful in securing an order – into a future asset for you. You are doing business with people and not businesses. That means every person you meet has the potential for you getting to know other people and perhaps even the prospects competitors you should be speaking with. Referrals and recommendations are fairly easy to get once you learn how to treat everyone with the same importance. It’s your mindset that makes the difference.
Why am I writing about this? I am so fascinated how many ice cold cold calls I receive. No preparation on the caller’s part – none. My least favorite are folks who call to ask me what it is I and our company does. Say what? Unless you are a friend or a customer I should not have to tell you that at this time and age anymore. The Internet is so jam packed with information about companies and people that this should not be an issue anymore.
Be proud being a sales person and turn ANY call into something that provides value and you will never have to worry about making quota. Do you want to read up on this? Check out Chuck Piola’s “Going in Cold – How to Turn in Strangers Into Clients and Getting Rich Doing it”