Cold Calling
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Cold Calling
Collections regarding cold calling in sales.
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More - To cold call or not to cold call...

From Richard Liew on LinkedIn

Jeff Ribman's insight:

Richard Liew • Couldn't resist chiming in on this one as despite the digital revolution, I am still a great fan of "cold calling" as a prospecting method (specifically via telephone and in B2B sales). I have used cold calling as the prime prospecting method both in employment in various sales roles, and also as a business owner with businesses in a variety of industries. Let's face it, it doesn't get much simpler than picking up the phone and calling someone you believe may have a need for your product or service.

BUT there are a few things I've learnt you must get right if it's going to effective:

1) Research and relevancy: Do not call people unless you have first ensured that your offering is relevant to them. You're wasting your time and the person you're calling.
2) Use a "call guide" but not a word for word script. ie you have to have a plan for the structure of your call, but you don't want to sound like a robot.
3) Contrary to what most sales managers tell their staff, NOT everyone you call is a prospect! So ask a question to qualify whether the person you are calling is a potential new customer as early in the call as possible, preferably straight after your greeting. And if they're not interested, just let them go! (I was once cold called at home by someone in New York, who wanted to sell me shares. He wouldn't take no for an answer, so I thought I'd waste his time instead and managed to keep him on the phone for 55 minutes before he realised what I was doing!)

 

From Richard Liew on LinkedIn

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To cold call or not to cold call, that is my question.

Well maybe I am the first person to enjoy so-called "cold calling" although for a start I call it "new business calling "so perhaps that is the first pyschological trap to avoid by calling it something perceived (rightly or wrongly) as negative. I really enjoy the thrill and challenge of getting new business by using my intiative and asking the right questions and also if it doesnt seem to be working then to change my tack. But new business calling is part of a whole business sales and marketing plan which involves mixing media - the most effective of which is phone call plus email combos as most peopel fall intot he camps of either answering their phones or answering their emails (and on rare occasions both!). In all successful marketing you need to plan a strategy around 5 good touchpoints before a customer is likely to buy (unless you are trying to sell on a special and limited price discount). I could go on for ages but in short answer to some of your above Q's: Is there a good time or bad time of day to call? YES success is generally highest 10-12 am or 2-4 pm. Mon 10-12 and Fri 2-4 are often a waste of time too though. Do you still make your sales team to do cold calls? YES its part of keeping the pipeline fed for long term business success. Unless you have sensational repeat business from the current base of customers or a lot of products to cross sell to them? If you are big enough you will split your sales team at some point into Account Managers (farmers) and Business Development Mangers (hunters) to maintain your position or growth. Warning though - if you have the wrong product for the wrong customer , whether you cold call or not wont be of any help except to guide you into realising something is wrong. You should closely monitor the ration of successful to unsuccessful calls to keep a tab. eg 100 new calls to get a deal = exhausting and not working. 10 new calls to get a deal = good going and acceptable losses. Anyone who needs to know more on the "how to do" side please call 021 1001723 By Mark Checksfield
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Cold Calling discussion on Sales Playbook

This was a cut and past of a discussion today on one of my favourite LinkedIn groups, Sales Playbook.  They wouldn't let me scoop the exact page so sorry about the format.

Jeff Ribman's insight:

 

  

Follow Lacy

How do you get over that "argghhhh, do I really have to make more calls" mood?

Just curious - as a "newbie" to the sales profession (by that I mean the actual prospecting, cold calls, etc., been doing that part for only the last year) - I'm wondering how you get past that mood when you just don't want to call. I've always been told "don't take it personal". I haven't taken any no, rejection or even the yes's "personally", but after a while, it drags you down. I've done the little "self talks" - you know the "You have to do this, this is your job", "you can do it" type motivation talks - but there are days (and sometimes turns into weeks) when I know I'm not being productive - perhaps I just haven't found that "sales professional" in me quite yet? There are a lot of different aspects to my job, and I find that something "else" can always be more important than making those next 8 or 16 calls. And before I know it, my day is over and I made no calls!!
Any ideas or thoughts from this group would be greatly appreciated!

23 hours agoLikeCommentFollowFlagMore

Paul Castain, Perry Woodworth and 2 others like this

17 comments

Follow Lauren

Lauren Meagher • Been there done that. But the comment you made that stuck out to me was "perhaps I just haven't found that "sales professional" in me quite yet?

I have a positive answer first yes everyone goes thru the lull drums. The negative positive, should this continue for longer than a week..... Maybe the company or product isnt for you.

I promise you can get thru the lull drums. Organize yourself schedule 15min breaks at your desk every 1hr of dialing. I take a 10min fool around on the computer every 20 dials. Thus why I am here now. We all here will give you positive reinforcement. I promise.

23 hours ago • Like 5

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Dan Frost • Motivation is a funny thing and what works well for me or other members may not be the best solution for you Lacy, so keep plugging away until you find something that works better than anything else and duplicate it.

If I were in your shoes I would plan out my day so that a certain time is set aside for cold calls (even multiple times per day) and follow through. If you don't do the leg work to fill the top of the funnel you might find yourself unable to reach quota and for some that means loss of potential income or worse - losing a job.

I doubt that you haven't found your inner sales professional - sounds more like you don't enjoy doing cold calls and there's nothing wrong with that, unless if it is part of your job description then you need to find a way around this. Challenge yourself to have an hour of prospecting conversations tomorrow morning and then repeat in the afternoon. Don't focus on how many dials you make but more so on the conversation quality.

Can't wait to read what other members have to say - best of luck Lacy and please let us know how it works out!

23 hours ago • Like

Follow Lacy

Lacy Johnson • Thank you for your comments! @ Lauren - It def is not the product. I believe in our products and their purpose. I love the customer service part of my job, absolutely love. I'm a out going people person and I find once I get on the phone and start me "dials", it's all good. But some days the "lull" doesn't seem to end. I hope that the answer is not that it's not for me. I love every other aspect of my job and my interaction with people.

@ Dan - "enjoying" cold calling - hummm. I can't say it's my favorite part of my job, because it def is not. When I started this position, it is the only aspect of my job that I haven't done before. New territory - taking me out of my comfort zone I guess. I agree that I maybe just haven't found what works.

I love talking with people, and even when I get the rude "no", I can shake them off. I'm constantly reading (hence, my posting here) on calls, prospects, etc., and how to better myself in this aspect. I've tried a lot of different techniques I've read about. But yes, finding one or a combination of one will be key I think.

Is just less than a year to early to judge if it's not "right" for me?

23 hours ago • Like

Follow Lauren

Lauren Meagher • Like I said schedule some down time between the dials. Do what makes you happy and all at your desk. See we can give advice but dont know the perticulars. Are you micro managed do you have access to computer and web at work (some block) do you work from home? Girl I can give you great tips. Like walk or watch funny youtube videos.

22 hours ago • Like 3

Follow Don

Don Andersen • Lacy, I think the first thing you need to do is understand what success in your position looks like so you have something to measure against. Success is infectious. Nobody likes to do anything if they don't think they're making progress or being recognized for their efforts. That's why most sales reps hate to prospect. Set objectives for yourself and what you need to do and say in order to achieve a successful outcome. Understanding is the key. Lauren likes to prospect because she's worked hard to hone her skills, is confident in her abilities, knows her prospects inside out and backward, understands what she's up against, and has a natural flow about her "script" because she's met with success after years of doing the job. Others in this group are similar. Think of any newbie in any new position. Do they like what they do after making mistake after mistake? Of course not. But "Journeymen" become just that over time because of the process you're going through right now. Don't be afraid to lean on your sales manager for help. That's what they're there for.

22 hours ago • Like 3

Follow Dan

Dan Frost • Maybe ask to be promoted to Customer Service or Executive Account Manager and have someone who doesn't hesitate to pick up the phone work to bubble leads up to you for closing... I enjoy cold calling because of the challenge. Before I started inside sales gigs years ago I was apprehensive and would find any excuse not to call, even falling into the "Probably better to call later" procrastination. Then I realized I wouldn't be able to hit my goals, both company defined and personal if I didn't get my butt in gear.

The only way you'll get better at cold calls, prospecting or any step of the process for that matter is to try, try and try again. Not that reading up on this topic is a bad thing, but it can consume your time and swallow you whole if you aren't careful.

It's never too early to judge what is right/best for you - if you aren't overall happy with where you're at then it's time for a change but that is something you have to think about, maybe talk it over with a spouse/best friend/previous Manager you enjoyed working for.

Please don't take this an attack - I mean well and want you to succeed - but never having done cold calls / having a new territory may be daunting however they are not valid reasons for not picking up the phone. If anything, a new territory motivates me to call even more as I map things out and start connecting the dots.

Lastly, I'm a bit surprised this topic has not come up over the past year with your Sales Manager - are there no repercussions for not making calls?

22 hours ago • Like 2

Follow Nick

Nick Purdy • I set my daily goals for calls out in front. That way, I never have that feeling. I know right from the beginning how many calls I am making and therefore have my expectations in hand from jump street. Planning makes everything easier on the head and the soul. Best of luck to you!

9 hours ago • Like 2

Follow Philip

Philip te Brake • I agree with Nick on this one. Planning always helps me as well. Normally i would have a set day with set times to call.
Putting appointments as goals (most of the time) helps me evaluate. Kind of a push to keep calling if I have that non productive moment.

For me an empty week is proper motivation to call. What can i say? just don't like to stay in the office for a week haha.

8 hours ago • Like 1

Follow Lacy

Lacy Johnson • Wow. Thank you all for the comments. It's great just to see what others have been through as a "newbie" or think.

@ Dan - I do make my calls or I wouldn't be in my position, true. And until recently, it really has never been am issue. Just seems I've been in, I like Lauren's word, "lull" and can't seem to get out of it. As I mentioned, I do have other job duties that consume a lot of my day. Not an excuse for not making my calls, but sometimes it does prevent it from happening. And I do find myself finding that "I'll call later after I finish..." or some other thing else that easily prevents me from doing so. Always a legit reason, but not always something that couldn't wait. It's that hesitation that made me post my question. Looking for others that have "been there, done that".

@ Nick, Phillip and Lauren - I like the idea of scheduling time each day. I'm going to try and make that work. There are a few obstacles that may get in the way from day to day, but over all that might be my solution. And yes, Lauren, I've never just hit the phones without taking a break from the calling. That is one of the first things my sales managers said when I took this position.

Again, I thank you all for your comments. I appreciate your time and helping the "newbie" :o) Hopefully, it's just a rut I'm in and I'll move past it, because like I said, I do thoroughly enjoy my job and the folks I work for. Time to just get to it!!

7 hours ago • Like

Follow Kevin P.

Kevin P. Murphy • I agree with Nick and Lauren it is all about setting goals and a set time to sit down to do them and take a breaks.

The phone can weigh a ton on any particular day. But once you plan, start and finish accomplishing your goal of say 10 targeted calls you will feel empowered.

It is important that you not put pressure on yourself to accomplish more than what you plan. Keep in mind that the goal is not to sell per say but just to make the calls.

Lacy, you already sound like a professional sales person with your self analysis
You are fine and I'm sure on your way to a successful career.
In this business we all have to learn not to be to hard on ourselves.
Good Luck!

7 hours ago • Like 2

Follow Nicole

Nicole LaBrant • Lots and lots of coffee....
All joking aside; it happens to everyone. The former statements about planning your day and possibly taking a 10 minute break after a 20-30 call blitz usually work. Get up, walk around the office, circulate, share your positives and negatives from your calls with colleagues - Great motivator. Then jump back on and plug away. Stand up or pace around your office while on calls; that works for me!

6 hours ago • Like 2

Follow Bill

Bill Bushman • For me it is all about mindset. Most sales people operate in Tell Mode and try to get people to listen. Change your mindset to Seek Mode and think of each interaction as an opportunity to learn from the person on the other end. In addition, approach prospecting like you would when having a conversation with a friend who is about to share some valuable information. In this situation you are relaxed, excited to hear what they have to say and your questions become more genuine. Once your mindset is right you will have a lot of fun learning from others.

5 hours ago • Unlike 2

Follow Patrick

Patrick McCarthy • Lacy, I've been in sales for a long time, and cold calling is the bane of my existence. That said, sometimes its a necessary evil. When your a "newbie", at least in most instances, its almost unavoidable. However, one can network with others, use social media, and other strategies to make the calls a little warmer.

A couple things I can suggest, is go to the website of the company you are calling and look for an event or news that might be a good topic to discuss and blend into your pitch. If you call and start the discussion on something about "them", they tend to be more receptive, and it demonstrates that your are in tune with their needs and not just your quota.

Keep emails short and sweet; Long emails get deleted or put aside and forgotten.

Lastly,if you get voice mail, I find a call with a follow up email (within a 1/2 hour) works well. They listen to the voice mail, and may even delete it, then see an email referencing that its a follow up to a voice mail. If its short,sweet, and to the point, you'll find your response rate jump up 30 or 40%. Responses are what you want, even if its a "no' sometimes, because at least you know not to waste anymore time calling and emailing them.

Hope this helps

3 hours ago • Like 2

Follow Anthony

Anthony Brugess • All good stuff here. What works for me is similar. I know from experience how many dials I need to make per day to book enough meetings for the month. Then I simply schedule my day accordingly with 5 minute breaks for every 5 dials. I track everything. I can tell you at the end of the day or week how many calls I made, conversations I had, meetings I booked, meetings I attended, clients signed, etc. That helps me gauge how I'm doing and keeps me motivated. Sometimes you just have to MAKE yourself do it. Once you get started, it's pretty easy to keep going...most of the time :)

1 hour ago • Like 1

Follow Heather

Heather Turcany • Sometimes take a minute or a few and get some good music going in the back ground to motivate myself. Find some way to shake it off. Or maybe start with a few emails to contacts and then your calls started.

54 minutes ago • Like 2

Follow Sarah

Sarah Bojarski • Great advice from the group!
@Lacy, I am in your shoes now. It is tough, but what keeps me picking up the phone is the reminder that my business is all about customers! Without them I would not in here. The same is true for you I'm sure. I always try to start my calls with a warm contact since I'm more comfortable with someone I'm following up with. Before I know it I'm done and on to the next project.

38 minutes ago • Like 1

Follow Lacy

Lacy Johnson • Thank you all for commenting. Haven't had much free time today to comment to everyone. But I am listening! Everyone has great feedback. Time slots created for prospect calling!! I think that's going to be my best route to go. Then I can change up my other job duties around those time frames. Sounds like a good plan :o) Let's see how it goes.

Thanks again everyone! Gotta love this group!

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Debbie Mayo-Smith: Cold call success - Business - NZ Herald News

Debbie Mayo-Smith: Cold call success - Business - NZ Herald News | Cold Calling | Scoop.it
Do you ever have to make cold calls? Here is a fabulous tip told to me by Sarah Reilly of ITL, New Plymouth.
Jeff Ribman's insight:

Simple, short and sweet...

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The Cold Call Isn't Dead - Huffington Post

The Cold Call Isn't Dead - Huffington Post | Cold Calling | Scoop.it
The Cold Call Isn't Dead
Huffington Post
Cold calls, email blasts, TV commercials and print advertisements are all traditional ways of spreading the word.
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To cold call or not to cold call...

Further comments from LinkedIn

Jeff Ribman's insight:

Business to business related answer (opinion):

I personally have always struggled with understanding people who consider themselves business development professionals who do not cold call. How do they build their pipelines? Convert new sales? and meet targets? If they do meet targets without cold calling, then I gather their targets are too soft, and based on organic growth expectations.

If no one cold called - there would be no businesses. Every business started with zero clients, and to gain market share the founding directors would have made a cold approach to win business.

Most MD/GM etc have had sales experience and realise that they need their sales people to cold call to grow their own business, so would be hypocritical to not listen to a cold approach.

Business Development by organic growth and inbound leads only can be managed by non sales professionals at a low cost - so if companies weren't cold calling, they wouldn't need sales professionals.

Cold calling is a skill, and true 'sales people' (not account managers or order takers) will enjoy the hunt - and if not, maybe consider a farming role.

Targeted and smart cold calling will produce higher results at a much lower cost than any other form of sales approach in a business to business market - and if the sales people are true hunters the conversion rate from cold call to conversion will be surprisingly high. (example: average conversion ratio in the industry I sent 10+ years in was 10%, those who diligently cold called/enjoyed it/sold solutions were able to get their conversion ratio above 50%).

There is never a bad time to cold call - only a bad time to decide to not make a cold call.

The main attribute required in a cold call - is approaching the right person (final decision maker) and giving them a compelling reason to accept an appointment.

By Brad Rodger

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JonAtMosh's comment, April 4, 2013 7:36 PM
Very helpful
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How To Cold Call Don Draper Like A Social Selling Mad Man - Business 2 Community

How To Cold Call Don Draper Like A Social Selling Mad Man - Business 2 Community | Cold Calling | Scoop.it
How To Cold Call Don Draper Like A Social Selling Mad Man
Business 2 Community
Developing a social selling strategy is key to B2B sales success. Think about it, what would Don Draper do if you were a software sales executive calling on him?
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Tips and Sales Techniques for Cold Calling

Tips and Sales Techniques for Cold Calling | Cold Calling | Scoop.it
Advice on developing one of the most difficult skills in sales.
Jeff Ribman's insight:

A lot of good links to additional information on this one (place thumbs up icon here)...

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My Biggest Sales Mistake - No More Cold Calling

My Biggest Sales Mistake - No More Cold Calling | Cold Calling | Scoop.it
Marketing guru Graham McGregor shares his biggest sales blunder—not staying in touch with his referral network.
Jeff Ribman's insight:

Mention of local Graham McGregor...

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