So how would you like to start your prospecting campaign today? It’s Monday morning at 9 AM and you ask yourself, should I block out and hour for cold calling or should I go see the dentist for a root canal? For many the perceived level of pain is the same. The majority of sales professionals avoid cold calling like the plague. The reason is they are convinced that it doesn’t work and they expect rejection on just about every call, and who wants that? Many articles, books and blogs are out there today telling you that cold calling does not work, period! They’ll tell you you’re better off investing your time in networking, mining your installed base for referrals, or developing a lead generation program.
Do any of these approaches work? Of course they do. But most sales managers are reporting that in this recession, lead generation programs are not working as they did in the past. Networking and working the installed base for referrals, although also effective, doesn’t fill the void.
In this day and age as we hopefully come out of the recession we need to have the best possible tools in our hands to meet the demands of better sales performance. Cold calling with a proven technique does make the difference. As Marc Harty, CEO from Maintopic Media quoted the other day, “If your ship hasn’t come in yet, swim out to it”. That’s what cold calling is all about – if all else fails, there is no other choice. But the best news of all is that the same techniques that work on a cold call, also work on a referral or marketing generated call, so the skills will be transferable when the economy improves.
Barry Caponi, a friend and colleague, is President of the Caponi Performance Group. Barry has developed a comprehensive program for cold calling that truly works. Barry says that it’s imperative that both efficiency (reaching out to as many targets as possible in the shortest amount of time) and effectiveness (converting more conversations into appointments) be addressed simultaneously. Today, most companies attempt to solve the efficiency challenge with technology (CRM) that was not designed to impact the front end of the selling process. They also attempt to address the effectiveness challenge with the same techniques (selling skills) they use in second half of the selling process (handling objections, etc.). And when neither has worked, they returned to the mantra uttered by sales management everywhere, “Make more dials!” Reality is that more dials does lead to more appointments, but no one has the time, or the desire to solve the challenge in that fashion.
Barry’s method for cold calling works (I’ve seen it). It’s called Coldcalling101 (www.coldcalling101.com) and focuses on a comprehensive combination of Art (skills), Science (tools) and Best Practices (processes) for the pursuit of each group of targets.
Just a few short points for you to consider that Coldcalling101 addresses:
– What is the purpose of the call? It’s to get an appointment-period, not to sell.
– Understand that when you call someone, they are playing by a different set of rules than you think they are:
1. They don’t believe they are in the market for what you are selling so they don’t think they need to talk with you.
2. You are interrupting them so they don’t want to talk with you.
– Hence, they will initially do anything, including lie to you to get you off the phone.
– You must ask a specialized type of question (Bridge Questions) designed to get them past their knee jerk response and into an open conversation in order to regain control of the conversation and still secure an appointment.