Last time, I covered the first five things to make your cold calling life much easier. Below you will find the final five things that will make it easier…
Send Stuff but Don’t Ask About It. – There are lots of opinions on sending letters or marketing materials to a prospect before a call. Anthony Parinello (Getting to VITO) thinks it’s a good idea to send a letter before the call and refer to it. The Sandler Institute doesn’t believe in it. My opinion is somewhere in the middle. Salespeople can use all the help they can get in warming a sales call. I love it when there are marketing materials available to send before the first call because it might help the prospect remember my company’s brand name. However, I’ve learned not to ask about the materials because it gives prospects an excuse to end the call. (“I didn’t receive it. I’ll call you back when I get it.” And what do gatekeepers say? “If he was interested he would have called you.”) I want my calls to be about the product or service not just about the mailed materials. So I approach the calls as if I never mailed anything. This approach might send your marketing department screaming because they will want to measure the effectiveness of the marketing campaign. I only hope the prospect will remember the marketing materials and mention it during the call. (“Oh yeah. I got your letter.”) But if they don’t mention it, neither do I. I can always ask after the contract is signed.
Study Trends. – What is the title of the person most likely to buy your product? In what region of the country are prospects most likely to take a meeting? Which prospect is most likely to feel threatened by what your company has to offer? The answers to these questions verify the importance of studying trends. If you can take a moment to look at the most likely title to buy your product, it might make sense to target that title in the future. If New Yorkers won’t take a meeting but Clevelanders will guess where I’m going to focus my call campaign. If I’m selling IT services and IT Managers always hang up on me, I know to focus on a title that can understand the value of what my company provides without feeling threatened.
Be Persistent. – A recent study by MarketingSherpa said that it takes 12 voicemails before a high ranking executive will respond to your messages. (If I have a large database of names, I may only leave four voicemails before moving on. However, I have left up to 10 messages and had success in setting up a meeting.) Though it may take some creativity to come up with 12 different messages, it’s important to stay the course for as long as you can. This is especially true if you’re dealing with a shortlist of names. You never know if your prospect has been on vacation, on a business trip, or just too busy with an internal project to take your call.
Measure Conversations Not Hours and Dials. – Does it really make sense to measure how many meetings you’ve set up per hour when you’re calling list is full of dead guys? Should you be proud of making 100 dials in a day when half of them were busy signals or disconnected phone numbers? If you are to get a true measurement of a call campaign, you have to measure what the caller can control. Conversations. Callers cannot control bad calling lists or if a prospect looks at the Caller ID and decides not to answer the phone. However, they can control how conversations with the right person proceed. If I speak with 50 prospects and 49 are not interested because they have relatives in the business, that tells me something. If I speak with 100 prospects and 25 of them are excited about my call, that tells me something. Understanding why prospects are not interested and making adjustments to your pitch can make a tremendous difference. This is why it is important to document in your CRM or SFA system WHY prospects are not interested.
Adapt. – If I may quote the lyrics of a popular ’80s TV show: Now the world doesn’t move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you may not be right for some? There is no one right way to execute cold calling. When it comes to educational materials, take what works, and leave the rest behind. A bit of New Solution Selling here, a touch of Spin Selling there, and a bit of common sense based on what works for you can make a difference. Every approach won’t work for every prospect. All of your savvy marketing materials won’t motivate all of your prospects. Most importantly, be ready to make the necessary changes when your way isn’t working. Otherwise, you may find your prospects saying “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout Willis?”
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