Cold Calling Integration Challenge

by Scott Channell on April 2, 2012

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Print Friendly

Never ever cold call. Cold calling is dead. Elvis is alive.

Ridiculous statements all.

Cold calling for appointments is like any other marketing tool. Use it in the right place… and use it correctly… and you get results. Use it in the wrong spots… and incorrectly… you get frustration and phone phobia.

There is one truth. Cold calling stinks. I teach the stuff yet don’t love it. Rejection is the norm. Do and say the same things over and over again. But, but, but…. despite all that, if you know that a certain process consistently gets you qualified leads, cost-effectively and convert to very profitable sales…. Guess what? You take a deep breath and do it again and again and again.

In the early days when I was on my way to setting more than 2,000 C-level sales appointments in many industries, I would play all sort of mental games to battle the monotony and repetitiveness. But I and the companies I was calling for made a lot of money from those appointments and that boring repetitive full of rejection process.

The truth is, if you are gunning for top people, knowing how to use the phone to get in front of them gets you there faster and cheaper. Not as pleasantly as other methods, but faster and cheaper.

Today, I want to highlight for you a major change in cold calling process over the last 16 years or so.

When I started the game was simply call, they pick up or don’t, they agree to meet or don’t. Next! That was it. Again and again and again.

But as time went on I recognized that the stark bare cold call fell far short of reaping full value for those boring repetitive full-of-rejection efforts. My calling tended to be for services that people did not change vendors on very regularly. It tended to be for things that people just didn’t change sources for very frequently. Maybe every 2 – 4 years or longer.

So even if doing everything right, the odds of hitting a qualified target at exactly the time they were in the market to evaluate vendors was pretty low. Think of all the times you speak to someone and they say No, No, NO. Yet, six months later they buy from a competitor.

Well it took a number of years for light to dawn on this marble head and realize that even when someone said no, assuming they fit the profile of someone who could be a great client/account at sometime, they were likely to evaluate if not change vendors sometime in the next 3 – 18 months.

It was with that concept that “Plan B” was developed. I had dialed, dialed, dialed; repeatedly ventured into voicemail hell and endured the torture of automated phone systems again and again. All the work and agony had been done and endured. A good number of these emphatic “no’s” were going to buy in the near future. If the phone goes dead I have done all the work and reaped only a small part of the value for my efforts.

So I started doing two things that drastically increased the value generated for my cold calling efforts. 1. Ask them when I should call back. 2. Get their permission for future consistent communication (touches) in the future. Note: there are specific scripts and a way to ask this and get their permission. Do it the wrong way and you guarantee yourself a blow off answer and wasted time.

Those touches can be delivered by email, mail, carrier pigeon?? The key that the system be automated and not involve you step by step. When you call back, they know you, understand your value, you are credible in their eyes. You get the meeting and a much greater change of closing an account as they appreciate your value.

So you start with a cold call.

Then you add “Plan B.”

But, with mature systems there is even more. When you call you are identifying decision-makers. And, in addition to scheduling appointments, you should be using your interactions with gatekeepers to get recon on what people buy and how much and when.

If you just “cold call” for appointments without also getting all the recon info you can, you are dong all the work yet reaping just a small percent of the value for your efforts.

That recon info enables you to eliminate unqualified low-volume purchasers from your list. It enables you to use other marketing tools to a very qualified list very economically.

If you could identify companies that have the potential to buy massive amounts of what you offer, would that help your marketing?

If you could know which product or service line a company or individual was most likely to buy, would it help you to customize your messages?

If you knew when they were reviewing vendors or going out to bid, would that be helpful?

If you could communicate with the above similar segments as groups and not individually, would that save time and money and lift conversions and sales?

The “cold call” if you do it right, is part of an overall effective marketing process.

Make the calls in the right way in the right places. Learn to do that well.

But also be prepared to “add on” to those efforts to get your full marketing and sales value.

Best wishes for great selling,
Scott Channell

{ 0 comments }

Plan “B” is A Must

by Scott Channell on January 10, 2012

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Print Friendly

Your “Plan B”… or lack thereof…is the biggest factor in determining the total return on your marketing dollars.

Two realities…

1. Appointment setting prospecting efforts MUST schedule enough appointments that convert to sales of sufficient size and profit margin… within a reasonably short time… to justify the cost and aggravation in the short term. No work today for money way down the road.

Prospect. Meet. Close. Cash the checks. That has to happen.

2. But, but, but… the reality is, if you are prospecting for major sales, where a prospect might only consider a new vendor every few years or more… even if you do everything right as far as calling… the cold hard reality is that it won’t be the right time for most of those you communicate with to meet with you…

yet…………………………… many of those you speak with will end up buying from someone else within 6-18 months.

So what do you do?

Most of your costs are upfront.

Major revenue streams are just below the surface of a meeting.

Having already made the prospecting investment, how do you get these people into your sales pipeline at a level lower than a meeting, so that when they are ready… they call you, they know your value, you have credibility in their eyes…and guess who is well positioned to get that sale?

You do that by having a Plan B.

A drop down offer, which puts them into an automatic system of touches and communication that, you do not manage on an individual prospect by prospect basis.

You communicate with groups of like suspects consistently and multiple times consistent with the Rule of 7.

Those who are working a total system of prospecting have the simple coding systems and tools to follow-up frequently and automatically once the prospect has given permission to do so.

There are many options for Plan B’s. I have seen Email, letters, CD’s, postcards and other marketing tools used and work well in all sorts of formats and variations.

The marketing tool you use is not the most important thing. What counts is automatic consistent frequent follow-up.

Compared to the cost and effort of making your calls, Plan B is cheap, easy and pays much larger dividends.

Best wishes for sales success,
Scott Channell

copyright 2007-2012 Scott Channell

 

{ 0 comments }

Reach Unreachables With a “Plan B.”

January 10, 2012
Print Friendly

How your “Plan B” Gets Unreachables and No’s Into Your Sales Pipeline Without Additional Effort Or Expense. Plan B. After scripting strategies it is the #2 concept that big-ticket appointment setters are most excited about – and tell me has helped them the most. Plan B benefits you big-time as it gets qualified unreachables and [...]

Read the full article →

Plan “B”: Part 1. What to do With Those Who are Unreachable, Don’t Agree to Meet or Have No Need.

January 10, 2012
Print Friendly

Also revealed… the #1 follow up strategy. Here are five cold cruel realities of sales prospecting that a good plan B will overcome. 1. Most prospects will turn you down. 2. With “major sales” the odds of initially contacting someone at exactly the right time is low. 3. Most costs are up front. Most profits [...]

Read the full article →

Plan “B”: Part 2. Where Most of the Economic Value of Sales Prospecting is to be Found.

January 10, 2012
Print Friendly

PLAN “B”- PART TWO: WHERE MOST OF THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF SALES PROSPECTING IS TO BE FOUND…AND SIX WAYS YOU CAN TAP IT. Plan “B”. What is it and why is having one and properly implementing it so critical to capturing the highest return on your investment on your sales prospecting and appointment setting efforts. [...]

Read the full article →

Plan “B”: Part 3. When They Say “No.” Where the Real Money Lies…

January 10, 2012
Print Friendly

PLAN “B” – PART THREE: WHEN THEY SAY “NO”: YOUR REAL MONEY LIES JUST BENEATH THE SURFACE. HERE IS HOW TO DIG IT UP. That top executive at a great prospective client company has just declined your request for a meeting despite your best efforts… what do you do now? Exchange meaningless drivel about keeping [...]

Read the full article →