5 lessons learned fro 6600 cold calls

Superior Marketing | October 29, 2020

Tags: Local Marketing | Local SEO | Google Maps

5 lessons learned from 6,600 cold calls

​How many of us have done in the day-in and day-out cold calling blitzes?

In recent years, I have worked with numerous sales organizations in all 50 states, and 4 foreign countries. The fact remains, cold calling tends to be a blanket statement in regards to a cold call.

Let me be clear. There are various levels of a cold call, let's look at those three levels:

Dead Cold Call

A dead cold call is when you call an individual or business that had zero prior awareness, contact or knowledge of you or your business, product, service or offering.

Cold Call

A cold call is when you call an individual or business that had prior awareness, contact or knowledge of you or your business, product, service or offering.

Warm Cold

A warm call is when you call an individual or business that had prior contact and expressed interest in your business, product, service or offering.

The Traditional Cold Call

The traditional cold call strategy used by salespeople refers to the dead-cold call. The dead cold call is when you or your organization pulls a list of various businesses that fit the ideal target which your business serves.

If you provide services for Realtors, you likely call real estate agents and pitch them on a product, service or solution.

If you provide services to commercial retailers, you likely call corporate offices and local managers to pitch them on a product, service or solution.

and so on...

The Problem with Dead Cold Calls

The problem with dead cold calls, obscurity. As Grant Cardone preaches, obscurity kills business. Obscurity is defined as the state of being unknown, inconspicuous, or unimportant.

When you open up your dialer or pick up that cell phone, and begin dialing businesses dead-cold, you're already in a state of obscurity.

The perception of the recipient is that they do not know who you are, what you do or what you have to offer. Quite frankly, they do not care.

When they tell you, "Yeah, we're good" or "We're not interested, and thanks for the call" or other similar responses, they're not rejecting you, your company or what you have to offer, they're rejecting the dead-cold call.

They do not want to be put into a position where they're wasting their time listening to someone that is going to over promise and under deliver. The "know, like, and trust" factor is a real thing. In order to earn their time, they must know you. In some cases, they can know you but won't give you their time, they must also like you. In most cases, they have to know, like and trust you, in order to take your call and listen to your pitch.

The Dead-Cold Call Pitch

This pitch is always super lame, over inflated, and unbelievable.

"Hi (decision maker), my name is (salespersons name) and I'm calling today because we help companies like yours (result you claim to deliver), and would like just a minute of your time to learn more about your business."

Let's dissect this pitch for just a moment. What are we hearing when this calls comes through?

1. Companies like mine? Which companies like mine?

2. If you truly deliver that, why aren't you getting referrals?

3. Just a minute? Year right! We'll be on the phone for over an hour wasting my time

4. Learn about my business? You should have done your research.

5. Who are you, and why are you calling me?

In my research and working with various sales organizations, as well as their c-level executives. They get these calls close to three dozen times each day from various salespeople. They all sound the same, and they all waste the same amount of time. When your pitch sounds like the other 300 people calling, you're going to be categorized as a time waster, just like the other 300.

The Recommend Solution

Research: Take some time to more about your prospect. Google their business, view Linkedin profiles of their employees, look at their social media page, and get a well-rounded perspective of what their business specializes in, who they services, and what kind of results they're proving to their clientele.

More Research: Call their 800 number and ask questions. No, seriously. Call their 800 number and speak with their customer support representatives or gatekeepers. Ask questions. "What is it that you do? Let's say I have a new home and need an awning put on my back porch. Is that something you provide? If I were to request a quote, what is that process, and how long does it typically take?"

Reviews: Reviews are less and less credible in today's marketplace, however, there is validity in sound positive and negative reviews. This gives you a great idea of what their customers are saying about them. A lot of reviews will tell you about their process which genuinely expresses their experience as a customer. If it is a solid process, the customer experience will be positive. If it is lackluster and needs work - the reviews will describe that.

Competitors: Call their competitors and ask questions. "Let's say I were to get a quote from you and (competitor A), what would I see that would separate you from (competitor A)? Right now, I'm looking at new siding and would be choosing between you and (competitor A), what would I need to do in order to get the quickest response and fastest turnaround time?"

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of different questions tailored to your business, industry and niche which you can ask to extract information to help you with your cold call campaign.

THE EXPERIMENT: Process and Methodology

In 2018, I took six months to experiment with the cold call. Yes, this was a data-driven cold calling experiment to test the methods of some of the most prominent gooroos.

One gooroo states, "massive action is the key to success." "More calls equals more dollars." "Every no is one call closer to a yes." ...and many more like this.

Does that sound familiar?

What I learned from 6,000 cold calls

Month 1: 1-500 Prospects

Monday --> 100 calls to prospects 1-100

Tuesday --> 100 calls to prospects 101-200

Wednesday --> 100 calls to prospects 201-300

Thursday --> 100 calls to prospects 301-400

Friday --> 100 calls to prospects 401-500

This repeated for four weeks. Each week included four different scripts.

Script 1: Introduction

Script 2: Following Up

Script 3: Example and Case Study Overview

Script 4: Final offer, before I remove you from my list

Month 2: 501-1,000 Prospects

Monday --> 100 calls to prospects 501-600

Tuesday --> 100 calls to prospects 601-700

Wednesday --> 100 calls to prospects 701-800

Thursday --> 100 calls to prospects 801-900

Friday --> 100 calls to prospects 901-1,000

This repeated for four weeks. Each week included four different scripts.

Script 1: Introduction

Script 2: Following Up

Script 3: Example and Case Study Overview

Script 4: Final offer, before I remove you from my list


Month 3: 1,001-1,500 Prospects

Monday --> 100 calls to prospects 1,001-1,100

Tuesday --> 100 calls to prospects 1,101-1200

Wednesday --> 100 calls to prospects 1,201-1,300

Thursday --> 100 calls to prospects 1,301-1400

Friday --> 100 calls to prospects 1,401-1500

This repeated for four weeks. Each week included four different scripts.

Script 1: Introduction

Script 2: Following Up

Script 3: Example and Case Study Overview

Script 4: Final offer, before I remove you from my list

THE EXPERIMENT: The Results

The experiment was extremely time consuming but in the face of an empty pipeline I found this to be the only way to fill my pipeline with qualified prospects to sell to.

1,500 prospects x 4 calls each = 6,000 calls

Calls: 6,000

Connections: 243

Average Talk Time: 1:18

Connections Per Day: 3.68

Leads: 12

Qualified: 9

Presentations: 6

Sales: 4

Closing Rate: 66.67%

Average Ticket: $2,500

Total earnings: $10,000

This was an extremely poor performing campaign, in my opinion. I can find a hell of a lot more ways to get $10,000 than to spend 90 days behind a computer getting rejected 5,757 times.

The biggest lesson I learned from this was that obscurity is a real thing, and businesses do not care if you hold the cure to cancer in your pocket and you're literally trying to give it to them. First, they don't believe you. Second, they don't know you. Third, they do not trust you.

5 Tips to Overcome Obscurity

This isn't the definitive guide to overcoming obscurity, but a general guideline that has worked for me in various industries and as the outsourced sales organization for hundreds of companies.

Write a Letter: Yes. It is very old school, but it is also very effectiveness to help you generate minimal awareness. Your letter should include an introduction, a widely known and difficult challenge to solve, and a solution you have provided to others experiencing the same challenge in the same industry. Reference a call you will be making in the next week, and in the interim they can go to your website to learn more about your company in preparation for the call.

Why letters?

Nobody, and I repeat nobody is doing letters. Everyone is riding the email spam wave right now and there is prime real estate in sending letters. Postcards are not the same. Literally every business is experimenting with postcard mailers right now with specific offers. Write the letter, sign it, and include a personalized note.

LinkedIn Connection: This is the norm in today's sales environment, but does have validity in making proper connections. Those who are using LinkedIn use it religiously and with the mobile app are getting messages in real-time and notifications of connection requests or comments on their posts. Again, introduce yourself and provide an overview of who you are and what you do. Ask for permission to send them some supplemental resources to help them familiarize themselves with you and your company.

Facebook Business Page: Like the company page, and drop them a message. This allows you to see if their social media department is viewing the message. They do need to respond or it harms their responsiveness on their Facebook page. Make it a simple introduction and use this platform to ask questions. "If I were to schedule a time with your COO, what is the best way to do that?"

Personal Connection: If you have common connections, simply ask them to make a connection, introduction and possibly a time to chat. Ask your friend Bobby to make an introduction as you have something they may find valuable. In most cases, my friends send an email to them copying me. This works wonders.

Thumb Drives: I know thumb drives can come at a price, but in recent years, I have used this strategy to get video messages to my prospects. My thumb drive will have just two files. An introductory video with me introducing myself, my company, and a couple of things they may find valuable, and reference a call in the upcoming week. Also ensure you remind them to open the pitch deck on the drive. This thumb drive should be sent certified mail and require a signature.

5 Lessons I learned from 6,000 Cold Calls

Without further adieu, here are the five lessons I learned from 6,000 cold calls.

1. Decision Makers are busy

Those with the authority to make purchasing decisions and sign contracts are not worried about your purpose of the call, or that you help people in their space. You need to find a way to differentiate yourself from the pack and lead with value. Value is in the eye of the beholder, and your value-centric pitch should be tailored to the prospect. This is where research comes in handy.

2. Obscurity be obscuring

Those who find you unimportant, inconspicuous and unknown will not find you important, interesting or known. You have to do the foundational work ahead of time. If you're using the five tips to overcoming obscurity as outlined, above, then you're miles ahead of the competition. When you take time to write letters, make LinkedIn connection requests, message their business page, have a friend make a connection and send personal items like a thumb drive, you're, again, miles ahead of the competition and climbing your way out of obscurity.

3. Lead with Value

One of the biggest and most lessons I have learned from this experiment is to lead with value. Once your prospect takes the time to accept your call, you must lead with value. 99 times out of 100, you'll earn more talk time by leading with value. If you address a specific challenge that is the most common in their industry, and you can utilize that as the basis for the conversation -- you're in a better position to use discovery for fact finding.

"(Decision make), let me ask you... In residential roofing, most contractors are finding it very difficult to get the initial assessment mostly due to timing and trust... Is that something you're also seeing?"

Decision Maker: Yes, that's been a challenge for us, and we're seeing that our sales reps aren't getting the right information or permission needed to do an on-site assessment.

"Absolutely. We work with dozens of contractors throughout the United States and let me tell you, you're not the first to experience challenges like this. (Decision maker) what is your team doing to overcome this challenge, right now?"

4. Ask for the Appointment

Always ask for the appointment. "(Decision maker), if I could show you three ways to help you get more on-site assessments, and streamline your entire sales process, when can I get 30 minutes to show you how this works?"

This is a pitch, yes. If you laid the ground work properly by asking the right questions, and displaying a keen understanding of the industry, niche, and overall business model, then this becomes a natural progression in the cold call.

5. ABC of Sales (Always Be Collecting)

Data is the most valuable asset in the marketplace today. Facebook, Google, Bing, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Supermarkets, Amazon, Banking institutions, etc., are all mining your data. They're tracking your every move on their platform, they're pushing you towards specific offers, and tracking that activity so as to "Score" your account. This is called lead scoring. You should always be collecting information.

Once you ask for the appointment, your next step should be to collect their information.

"(Decision maker), so we agreed on Monday at 10am CST. What is the best email to send you a calendar invitation? Also, would you find it valuable to review some resources about me, my company and some of the various solutions we provide? I'll be sending that over absolutely free, and will help us stage the call for Monday at 10am CST. Does that sound fair? Great! Now, if for any chance this doesn't workout, is there a better number I should be calling, or should I use this number?"

The end result, you confirmed the decision maker's name, email address, and phone number, with a time to present a solution to help them overcome some of their major challenges.

THE EXPERIMENT II: The Reload

In the next three months, I took another segment of only 300 prospects mined from LinkedIn with my LinkedIn Prospecting team.

This experiment was completed to determine if overcoming obscurity first, then making cold calls would make any difference.

Month 1: Prospects 1-100

Monday --> 100 letters mailed to prospects 1-100

Tuesday --> 100 emails to prospects 1-100

Wednesday --> 100 LinkedIn messages to prospects 1-100

Thursday --> 100 FB messages to prospects 1-100

Friday --> 100 calls made to prospects 1-100

This process repeated for the next four weeks. Each week included the same exact sequence to all prospects 1-100.

Month 2: Prospects 101-200

Monday --> 100 letters mailed to prospects 101-200

Tuesday --> 100 emails to prospects 101-200

Wednesday --> 100 LinkedIn messages to prospects 101-200

Thursday --> 100 FB messages to prospects 101-200

Friday --> 100 calls to prospects 101-200

This process repeated for the next four weeks. Each week included the same exact sequence to all prospects 101-200.

Month 3: Prospects 201-300

Monday --> 100 letters mailed to prospects 201-300

Tuesday --> 100 emails to prospects 201-300

Wednesday --> 100 LinkedIn messages to prospects 201-300

Thursday --> 100 FB messages to prospects 201-300

Friday --> 100 calls to prospects 201-300

This process repeated for the next four weeks. Each week included the same exact sequences to all prospects 201-300.

THE EXPERIMENT II: The Results

The experiment was less time consuming and helped me fill my pipeline much quicker with more qualified prospects, much quicker.

300 prospects x 4 calls each = 1,200 calls

Calls: 1,200

Connections: 216

Average Talk Time: 3:09

Connections Per Day: 18

Leads: 65

Qualified: 18

Presentations: 12

Sales: 9

Closing Rate: 75%

Average Ticket: $2,500

Total earnings: $22,500

This was a much more successful campaign, and helped me increase revenue by 225%.

An average monthly revenue of $7,500 was much better than the first 90 day experiment. The difference was overcoming obscurity, and helping prospects become more aware of me, my company, my offer, my results, and my solutions.

For those of you interested in learning about what I was selling. I was selling outsourced sales solutions. In the event of a company struggling with keeping their pipeline full, struggling to generate new opportunities, and struggling to close the leads they have generated through other expensive means of marketing. We became the team they could rely on to help them close more deals and increase their sales.

The best thing about this particular solution I was selling, was the same exact solution we used to get them as a client. A company looking to expand their sales team without burdening the expense of recruiting, hiring, training, and managing - we would do for a flat rate of $2,500 per month. The company can elect to hire a local sales rep, or tap into our team of business development reps to generate leads, and pre-qualify the sale before sending over to the internal closer.

THE SELFISH PITCH

In 2019, I took the time to put these exact principles into writing by publishing my first book. Potent Prospecting became the very guidebook for filling your sales pipeline with real world strategies. I put each and every single step of building out a high quality campaign for taking strangers and turning them into qualified prospects to fill your sales pipeline. In 2020, I again, wrote another phone prospecting book entitled, Powerhouse Calling which details how to leverage phone prospecting to fill your sales pipeline with qualified prospects.

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Curtis DeCora
Business Strategist
Superior Marketing
www.HaywardMarketing.us

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