I hate cold calls. I think they’re a waste of time (but that’s another issue). For those of you that are still stuck doing them, here’s a refreshing look at the process.
There are three steps (objectives) to (face-to-face) cold calling:
- Getting in to see the decider.
- Gaining the decider’s interest.
- Making the sale (or closing the next step in the sales cycle.)
You can’t get to #3 unless #1 & #2 are executed. Easy to say, not easy to do. Most cold calls fail miserably. But not you, you get right in every time, right?
The biggest problem in cold calling is NOT the gate keeper or customer who won’t let you in, it’s sales people who are uncreative, take no risk, and have no fun. Now, this isn’t you, is it?
Pam Lontos, sales training expert, knew a salesman (Bill) who combined creativity and high risk to get into the offices he was rejected from but really wanted to get into. At the end of a week, he made a list of the high value prospects that refused to see him.
One day in a week, he made cold calls to his “re-hit” list, only this time he took his potbelly pig with him. He walked up to the receptionist and said, “Tell Fred that Bill and his pig are here to see him.”
Can you imagine the gatekeeper announcing to the boss, “There’s a guy out here with a pig who wants to see you.” Most of the time he would get escorted right back to the bosses office.
Sound crazy? “Just call me Crazy Bill with the big bank account,” he would often say.
Look at the principles of cold calling that Bill executed successfully:
- He got in where others (including himself) could not before.
- He gained the prospect’s interest.
- He will NEVER be forgotten.
- He was having fun, and created smiles for others.
How can you adapt this principle to your cold calls? Figure it out. That’s why they call it creativity. But a word of caution, if you take an elephant, bring a shovel.
What do you say when you get in the boss’ office? Try these:
- My pig has an important message about (your product) and I’m his interpreter.
- The pig was off from school today and I couldn’t get a sitter.
- We’re trying to upgrade the salesman’s image.
- I used to travel with a monkey, but he was always asking for more money.
- I brought lunch.
Now, for those of you about to scream “IT’S UNPROFESSIONAL!” remember the first objective of a cold call get in the door. Here are two scenarios to ponder:
- I’m the most professional salesperson in the world and I make a cold call or sales call in the traditional consultative way and establish rapport and ask great questions, and find out all the prospects needs, make an appointment to return with answers and a proposal the next week OR
- I walk in unannounced, or 5 minutes late for an appointment, looking ragged, and explain in two minutes how the prospect can use my product and say “sign here,” and the prospect signs.
Who did a better job? Now I’m NOT saying sacrifice professionalism NOR am I saying that this will work in every scenario, NOR am I saying that you won’t piss a few people off but it is FUN, and sales people aren’t having enough fun.