Cold Call News from the Frozen Tundra.Cold calls — love ’em or hate ’em?
The cold call remains the most talked about area of sales.
And the least understood area.
And the least effective way to sell. (but seemingly the easiest way to start)
And the biggest reason for sales failure.As soon as I write something or make a comment about how worthless cold calls are for sales, my mailbox gets a barrage of letters that range from “way–to–go!” to “you–have–no–idea–what–you’re–talking–about.” Here is a great example:Jeffrey, I read your article and I agree with the principle of value selling. I’dlike to suggest one amendment. You suggest that value attracts and cold calling repels. Done poorly, perhaps… but properly executed, cold calls have been the heart of many of the highest value professional and “personal” sales that I have made in my life.A sad but true fact is that 80% of the time, a customer will choose a vendor from a short list. This usually includes those vendors found with large display ads in the phone book or (these days) the people that come up at the top of the list in the search engines. Neither list is particularly exclusive nor indicative of the quality of the vendor. Better vendors with smaller budgets or less marketing acumen don’t get considered, hence your statement “it’s not who you know…but who knows you…”This comes on the heels of another sad fact. Many buyers are confused (and/or lazy). They either lack direction, or would rather make the easy choice rather than do the work to make the right one, hence the great opportunity for great cold calls. When the cold call (by the way, not a random call) is made to a senior manager using the correct message, the cold call can work magic!I have had the considerable pleasure of selling very substantial systems(the largest being a call center with over $500,000 invested.) to customers that later confessed that they “didn’t know where to look” for the product or service that they required. My call established rapport and increased interest, and has paved the way in many situations to closing deals where no other vendor was invited to bid.I think that many salespeople conveniently excuse their lack of awareness of the proper “cold call etiquette”, and attribute the resulting ill will that they generate to the fact that “people don’t like to receive cold calls…” I suggest beginning every cold call with the simple greeting: “Hello, my name is _________. Do you have a few minutes to talk to me about (a bona fide statement of value)….”I have that found many people will gladly spend a few unscheduled minuteswith someone polite enough to call with information that might improvetheir business, OR will set a time to have the same conversation at a time which is mutually convenient. It’s the salesperson that barges in with norespect for the circumstances of the customer that gives the cold call itsnegative reputation. Best regards, INTERSECT SOLUTIONS, INC.. Mark Cofano, President & CEOMark, I appreciate your comments —- and you are quite correct. The problem is that most salespeople are not trained enough, are not creative enough, nor have the intestinal fortitude enough, to get from cold call to appointment to sale. Making the cold call is one thing. Making the sale is quite another. The ones who make the sales usually end up with the title president or CEO —- you must have made a lot of sales, I see you have garnered both. Best regards, JeffreyLike any profession, there are good and bad salespeople. Mark Cofano is obviously one of the good ones — AND one of the successful ones.
You may want to try Mark’s approach “Do you have a few minutes to talk to me about (a bona fide statement of value)….”, or one of these refinements:
- What has been your experience with…
- How have you profited from…
- How are you taking advantage of…
Everyone has some cold call success, but I remain steadfast to my views:
1. the cold call is a lousy place to make a sale — but a great place to learn how to sell.
2. Salespeople who are able to make sales on cold calls rise to the top.
3. Salespeople who are unable to make sales on cold calls make excuses and eventually make a new career.
4. And for those who continue to use the cold call as a mainstay year after year — my question to you is: what is the best use of your time — making a cold call or cultivating a referral? Personally, I’m a referral guy.
4.5 The controversy rages on.
I welcome your questions, ideas, and challenges — please send them to me so I can help you and others get better. Go to www.gitomer.com — go to SALES HELP, select the appropriate section and fire away. Go there now.Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte–based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333–1112 or e–mail to email@example.com