I used “I Love to Cold Call” to get your attention. Ninety-nine percent of the people who even glance at the title hate cold calling and would rather stand in a cold shower ripping up $100 bills than cold call. If that’s you, you need to read this article. If you like cold calling or can at least tolerate it, you most certainly should read it. It will make it a lot easier and perhaps even fun.
Does cold calling work today? You bet.
A long-time student of mine, Ric Lager (lagerco.com), e-mailed me:
“I am in my 25th year of cold-calling as the primary method of building my business. I can’t ever remember opening as many new advisory account relationships in such a short period of time as I have since last fall…
“With a little bit of pre-call research and a brief message targeted directly to the type of prospect I am looking for, my handful of hours on the phone each week has consistently given me seven to ten new accounts per month and at least $3 million to $4 million in new assets to manage.”
Is it more difficult than three or four years ago? No.
Is it more difficult than 10 years ago? Absolutely.
Key ingredients? A good list, lots of calls, upbeat professional sound, and a good script for sure.
This brings up a favor — one for you, and one for me.
For me: In a future issue of Research, I want to publish the best scripts of 2009. If you are doing any cold calling, I want you to send me a copy of your script. Go to www.billgood.com/coldcalling2009.
For you: Anyone who sends me a script will receive in return a booklet of all the good scripts I receive. I will publish some of these in a future article in Research.
To keep this article short and simple, I will ask myself some questions you have probably been wondering about:
What distinguishes one caller from another on that first call?
The first impression, which is created less by what you say, and more by how you sound.
If you were going to produce a 30-second radio commercial, you would know instinctively that the first few seconds make it or break it. Guess what? You have a commercial. It’s a bit longer than 30 seconds, but those first few seconds make or break it.
Sound boring? Sound like you’re sucking a lemon? That first impression will do you in every time. The correct sound is upbeat, positive and confident.
How should I allocate my time?
Allocate an hour or two a day of uninterrupted time for cold calling. You don’t take incoming calls. You don’t talk to clients. You don’t send text messages or answer your cell phone. Call it your “Cold Calling Power Block.” With cold calling you find prospects and stuff them in your pipeline.
Allocate a different block of time for your call-backs. During this “Pipeline Power Block,” you only make follow-up calls.
During my Cold Calling Power Block, how many calls an hour should I make?
About 40 an hour, with gusts up to 60. Don’t waste time leaving messages or taking call-back information.
If you are having trouble hitting 40, you are doing something else, such as making long-winded, bloated calls, or making notes on the computer after each call, or worse, trying to convert a cold call into a sales call.
What do you mean — trying to sell? Shouldn’t I be doing that?
Not even a little bit. Prospecting and selling are two different skills. They should not be mixed in the same time frame. When you’re prospecting, you are just looking for someone who is interested and qualified now. Ideally, prospecting and sales should be done by two different people.
What is the objective of a cold call?
To find a prospect who is interested and qualified right now. I have labeled this prospect a “cherry.” When you find one, you offer to send information, verify contact information, and move on. If you take a “big picture” view, we are using the telephone just like you might use direct mail. You send out bulk phone messages, pick off some responses, and then follow up on them.
How long does it take to find out if someone is a prospect?
It takes less than a minute to find out if someone is a cherry or a pit. When you get even a whiff of a pit, you utter the cry of the cherry picker, “Thankyouverymuch,” and disappear into the electronic haze of the telephone system.