In offering this list of cold calling truths, I am assuming you have a basic knowledge of lead classification and pipeline management. For more on those, I have posted a webinar “Patch Your Pipeline/Grow Your Business.” Anyone doing any kind of prospecting should watch this webinar. It’s here: www.billgood.com/pipeline.
1. Skillful cold calling works today—in some markets, not all.
2. Sloppy, poorly conceived, badly scripted cold calling doesn’t work in any market.
3. The markets in which it does not work are highly resistive. Spend an afternoon cold calling doctors. You’ll see what I mean.
4. There are many causes for failure. Toward the top of the list is “pit polishing.” You still continue to talk and talk and talk long after it’s clear that the person is not interested.
5. It generally takes less than a minute to find out if someone might be a prospect.
6. If you are making long-winded calls, you are pit polishing.
7. In calling businesses today, you need to be making 50–70 calls per hour. There are not enough cherries out there to make less.
8. It should take fewer than 500 calls to determine if a campaign is not working. It can take some weeks to verify that the leads generated do in fact close.
9. “Working” is defined as 2–3 “red cherry” prospects per hour with a decent number of them opening accounts within three months.
10. The biggest mistake rookies make is get a bad idea and stick to it. For years, I have referred to this as “Basic Mistake No. 1.” I recently rescued a rookie who had been using the same tired scripts for a year. Yet he persisted. This mistake has destroyed more rookies in this industry than anything I know.
11. Basic Mistake No. 2: Get a good idea and change it.
12. The easier a list is to get, the more advisors have it, the less likely it is to be any good.
13. A good list is any list that will generate 2–3 red cherries an hour.
14. At least half of the success in cold calling depends on the list. Another 50% depends upon the script. And the remaining 50% is numbers, sound, time of day, pacing, momentum and energy. Yes, I know these don’t add up, but you get the idea.
15. Very few people invest more than a phone call to a list broker to generate the list that will account for half of their success.
16. A list that you develop yourself will almost always out-produce a purchased list.
Bad to Worse
17. Of all the things that can go wrong with a campaign, a bad script is most common.
18. The “worst script award” always goes to: “I’m calling to introduce myself and let you know blah blah blah.”
19. The second worst script goes straight for the appointment, often apologizing first: “Mr. Loblaw, I hope I didn’t catch you at a bad time. I specialize in helping my clients plan for retirement and other life events. I’m going to be in your area next Tuesday. I have a spot at 2 o’clock and another one at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Which of those would be better for you?”