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How to Cold Call With Precision

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Author’s note: I posted the “Precision Cold Calling” first and second call scripts at www.billgood.com/coldcalling. If you don’t understand words like “cherry,” “greenie” and a few others, visit the page. The cold calling resources there are deep … and free.

Most of the cold calling done in this industry could be called “mass cold calling.”

You buy a list of homeowners not on the DNC list, or a list of small business owners.

You come up with a script.

You either try to sell something, get an appointment or offer some information with a promise to call back.

You make 60 dials an hour, average 2–3 leads an hour, religiously call back your leads.

Done properly and consistently, you can build a business.

It’s tough. You have to have all your stats in the “cold calling success zone” for it to work.

There is another way.

Precision cold calling.

Defining Precision

Precision cold calling is:

  • A list of people likely to have a strong interest in something. This something is investment related and you can provide important information about it.

  • A script that offers people on the list what they are likely to be interested in.

  • A packet of information that fulfills the promise of the script AND establishes credibility for the caller.

  • A second call script that more deeply qualifies and sets an appointment with a minimum of one out of 10 of last year’s leads.

  • A drip system that continually reminds prospects who do not set an appointment that your offer still stands.

There are more pieces to this puzzle. But you get the idea.

Case Study

About a year ago, I took a “pro bono” desperation call.

An FA in Northern C.—let’s call him Bob—was in deep trouble. His revenue was hovering about $300K, and if it slipped, he would go in the “penalty box” and see his payout cut to 20%.

He said his cold calling was not working.

I did a quick physical exam.

Q: Who are you calling?

A: I have the corporate directory of XYZ (a major high tech company). I can look out my window and see them. There are 5,000 highly compensated engineers, executives and sales people right there.

Q: What’s your script?

A: I’m offering retirement planning.

Q: How many leads are you generating an hour?

A: One or two leads every couple of days.

Q: How long have you been doing this?

A: Several months.

I immediately explained “Basic Mistake No. 1”—get a bad idea and stick to it. “That campaign is over,” I said.

I then explained the process of “precision cold calling,” and we agreed that the employees of XYZ could be very interested in their company stock. And they could also be very interested in the menu choices on their 401(k).

Q: Does your firm have a research analyst that follows XYZ stock.

A: Yes.

Q: Can you get the menu choices on the 401(k)?

A: Yes.

Q: Can you produce some kind of report on each menu choice?

A: Yes. I’m a subscriber to Dorsey Wright (technical analysis database) and I can create a sample portfolio. It will give me a score on each fund choice.

“OK,” I said. “Let’s try something. You put together that report.”

We worked out a script. The “offer” was (and is):

“Would it be OK with you if I emailed you a FREE report on the funds in your 401(k), as well as a bit of information about me and my team?”

(This is just a tiny piece of the script. Get both first and second call scripts at my cold calling resource page.)

OK. How simple is that? Here are the stats. I’ll let Bob tell you the story.

Bob: In the last 12 months, I have brought in $7.4 million, all from cold calling.

The cold calling strategy worked pretty well but my close-ratio was, and is, still rather low. As far as prospecting, I believe the help you gave me has been tremendous. My problem still has been getting prospects to the second meeting. Haven’t changed the script much since the last time we spoke, but I have tried two different offers with wildly different results.

Since January of 2015 (my stats prior to that were not precise or consistent):

The first offer I used was our latest research in their company stock:

Red Cherries per hour: 2.2

Greenies per hour: 1.3

The second offer was the script we developed: a research report on the funds in their 401(k) Plan:

Red Cherries per hour: 3.6

Greenies per hour: 4.4

BG Comment: Very, very few people generate 3.6 cherries per hour. It’s almost impossible to hit these numbers with mass cold calling.

Bob: Number of red cherries to hot prospect: 6.5 (which I don’t think is very good). The main problem I have is getting red cherries back on the phone after the initial call. If I am able to get them back on the phone, it is about 3–1 ratio of cherries to hot prospect.

I was able to get out of the penalty box. But I only brought in $7.4M in the last twelve months, however I wasn’t very consistent towards the last half of 2014, and quite a few things fell through the cracks and there’s plenty I am still working on.

BG Comment: You have to stay the course. This number will improve over the next two years. By dripping on the people who expressed an interest, by religiously cycling through your prospect list every 90 days, you will build an identity. Right now, it’s all cold. These are not bad stats. If you had not lost your momentum last year, these stats would be better.

Bob: To help ramp things up I have hired a cold caller. He is currently getting 3 cherries per hour and calls for 2 hours a day. I am calling another 1–2 hours a day and getting about 3–7 cherries in that time.

Here is my current plan/goals

42 Cherries per week

7 Hot prospects per week

2 White hot prospects per week

2 New clients per month

That’s been about the average the last three months. I know there is something of a leak in the system somewhere and am currently working on a new first meeting process and will let you know the results.

My biggest challenges thus far are:

Getting cherries back on the phone.

Getting hot prospects to not only agree to a 2nd meeting, but to provide statements (major problem). Losing about 1 white-hot prospect per week. 3 out of 7 is a world of difference vs. 2 out of 7.

It was really good to hear from you and would love to stay in touch with you. Thanks again.

Why It Works

Short term: It’s a process to discover what a tightly defined group is interested in. If you are not quickly moving into three-plus cherries an hour, there’s something wrong with your offer, your script, your list, or more likely, you sound like you are sucking a lemon.

Longer term: Optimally, you have selected a list on which word of mouth can occur. As you develop clients within a company, profession or trade, you will develop references who can help vouch for you.

Long term: You can, and should, become an expert on every aspect of the niche you are prospecting. Just speaking the language brings immense credibility.