My thought is that you have to think of cold calling, networking, and marketing as an orchestra. All these activities must be done in a coordinated fashion in order to maximize the benefit. That means not just cold calling and networking, but social media, e-newsletters, and the website are all tools to generate qualified leads. However, what I have noticed is most small companies do not have the bandwidth for all the activities, or they do what is most comfortable with the least expense. For the moment, let’s just stick to Cold Calling and Networking. Maybe they are the drums and the guitar fo the orchestra.
COLD CALLING without having some connection to the prospect can be incredibly frustrating to a sales person. I have read one statistic that said if you get 1 appointment in 25 calls, you are doing well. Figure that one can make 25 calls in about 2 hours, that may not be bad, but most people go nuts doing it.
NETWORKING is definitely more fun. You are face to face with people, but not necessarily prospects. However, consider the time that can be wasted. In the 2 hours to get one appointment with a prospect via cold calling, one probably spends 4 hours networking, with the remote possibility of referring you. Of course, your chances of selling are much greater, if you are referred by a reliable source. No doubt. However, many fplks cannot justify the time it takes to get that referral through networking.
Personally, there is no reason in the world why a call should be made completely cold. The first thing is NOT the value that you bring, but the Connection to the prospect. When going to a networking event, just don’t ask for the connection or the referral, try and get to what problems, pains, or fears a prospect may have. Your company’s proclaimed value, may not have value to a prospect. Focus on the issue. How can one bring value when they do not know the situation, and the problems os the business and person.
So, the easiest road to “Getting in the Door” is when there has been a combination of Cold Calling with targeted Networking. How does that work?
What if, you went on a Networking event, and just asked if anybody knew someone from specific companies. What if, instead of just asking for a referral, you asked what was the specific issue that the referral faces. What if, instead of waiting for them to introduce you in some half ass way, and you just took the inititive to call. Maybe the process for the now tepid call would go something like this.
1. Introduce yourself in an e-mail through a referal, and tell them you will be calling at a specific time. Make sure to put in a read receipt. This also helps to mention to the gatekeeper, that you said you would be calling at this time. Also mention that you know their time is valuable, so in preparation and could you please think about … …….., and what is important to you, Mr. Prospect.
2. Hopefully before calling you have done some research ont the person. Any information that will connect you personally with the prospect is helpful. Some accomplishment he/she had, a common organization, or anything else which ties you to the person.
3. After the little chit-chat, say something like “Having done some research, I think my service can be of value to you, but if you do not mind, I have a couple of questions first. One is situational, and one goes right to the possible pain, or problem. This will be the critical point to know whether they are worth talking too, and if you have the potential to do business with them.
3. Do not come up with an immediate answer. Tell them you would like to do a little more homework and set up an appointment to explore the issue further. Give specific times when you are available to meet. Make sure to tell them that you are NOT expecting a sale at this appointment.
What do you think? Give me your thoughts.
By Allan Himmelstein
Allan Himmelstein is President of Sales Coach AZ, which specializes in developing customized, highly effective sales processes for individuals and companies. Mr. Himmelstein’s core belief is that we are all Accidental Salespeople, and if we want to, we can improve our basic skills. His style is to take a strategic approach, utilizing a company’s unique strengths and core values to build a highly effective sales process that maximizes results. Mr. Himmelstein has a proven track record as a top-level executive for increasing business revenues and profit growth in competitive markets. His extensive business management experience includes the start up of an international company, which grew to $40,000,000 in nine years. He has held C level positions in Fortune 500 companies, including serving as VP of Sales and Marketing for ConAgra. Learn more at: www.salescoachaz.wordpress.com