Tele-frikken-marketers are the plague of the sales industry…
Seeming to have a knack for dialing in at the most perfectly impossible times.
Or maybe that’s just one of the latest sales hacks I’ve yet to learn.
But I can tell you this…
For the longest time I hated cold calling.
So when I started my agency, I didn’t do it.
Telling myself I was above that, there were “better” things to spend my time on.
What I was missing though was quite important, because cold calling is an incredible technique when it’s done right.
And I should know, I spent several months in University working sales on the phones.
My Sink or Swim Intro to Cold Calling
I thought I’d be a natural on the phones, I was a confident kid.
From speeches to presentations, I nailed it (at least in my head).
But on the phones, it was just a bit too scripted.
I’d rattle off the pitch like a hyperactive mumble-rapper…
Even if the caller on the other end of the line could understand me, there was no chance to get a word in edgewise.
Eventually, through sheer numbers alone, I started making sales.
I slowed down a bit too, once the nerves wore off.
And my sales figures started growing, but it was a grind.
The Pain of Being a Telemarketer
Sure, people talk about fears and doubts when you’re cold calling.
Those who were scared of getting on a call, because they were sick of getting rejected.
The others, who didn’t like being a salesperson in the first place, and hesitated instead of pushing for the close.
For me though, the hardest part was the sheer volume.
I’d speak to more than 100 people in a four-hour shift.
In the following months I clocked over 10,000 calls (I remember this, it excited me at the time).
But I hated it.
Falling asleep with sales scripts still running through my head.
Losing my voice after being on the phone on back-to-back double-shifts.
And being so worn out from the constant barrage of selling all I wanted to do when I got home was curl up in my bed and ignore the world.
So, understandably, I decided to throw in the towel, and declare cold calling to be the devil.
Realizing I Needed to Start Dialing
More that ten years down the line I’d come full circle.
Perhaps cold calling wasn’t the devil.
I’d just been to a Wolf of Wall St event in Bangkok, re-watched the movie and was pumped.
And as I looked at a list of strategies to drum up some new clients, it was right there.
Get back on the phones.
But I knew I’d never be able to grind out hundreds of calls a day.
That would be madness, so I decided to start small.
Here’s how I did it.
(HINT: If I can do this, you’ve got no excuse)
Reigniting a Passion for the Phones.
For starters, I set a simple goal.
A covenant with myself if you like (yep, that stuck with me from Yes Man too, though the book was far more awesome than the movie).
Make three calls a day, and make 15 calls a week.
I’d spend 15-20 minutes on this a day, and regroup after a month to see the results.
It wasn’t pretty at first.
I didn’t have a clear script, and I struggled through the calls.
I’d just kind of wing it, and it ended up being awkward more often than not.
My Skype credits kept running out, once it happened mid-call which was a nightmare…
After a couple of weeks, no wins or even any decent leads, I’d all but given up.
I stopped selling.
But not one to give up a promise to myself, (and risk the consequences), I kept calling.
But instead of trying in vain to make a pitch, I started asking questions.
I got genuinely interested in what they were doing, and working on…
- I asked them about their business.
- I asked them about their website, and the results they had seen.
- I asked them about their struggles, and what help they were looking for.
And where I could, I offered my thoughts, giving value with no strings attached.
You can imagine my surprise when a client I was on the line with told me to send him a quote.
He wanted a new website, and I was the guy to do it.
I started getting real business out of these calls.
It was a damn good feeling.
Looking back, here’s what I learnt:
- Don’t try to make a sale AT ALL, just focus on giving some value.
- Don’t get caught up on the failures, my goal was only ever number of calls.
- Don’t overthink it, it’s just a phone call for Christ’s sake.
SNEAK PEEK: My Cold Call Process
At the highest level this does look rather simple, but it works.
Plain and simple.
But often, it’s not the technique that’s missing, it’s just us getting started.
Picking up the phone and making some calls.
Here’s what my process quickly started to look like…
OVERALL GOAL: Get the client to agree to a 30 minute “free website consultation”
(The idea here is to demonstrate value and build trust without trying to make a sale).
STEP 1: Research the prospect and the website
(The idea here is to find 2-3 quick wins you can share on the call. Maybe the above the fold copy needs to be reworked, or there’s no CTA in sight, the contact details are missing or whatever it is. You want to demonstrate the value you bring, no strings attached).
STEP 2: Find an angle that connects you two
(The idea here is to turn a cold prospect into a warm lead. I actually searched prospects that I had something in common with, be it we recently attended the same conference, have a mutual connection, or whatever it is. You want to demonstrate you’re not a volume caller, this is a personalized call).
STEP 3: Pick up the phone and call…
Me: Hey there, this is Travis from Studio Digita, is this [prospect name]?
Client: Yep that’s me…(cut in here, not rudely, but just to take charge of the call)
Me: Wicked, now I won’t take more than a minute of your time, but…
…I saw your booth at XYZ Convention…
…I saw you pop into my feed after [mutual friend] did SOMETHING…
…I saw your pitch at “some industry event”…
And when I took a look at your website, I noticed a couple of quick wins.
Things you could fix FREE, and I just wanted to reach out and give you a heads up.
Have you got a few minutes now, or would you prefer I shoot these over on email?
From here, there’s three outcomes.
- Sorry not interested. That’s cool, accept the “no” and move to your next call.
- They’re busy to talk, but have confirmed to send the details on email.
- They’re keen to hear me out right away, so I run them through what I think.
No matter what happens, be courteous, energetic, and remember to mind your P’s and Q’s (say please and thank you).
If they are headed down path number 2 or 3, I also normally ask if they’d like to connect on social media, they say yep, and we’re done for now.
All up, one of these calls takes just a few minutes.
The magic to all of this is the follow up, you want to build a relationship, and position yourself as the “helpful expert”
THAT MEANS NO HARD, PUSHY SALES NONSENSE.
Keep it light.
Connect with them on social media, maybe comment on a few of their posts and try to stay “top-of-mind” for the next couple of weeks.
If I read something about their industry I’ll flick it through to them.
Once you’ve connected 4 or 5 times, this is when you say something like…
“Hey, so I was thinking. We found a couple of quick wins the last time I looked at your site, do you think there’d be a value to jump on say a 30 minute call to go over it in depth, and see what other improvements there may be?”
I found almost 70 percent of people at this stage are interested to hear more.
Then it’s on you to use the call to demonstrate even more value, start learning about their pain points, and oh I don’t know, perhaps start positioning yourself for the sale, as the handy expert who can fix all of these problems for them, taking the weight right off their shoulders?
BAM. Sales done.
Just remember, the key to becoming a cold calling beast isn’t quantity, it’s quality.
Take the time to prepare for your calls, properly screen every prospect and ensure they fit your target client.
Then it’s just a matter of picking up the phone, to start dialing.
You’ll be surprised the impact a few new relationships with the right people can make on your bottom line.