How Does Cold Calling Differ Across Industries?

How Does Cold Calling Differ Across Industries?

I am often asked if there are different Cold Calling tactics for different Industries. The answer is, yes, we may modify our script slightly to provide industry specific examples or wording but actually, the biggest difference is in how much TIME it takes for the prospects to ‘convert’ to a qualified appointment.  

Cold calling is cold calling no matter what industry you are calling. It is simply a discovery call. Your goal, across industries, is to engage a stranger, whom you have determined to be a decision maker, in meaningful conversation.  

If you are going after SMB’s (small and midsized businesses) you are more likely to reach a decision maker sooner, as a small business owner is just more likely to take a call. 

Typically, the larger the company, the longer it takes to reach that decision maker. When you have to navigate through multiple layers of gatekeepers, it slows the process. 

It may also take a bit longer if the industry is oversaturated, like it is with IT providers, financial advisors, insurance providers and some others. With those, you may also face built up resistance and fatigue which can slow you down. As with all calls, PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE are your best tactics!  

This isn’t a ‘one and done’ process 

And remember, no matter which industry you are working in, cold calling is never a ‘one and done’ process. Making the calls is KEY – without those calls, you will never set any appointments – but you must also have a FOLLOW-UP plan in place if you want those appointments to convert to sales. Building RELATIONSHIPS for the LONG TERM requires a process to follow-up with those new prospects. Salespeople that have this ‘long game’ mindset and a plan to follow-up, will succeed. They know that they need to not only make the connection but to NURTURE it. They establish trust and STAY in touch on a regular basis so they stay top of mind.  

It may take a bit longer to reach decision makers in certain industries but across the board, what really matters is that you have the patience and persistence to make, and then nurture, those connections so they convert to appointments and sales! 

Do you need help connecting with decision makers? Assistance with follow-up? Our Call Center in a Box provides you with the training, management and monitoring YOU need to succeed in Cold Calling. Give us a call TODAY at 908.879.2911 to learn more!

ENVISION Your Success

ENVISION Your Success

Back in 2008, during the Summer Olympics in Beijing, Michael Phelps was on fire! He had won 8 gold medals and was still swimming strong. Then, during the 200 meter Butterfly competition he had what you might call a ‘wardrobe malfunction’.  

As he dove in to begin the race, his goggles slowly began filling with water. “I dove in and they filled up with water, and it got worse and worse during the race,” Phelps told reporters after event. “From the 150-meter wall to the finish, I couldn’t see the wall. I was just hoping I was winning.”  

How would YOU do if you were essentially ‘blind’ for three quarters of one of the most important performances of your career? As it turned out, Phelps did just fine – actually MORE than fine – he went on to not only WIN the race but broke the world’s record!  

Those of us who watched the race hadn’t even NOTICED that anything was wrong! He had continued swimming hard and fast just like he always did. Reporters were astonished. How had he done it? 

It seems that before every race, Michael Phelps closes his eyes and ENVISIONS the entire race – every stroke, from the dive in to touching the wall at the finish. He counts the strokes, envisioning them as perfect and sees, in his mind’s eye, a mental version of a ‘perfect race’. 

So when he needed to perform without being able to actually SEE the wall, he KNEW how many strokes he had to make!  

How can this help YOU perform at YOUR very best?  

Make sure that YOU can envision the ‘perfect’ call – how will it go? What will YOU say? What will THEY say? How many ‘strokes’ or ‘volleys’ will it take to make it through the call?  

Prepare by MEMORIZING your script – internalize it so you are comfortable enough to deliver it, with feeling, even with your eyes closed!  

While a wardrobe malfunction really shouldn’t slow you down on a phone call, do ensure that your tech is up to speed. Check your phone, make sure you have your notes up on your computer and that you have your script memorized – yes, I know I mentioned that already but it is important enough to repeat! 

And here are a few past posts that can also help you prepare yourself to succeed, no matter WHAT surprises you may face! 

If YOU need help with crafting an effective script, learning new skills and/or with feedback and suggestions for improving your delivery, give me a call at 908.879.2911 – we can help get YOU to YOUR ‘perfect race’! 

Here is How I Kept MY 2019 Resolution

Here is How I Kept MY 2019 Resolution

This is the season when many of us make resolutions and set goals for the coming year. Here is a personal story of how I made and KEPT my 2019 resolution and how the tactics I used can help YOU be a better salesperson in 2020. 

Last year, I make a commitment to lose weight. Me and LOT of other people! This is frequently one of the top five, if not the number one resolution made. But rather than be one of those people who heads to the gym diligently for a week or two in January, only to abandon it completely by March, I was determined to achieve my goal. I made a commitment to myself to double down and do whatever I needed to do.  

Tactic one: Make a commitment to DO it 

I decided to go on the Keto diet. This was the most popular diet of 2019 and I had read about and knew of people who had quickly and easily lost weight on this plan. The diet allows a lot of protein and vegetables, which I already enjoyed and cut out sugar which I knew I wouldn’t miss too much. 

Tactic two: Make a PLAN 

The Keto diet works by restricting your intake of carbohydrates. A typical eating plan will usually include between 225 – 325 grams of carbs per day. On the Keto diet, they suggest you aim for 20! That is pretty drastic and I realized that while I could FORCE myself to do this for a short period of time, to really make this work, I needed a more realistic goal. I chose to shoot for 50 grams a day as my target. 

Tactic three: Make sure your plan is REALISTIC and that it is something you can stick with.  

I was worried that I would miss potatoes but I jumped in anyway. Fortunately, the protein filled me up and while I might have LIKED a french fry every now and then, I did not crave them and found that I WAS satisfied with the food type and quantity. 

Tactic four: Don’t assume how it will go – jump in and give it a chance! 

And you can always re-group. I didn’t need to, but if we are applying this to another scenario, especially cold calling, keep in mind that it is not failing if you choose to re-group, examine the plan and adjust it accordingly! 

Tactic five: Re-evaluate and revise the plan as needed.  

Since I was not doing the fully restricted version, I did not expect the pounds to be rolling off. I knew I would not have the dramatic results that I had seen and read about but kept to my plan. I was persistent and remained committed to my goal.  

By the middle of the summer, people began to comment that I looked like I was losing weight and by the end of the year I lost 20 pounds!  

Tactic six: Make sure you are tracking YOUR progress and try not to compare your progress with that of others.  

I started new routines including walking my dogs twice a day. The diet and new routines became HABITS and were much easier to continue. 

Tactic seven: Integrate GOOD HABITS into your daily routine. Yes, starting a new habit can be hard but once it becomes routine, it will be much easier.  

By October, clothing was definitely feeling loose and I was looking and feeling much better! 

Tactic eight: Be ready for it to take a few months, or years, depending on YOUR goal. Be patient and appreciate the intermediate gains – or in my case, losses! 

It wasn’t always easy or fun but I KNEW I could do it and was committed. I would regularly remind myself WHY I was doing this.  

Tactic nine: Be sure that you have a good reason WHY you are doing this. Remind yourself of this on a regular basis to help you stay on track. 

By the end of the year I had more energy, felt great and I definitely planned to continue with my new, healthier routines. 

So, as this new year begins, make an investment in YOUR future. PLAN to make it a strong year and set some goals.  PUSH YOURSELF OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. Whether they are personal or professional, make sure the goals are realistic – not too high nor too low – and that they align with your passion. Don’t make someone else’s resolution – make your own and commit to it.   

Wishing you a strong 2020! 

If you would like some help with your Sales Skills, give me a call at 908.879.2911 or email me at Leads@OneofaKindSales.com  Our training programs will get you up to speed and give you the skills you need to succeed! 

2020 Sales Prospecting Planning Begins NOW!

2020 Sales Prospecting Planning Begins NOW!

Back in 2015, there was a lot of noise, much of it negative, around a comment made online that “You have the same number of hours in each day as Beyoncé”. The implication was, Beyoncé seems to be able to run the world with HER 24 hours and so should you! The gist of the negative narrative was, “Well, yes, but I don’t have a personal trainer, or household staff or a ton of money”.  

I mention this because, as we plan for 2020 – and Yes, you SHOULD be planning for 2020! – we all DO have only 24 hours in a day and we need to be sure that we are making the most of each one of them. Here are some tips on how to make the most of YOUR Sales Prospecting hours in 2020. 

First, let’s do the math: 

At 6 – 7 hrs of Sales Prospecting a day (most of us work longer days, you can increase it as needed) X 5 days a week (again, in an ideal world we aren’t all cranking on weekends) = 30 – 35 hrs a week X 50 weeks (hopefully you are taking SOME time off!) which leaves you with 1500 – 1750 hours a year of Sales Prospecting time.  

Here are some tips for making the most of YOUR Sales Prospecting hours: 

  • Commit to making calls EVERY DAY. Block out that time on your calendar and USE it – every day! Do NOT use this time to complete unrelated tasks. 
  • If your job entails more than calls, get THOSE activities on the calendar as well. Block out the live networking events, allocate time for digital networking on LinkedIn and other relevant platforms, plan the days when you will be knocking on doors and making presentations. By consciously ‘chunking’ out your days there will be less down time spent figuring out what you will do and when, making your Sales Prospecting hours more productive. 
  • Use a CRM specifically DESIGNED for outbound calling and lead generation, make sure you know how to use it properly and remember to USE it for ALL your Sales Prospecting.  
  • Be sure that you are working from a QUALIFIED LEAD list 
  • Develop, memorize and internalize a script with a compelling message. Practice it until you are comfortable and confident in your delivery. 
  • Have your toolbox filled with documents and cheat sheets so you are prepared to address and overcome objections. 
  • Have a plan. Work the plan. Commit to success! 

Here are tasks that WASTE Prospector’s time – AVOID these: 

  • Using an OUTDATED or OLD Call list is a HUGE WASTE of time! 
  • Answering email and/or engaging on Social Media during your dedicated Sales Prospecting Hours is a WASTE of valuable time. 
  • Extensive research is a waste of time. We have a 1 x 1 rule’ – spend a maximum of one-minute researching LinkedIn and the Prospect’s website before making the call. You need to know who you are speaking with and the industry they are in – nothing more. 
  • Don’t be distracted by colleagues during your Sales Prospecting time UNLESS it is related to making a sale! 
  • Spending time on the phone with influencers is unnecessary – focus directly on the decision makers! 

All of us will have the same number of Sales Prospecting hours in 2020. Many will waste their time on pointless or misdirected tasks. Some will work longer days and weeks to try to accomplish more. And some will work SMARTER, focusing on what matters most. How will YOU use YOUR Sales Prospecting time in 2020?  

If you need help getting YOUR Sales Prospecting team up to speed, give us a call – we train, manage and monitor YOUR inside sales team to ensure real results! Click HERE to learn more.

Is Cold Calling a Waste of Time?

Is Cold Calling a Waste of Time?

I am frequently asked, “is Cold Calling a waste of time?” Given that my business is to find and placetrain and manage Cold Callers and that we at One of a Kind Sales LOVE making Cold Calls, I can confidently say, “YES” – when done poorly, Cold Calling IS a waste of time! 

This may sound blasphemous – how can someone who LOVES Cold Calling, admit that it is a waste of time?! I am able to say this because I KNOW that it is true. I meet salespeople all the time who are wasting their time – and the time of their potential prospects – by using outdated scripts, poor techniques and/or ‘winging’ it. Too many people think that Cold Calling is just a matter of picking up the phone, dialing a number and chatting with, or worse yet, bullying the person on the other end into setting up an appointment. This could not be further from the truth! 

Cold Calling is an art and a science. There are proven techniques and approaches that you need to learn in order to be effective. And you must be able to LISTEN to, and empathize with, your prospect. Most people are NOT born with these skills but with training and guidance, they CAN be learned.  

Successful Cold Callers know:  

  • They need to be consistent, making calls daily. 
  • They need to be persistent – and know not to give up! 
  • Their KPI’s – their Key Performance Indicators (check out our post Are YOU Dialing Blindly for more on this). 
  • The VALUE of their work – they know that the appointments they set with qualified prospects lead to CLOSED SALES and a healthy bottom line. 

Cold Calling is NOT for the faint of heart. It is a hard, often harsh, business where you hear “No” way more than you hear “Yes’. But it is also a rewarding one! Cold Calling is an important and EFFECTIVE part of many business plans and well trained, accomplished Cold Callers are ALWAYS in demand.  

Are YOU wasting YOUR time Cold Calling without results? Give us a call at 908.879.2911, we can provide you with the training you need turn that around! And if you would like to HIRE one or more of our well-trained salespeople to fill your pipeline with qualified leads, give us a call. Our people are snatched up pretty quickly, so get on our list! 

So, is Cold Calling a Waste of Time? When done poorly, yes, it can be. But when done properly, by well-trained salespeople, Cold Calling can be one of your most powerful funnel filling tactics! Are you and your salespeople wasting YOUR time? 

Active Listening – it’s more than just ‘hearing’ what your prospect is saying!

Active Listening – it’s more than just ‘hearing’ what your prospect is saying!

At One of a Kind Sales, we spend a LOT of time training our people to ACTIVELY LISTEN. Picking up the phone and dialing MAY get you to the right person but actively listening is the real secret to setting qualified appointments and sales success! 

Can you hear me? 

A basic Cold Calling requirement is being able to HEAR the prospect. That means setting yourself up so there is no background noise or music to distract you and having a headset with adequate volume controls. Close all your extraneous browser windows and shut off your personal phone so you are not tempted to check email, texts or social media.  

It’s not just hearing them… 

ACTIVE listening involves more than just HEARING what your prospect is saying. It means UNDERSTANDING what is being said, and oftentimes, being able to hear and understand the UNSPOKEN context. Actively listening will enable you to ‘hear’ the prospect’s body language through the tone, volume and words they are using. It means noticing shifts in that tone or changes in the volume and then modulating your own tone and words in response. 

Active listening involves paying attention to what is said and using the prospect’s responses to formulate your own statements.  

Active listening tactics 

We recommend a number of tactics to do this: 

  • Paraphrasing – which is where you restate some of the prospects replies but in your own words.  
  • Summarizing – where you provide a summary of the process or discussion to give an overview and context. 
  • Clarification – where you restate and/or explain things to make sure you are all on the same page. ASK for clarification on a point or statement to keep the prospect talking about their issues. 
  • Reflection – where you reflect the prospect’s words back to them to help them understand what you are hearing. 

Note that ALL of the above require you to have HEARD not just the prospect’s words but the intentions behind those words. Pay attention, listen carefully and you will be rewarded with valuable insights and you will, more importantly, earn their trust! They can tell when you are listening and will appreciate that you have HEARD them.  

Resources 

Because we know that ACTIVE LISTENING is such an important skill, we have collected many useful resources on this topic. Here are a few articles and videos we think can help YOU improve YOUR active listening skills: