Businesses that consider using call calling often ask questions about its effectiveness. At One of a Kind Sales, having made thousands of cold calls, we can attest to its effectiveness in generating leads. But I recently came across some statistics from the RAIN Group about how direct outreach, including cold calling, is regarded by business decision-makers. Their research showed that more than half of senior decision-makers prefer to be contacted by phone. When businesspeople are actually in the market for a solution, more than 71% of them say that they want a salesperson to reach out to them directly. And up to 50% of sales go to the “first mover” – the solution provider that reaches out first to the potential buyer.
Often, we hear salespeople complain that prospects don’t pick up the phone, but the statistics show that 67% or two-thirds of buyers have picked up the phone at least once for a new provider in the past year. Making a direct phone call to a prospect is regarded as the most effective tactic by almost one-third of salespeople and you’re more likely to get new business from this type of direct outreach than from an email campaign. Yet many salespeople who are tasked with lead generation don’t have specialized cold-calling skills.
For people who sell for a living and any business that has a sales objective, evaluating the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts is important. Because we have limited time those resources must be allocated effectively. We believe that a business should have multiple channels to generate leads – a mix of inbound and outbound methods. Our experience combined with the statistics regarding the perception of cold calling among decision-makers strongly suggests businesses should be using cold calling as one of the lead generation channels.
What’s important about these statistics is that they show that if you are calling a list of people that are likely to need your solution you have a strong likelihood of qualifying strong leads and converting them.
Do you wonder if Cold Calling would work for your business? If so, give us a call to find out. At One of a Kind Sales, cold calling is our specialty. We qualify leads and set up appointments for our clients so that their salespeople can go in a close new business. We also train sales teams to do cold calling and can ensure that you have the proper systems in place to maximize the impact of cold calling. Reach out to us at 908-879-2911.
When people think about cold calling, they envision an aggressive phone call in which the caller pressures the person on the other end of the line into making a purchase. To me, this is the worst example of cold calling. This is what gives cold calling a bad name. One thing they have right is that cold calling involves making a call to someone the caller does not know, but there is a great deal of difference between what professional cold callers do and that negative image.
My business, One of a Kind Sales, uses cold calling to qualify leads and set appointments. Generally, we work from a curated list of prospects that have been identified because of their specific role in a business. Our objective is to understand whether any of these prospects have a need for or an interest in a particular product or service. This is sharply differentiated from attempting to sell the solution. Often the selling process is handled by a different person who is a solution expert. In our process, which we’ve used successfully thousands of times, if the caller determines there is no need or no interest in the solution, we end the interaction on a positive note. However, if a lead is qualified, meaning that they have a need and an interest, our team sets up an appointment for the expert who will speak to the prospect about the solution.
These cold calling interactions also have the potential to generate referrals. For example, if a lead is not qualified, the caller may ask whether there is another business they might recommend that we speak to that may need the solution.
Beyond the objective of near-term sales, cold calling can be used in other ways:
Market research – Speaking to a potential prospect is an effective way to gauge interest in a new product or service and get a better understanding of market needs.
Competitive research – Talking to your ideal prospects can help you gain insight into competitive activities.
Education – When a product or service is complex, cold calling can be done to provide general information that will give the prospect a better understanding of the product. Sometimes this is done in anticipation of the launch of a new product or service.
No matter the objective, cold calling should always be thought of as a way to establish a positive relationship with a connection that would enable you to re-approach them as a “warm” contact at a future point in time. Well-trained professional cold callers are skilled in establishing rapport quickly, and they have a genuine interest in learning more about their prospects’ needs.
When thinking about cold calling, it’s time to leave behind that old stereotype of the-high-pressure phone call. Given the competitive marketplace and the proven utility of cold calling, we need to think strategically about all of the options in the sales toolbox and deploy them when and where they can have the greatest impact.
If you are wondering whether cold calling could be a good approach for your business give me a call at 908-879-2911 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of our bi-weekly Sandler training, we reviewed and discussed a video from Simon Sinek, leadership expert and author of several best-selling books, including Start with Why.
One of the key takeaways in our class was that when most businesses describe their mission, they describe ‘what’ they do and ‘how’ they do it, but they rarely touch on ‘why’ they do what they do. When we address our ‘why’ and our ‘how,’ we access the feeling part of our brain. As Simon Sinek described it, this is the limbic brain, the most ancient part of the brain – the part of the brain that controls our feelings, our behavior, and our decision-making. Speaking about ‘what’ we do does not address the most important part of the brain.
What does this mean for salespeople?
We know that prospects are motivated to purchase based on “pain.” The feeling part of the brain is moving them to take action (behavior) and ultimately, they will make a decision. When we share a mission that starts with our ‘why’ we’re already addressing the pain that our customers experience. We are, according to Sinek, “talking to the part of the brain that controls behavior.” Our ‘why’ becomes the hook that attracts a customer’s attention and brings them toward us.
Simon Sinek’s research led him to conclude that organizations that lead with their ‘why’ are best positioned for success in the marketplace because they speak to the portion of the brain that controls decision-making.
After our training, we looked closely at our mission statement and realized we also focused heavily on the ‘what,’ but not the ‘why.’ Our ‘what’ includes lead generation and sales training our ‘how’ is described as unique lead generation techniques with highly trained, highly motivated sales professionals. We decided to tweak our statement to incorporate a ‘why,’ and we believe this makes our mission statement stronger. Our revised mission statement is:
Our goal at One of a Kind Sales is to help businesses stop leaving money on the table. We do this by PROUDLY delivering unique lead generation by setting qualified appointments and providing top-of-the-line sales training for our clients and their employees.
If you’d like to explore opportunities to leverage our capabilities on behalf of your organization, we’d love to talk to you. Give us a call at 908-879-2911.
At One of a Kind Sales, I lead a team that does cold calling of prospects to set up initial meetings for our clients. Companies like ours often use one of two methods to accomplish this: either the ‘features and benefits’ approach or the consultative selling method. I have a strong preference for the consultative selling method.
‘Features and Benefits’ Selling Focuses on You
When you’re selling using the ‘features and benefits’ approach, you’re focusing attention on yourself and your offering. The core messaging centers on how the offering’s features will benefit the prospect. These kinds of conversations feel more like a hard sell, and I believe that they are perceived that way as well by the prospect. From the moment the conversation starts there’s little focus on understanding where the prospect fits in the equation. Because of this, features and benefits selling tends to lead to more immediate rejections.
When cold calling using the ‘features and benefits” approach the objective is normally to schedule 15 minutes with a prospect to talk to them in greater depth. But this is 15 minutes spent with a client that has not been qualified. I can’t image that anyone would think this is a good use of time. We also find that appointments arranged using the ‘features and benefits’ approach result in a high percentage of ‘no shows.’
Consultative Selling Centers on the Prospect’s Needs
In Consultative Selling, the prospect is the focus of the discussion. The discussion is about their needs and challenges with the objective of determining whether they are a fit for our solution. Then, and only then do we schedule an initial meeting. We request a 30-minute initial conversation. During that meeting we continue our conversation with the prospect about their specific situation. This approach fits with what we know about psychology of most buyers: it’s all about them, not about us. In our experience, the consultative selling approach has yielded higher quality initial meetings and an overall higher conversion rate.
If you’re in sales and you’re transitioning from a ‘features and benefits’ approach to consultative selling, you’ll end up sharpening your skills. Admittedly the transition may be somewhat uncomfortable because you are accustomed to talking about the offering right away. As salespeople, we are excited about what we are selling and have a natural desire to talk about it. But delaying this gratification and focusing on the prospect’s needs first results in a better qualified prospect. You’ll have a greater likelihood of being able to close a deal.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love to do cold calling. We also train inside sales teams to do cold calling. If you’d like to discuss how we can help move your business to the next level by increasing your sales opportunities reach out to us at 908-879-2911.
Even when you are on the top of your game, you will hear ‘NO’, many more times than you will hear ‘YES’ when prospecting. Here are some activity tracking tips to help you reach your prospecting goals, by staying motivated and on track.
If you know me at all, you know that I love a good challenge. And that I have never met a quota I didn’t want to meet or beat!
This has served me well as an entrepreneur and has certainly been a key component of my success. It keeps me prospecting, long after others have given up. But that doesn’t mean it is easy. Staying motivated and on track is always a challenge.
Here is a trick I use to keep myself motivated and to stay on track when prospecting.
I have a mini spreadsheet with my goals, that I set up every week. In the left hand column, I list all the activities I need to complete to meet my quota. The key for me, is to include my weekly goal for each one, in the next column.
Then I have columns for Monday through Friday where I input the progress I made each day on each task. The last column is the total, the actual number I completed that week.
The simple act of setting the goals each week and then updating them each day, motivates me to work harder to meet and exceed those numbers!
Why this works
You have probably heard the quote, ‘What you Measure, Improves’ or ‘What you Measure, Matters’. This isn’t a new concept but it’s one that has helped me, and the teams I work with, stay on track and really deliver!
Why this works for ME
For me, setting the goals focuses my attention and watching my progress is a real motivator. All of us have more to do than there are hours in the day. This process helps me prioritize the tasks and actions that ensure I succeed.
Try it yourself!
If this sounds like something that might work for you, click here for a free downloadable version of my ‘Workbook’, the mini spreadsheet I use to monitor and measure MY progress.
You don’t need to measure EVERYthing you do – actually, the whole point is to identify the KEY tasks that drive results and to focus on those.
Those will be YOUR Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and will differ from mine, based on your role, objectives and responsibilities. Modify your document to reflect your priorities.
Customize as needed
The weekly format works best for me but you can customize the spreadsheet to be monthly, to have each week in a month on a different sheet – you could even do it by day.
Don’t burn through your ROI!
As a colleague often says, don’t burn through your Return on Investment (ROI), monitoring and measuring your ROI.
Defining my goals at the start of the week, filling in my progress each day and totaling the results at the end of the week works well for me. Try these activity tracking tips to reach YOUR prospecting goals.
Experiment and adjust the timing to see what works for you.
Do you need help identifying the tasks YOU need to complete to achieve YOUR quota? Need help completing those tasks? Not sure of what to actually SAY on a call?
Give us a call at 908.879.2911 – we can get you and your team set up and ready for success!
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Good luck and keep dialing!