About Jennifer Standish: Jennifer Standish is the author of Permission Granted: Live Your Life Full of Joy and Peace, a book in which she shares 91 self-limiting beliefs that, as a result of being raised by a narcissistic mother and an enabling father, she learned growing up and realized as an adult that she needed to change to be happy. She is also the Founder and President of Give Yourself Permission, which helps women create new rules for their lives, so they can overcome limiting attitudes that prevent them from achieving career success and finding happiness. Before becoming a transformational coach, she founded Prospecting Works, a successful business that assists salespeople in overcoming cold-call reluctance. Check out the latest episode of our Conversational Selling podcast to learn more about Jennifer.
In this episode, Nancy and Jennifer discuss the following:
- Cold Calling: why people hate making and receiving cold calls.
- Being a step ahead in the conversation weaponed with a script.
- Jennifer’s authentic warm and fuzzy approach to cold calling.
- How mental discipline helps overcome NO and move forward to Yes.
- Why people drift from the best practices to where they are most comfortable?
- How you say is sometimes more important than What you say.
- Start your conversation with honesty and it’ll reward you with an appointment.
- Tips on contacting C-suite executives and remaining confident.
- If you’re calling the right people and have a great delivery and a reasonable script they’re going to take your call and you’re going to get an appointment.
- You must believe in what you’re calling about to your core, and you must believe that you’re helping people.
- NO is not a forever NO. Moreover, it is never personal.
- Cold calling can actually be fun, and you can enjoy it!
“Let’s look at it like it’s a Hollywood script. Actors are memorizing scripts and they memorize them to the degree that when they speak to them, it sounds authentic. That’s what you need to do. You maintain control of the conversation because over time it becomes very predictable what people are going to say. Stick to the same script. Don’t reinvent it every single call. Say the same thing over and over again. And you’ll be able to predict what people say in response, and then you’ll be able to then craft your responses accordingly. So, it really makes your life so much easier if you know what you’re going to say ahead of time.” – JENNIFER
“Your delivery I think is 80% of it. If you’re confident and you believe in what you’re saying, even with a mediocre script, you’re still going to schedule appointments. You have somebody with a very weak delivery and an amazing script, that person’s not going to have any success because, in cold calling, our voice communicates so much more than the words that we’re saying. And so, when you don’t have a face and you don’t have facial inspections and body language, all those little nuances in somebody’s voice become incredibly important. And so, people follow confidence.” – JENNIFER
“So be confident in what you’re communicating and realize that you’re really only selling the meeting. You’re not selling a $3 million insurance policy, right? You’re just selling the meeting. You’re just asking for an introduction. And if you approach this with confidence, I mean, young, eager people, whether you’re a financial advisor or you’re a commercial insurance or whatever, where age might be seen as an advantage. You know, people still follow confidence and people will work with a young producer who’s eager in building a book because they know they’re going to get outstanding client service. So, I say, call, ask for the appointment. It’s an introductory call. You’re not asking them to like hand you a ton of money. You’re just asking for time.” – JENNIFER
Connect with Jennifer Standish:
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferstandish/
- Give Yourself Permission: https://www.jenniferstandish.com/
Try Our Proven, 3-Step System, Guaranteeing Accountability and Transparency that Drives RESULTS by clicking on this link: https://oneofakindsales.com/call-center-in-a-box/
Connect with Nancy Calabrese:
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/oneofakindsales
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/One-Of-A-Kind-Sales-304978633264832/
- Website: https://oneofakindsales.com
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- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ncalabrese/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Voiceover: You’re listening to The Conversational Selling Podcast with Nancy Calabrese.
Nancy Calabrese: Hi everyone, it’s Nancy Calabrese and it’s time again for Conversational Selling, the podcast where sales leaders and business experts share what’s going on in sales and marketing today and it always starts with the human conversation. Today we’re speaking with Jennifer Standish, a transformation coach with a strong background in cold calling and helping salespeople overcome call reluctance. In fact, she was the president of Prospecting Works, a cold -calling consultancy that designed outbound calling programs for clients. Her warm and fuzzy approach to cold calling is extremely effective and appeals to women, introverts, and those who don’t want to appear salesy. And in addition, Jennifer helps women in corporate America get the… formal and financial recognition they deserve by overcoming self-limiting beliefs, building confidence, reducing fear and anxiety, changing their image in the eyes of management, advocating for themselves, and finally, transforming their relationship and communication skills. Now this is a topic so close to my heart, everyone. Welcome to the show, Jennifer. Let’s get started. [1:33]
Jennifer Standish: Yes, absolutely, this is going to be great.
Nancy Calabrese: So, you know, obviously the question to start with is, why do so many people hate cold calling? What’s your opinion on that?
Jennifer Standish: Well, it depends. Are you asking about the people who are receiving the cold calls or are you asking about the people who are making them?
Nancy Calabrese: Great question! I would say both.
Jennifer Standish: Because yes. So, the people that don’t like making cold calls, what I have found in working in the cold calling arena for 20-30 years is that call reluctance stems from self-limiting beliefs regarding what we were taught as children, that we are not to interrupt, we are not to be a pest, we need to be “don’t speak until spoken to”. So, it’s a lot of really childhood foundational rules that get in the way. And many times, my clients, when I give them permission to call a business during business hours to discuss business, very often that’s all they need. Because it’s like, this is how business gets done, you know, is by calling and having conversations. So, you’re allowed to do this. Now the people who are receiving the cold calls, the reason why they don’t like the cold calls is because the cold callers most often are not doing their homework. And they’re just calling too many people, they’re not focused. I always tell people, if you’re calling the right people and have a great delivery and, you know, a reasonable script they’re going to take their call and you’re going to get an appointment. But most people aren’t calling with integrity and they’re calling way too many people and what they’re saying is something generic and so they are annoying. [3:20]
Nancy Calabrese: Well, you know, it’s funny. We very much believe in scripting and or talk tracks. Some people don’t like the word scripts, but by having a script, what you’re doing is you’re honing your skills each and every time you make the call so that you don’t sound scripted, and you sound different and professional. What are your thoughts on that?
Jennifer Standish: I agree. I say, let’s look at it like, you know, it’s a Hollywood script. I mean, actors are memorizing scripts and they memorize them to the degree that when they speak to them, it sounds authentic. That’s what you need to do. And what it helps is, but you maintain the control of the conversation because you know that over time, you know, it’s very predictable what people are going to say. Stick to the same script. Don’t reinvent it every single call. Say the same thing over and over again. And you’ll be able to predict what people say in response, and then you’ll be able to then craft your responses accordingly. So, it really makes your life so much easier if you know what you’re going to say ahead of time. [4:33]
Nancy Calabrese: You know, it’s so funny you say that every time I onboard a new employee, I use that example of an actor or an actress who is your favorite one. And now you’re becoming that person. You’re just handed a script that you’re going to have to study to give the performance. And, and I think it’s a good way for them to understand, you know, the value and the benefit of the script. Okay, so another thing I wanted to talk to you about is you said you have a warm and fuzzy approach to cold calling. What is that?
Jennifer Standish: So, my approach is based on authenticity. You must believe in what you’re calling about to your core, and you must believe that you’re helping people. Then you must have integrity. You’ve got to really do your homework and make sure that you’re calling only your very, very, very best prospects. You’re not calling everyone under the sun. You’re approaching it from a willingness to help. You’re not approaching it to sell anything. And I only set or what I teach is introductory appointments because it lowers the barriers. If you’re calling and you are implying that you’re going to ask them to make a business decision, well then, the walls go up and say, well, the person is like, I’m not prepared to make a business decision. But it’s so much easier if you just say, I just want a simple introduce myself. So that way, sometime down the line, you may need me or… you may be in a bind, and you need a backup resource. So, you know, that to me is, considering what else is out there, all the other approaches to me, it is very warm and fuzzy. [6:23]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah. You know, again, I think that when I think of warm and fuzzy, one thing that we do each and every week is we train and we recognize that this is a NO business, and we never take it personally, right? You just got to keep going and keep going. And ultimately, you’re going to get to that YES.
Jennifer Standish: Yes, absolutely. And even the NOes eventually do come around. There was somebody on LinkedIn who works for a cold calling software company, and they said that they did a study about all the times that it was either a neutral response or a negative response. And when you followed up with those people, there was just like this huge uptick in engagement. And it was like, because when you hear No, it’s really “no, not now”. It’s not NO forever. And so, it is never personal. And this is the thing that happens with cold callers who don’t have control over their own thoughts is when we’re calling people and we’re getting lots of voicemails and we’re not hearing back, it’s so easy to fill in the blanks. You know, oh, they’re not interested. They don’t want to hear from me. But you have to have a lot of mental discipline and not fill in the blanks because you really don’t know why they’re not calling you back. And they may be interested at some point, but now is not the time. So, you just move on. [7:57]
Nancy Calabrese: Huh. You mentioned earlier also, you believe that cold calling training doesn’t stick. Why does that happen? Or some of it doesn’t stick.
Jennifer Standish: Some of it doesn’t, well, I think that there’s drift and people, they will always drift to where they are most comfortable, which is why ongoing training, you can never stop and you always must bring people back to best practices, back to their script. There was somebody that I was working with recently who, I don’t know why he did this, but it was, he, he said, and I work for, and then he named the company. And I don’t know why he needed that little phrase, but it was near impossible to get him to stop saying it. And he would do well for, you know, a couple days and then he would drift back. And so, I think that it’s just human nature that we go to where we’re most comfortable and people will drift away from best practices or the scripts that they’ve been given. [9:08]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, you know, every time I think about picking up the phone, I think about an opportunity to build a relationship, right? Communication is so critical in sales and using in our world, using our voice and having the right mindset, you know, gives us an advantage, right? We become those actors. Why? would say our voices and our mindset be even more important than the script.
Jennifer Standish: Well, delivery, your delivery I think is 80% of it. If you’re confident and you believe in what you’re saying, even with a mediocre script, you’re still going to set schedule appointments. You have somebody with a very weak delivery and an amazing script, that person’s not going to have any success because in cold calling, our voice communicates so much more than the words that we’re saying. Right? And so, people, when you don’t have a face and you don’t have facial inspections and body language, all those little nuances in somebody’s voice become incredibly important. And so, people follow confidence. If you… I one time was years and years and years ago, I was calling and setting appointments for bank executives. Somebody picked up the phone. I wasn’t expecting them to pick up the phone. And I don’t know why I said, but I was like, we’re a great bank. And it was ridiculous. It was like, I’m like, oh my God, I can’t believe. But he scheduled the appointment and he’s like, I want to meet with a great bank. And he told the banker, I don’t know who you had calling for you, but she was amazing. Now I look at that as like, oh no, that was a mistake. I shouldn’t have said it, but it was said with such honesty. And confident, right? And so delivery is always going to be the biggest thing. You have to have the right place. [11:14]
Nancy Calabrese: You know, several of my people will say right up front, you know, this is a cold call, and if you’d like to hang up on me, I understand. And they almost invariably say, no, no, no, no, go on. They appreciate the humor and the honesty.
Jennifer Standish: Yes. Oh, absolutely. There’s also a technique where people will say, hey, can I just grab a couple seconds to tell you why I’m calling and then you can decide how we proceed. It’s almost like it’s asking for permission. And for a lot of people that have call reluctance, that’s a nice way to go because once you receive permission to talk, then the anxiety lessens and then you’re like, okay, well now I’ve got 20, 30 seconds to say what I want to say and they’re listening.
Nancy Calabrese: We chatted before our podcast about executives and how C-suite executives will take cold calls, right?
Jennifer Standish: Yes. [12:08]
Nancy Calabrese: And a lot of people, I guess, have the call reluctance to speak to them. What advice do you give to those that may be intimidated by contacting a C-suite executive?
Jennifer Standish: So, if they’re intimidated, and this also, this often happens in commercial insurance, where you’ve got a young commercial insurance producer and they’re calling Presidents or CEOs of big companies, and they’re inevitably, the people who they’re calling are their father’s age or their grandfather’s age. And so, they feel like they don’t have the authority. And so, I tell people, I was like, listen, you do this day in and day out. You know more about your business than these Presidents and CEOs do because they don’t do it all day long. They run their business. [12:54]
Nancy Calabrese: Right.
Jennifer Standish: So be confident in what you’re communicating. Realize that you’re really only selling the meeting. You’re not selling a $3 million insurance policy, right? You’re just selling the meeting. You’re just asking for an introduction. And if you approach this with confidence, I mean, young, eager people, whether you’re a financial advisor or you’re a commercial insurance or whatever, where age might be seen as an advantage. You know, people still follow confidence and people will work with a young producer who’s eager in building a book because they know they’re going to get outstanding client service. So, I say, call, ask for the appointment. It’s an introductory call. You’re not asking them to like hand you a ton of money. You’re just asking for time.
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah. Another thing that we pay attention to, and perhaps some salespeople aren’t aware of this, but the purpose of a cold call is to schedule the appointment, not to go into cell mode. What do you have to say about that? [14:00]
Jennifer Standish: I agree 100%. And that it’s really, you’re trying to get an appointment, you’re not trying to sell. You’re not trying to close any deals. That’s not what this is about. And I think the people who do approach it that way, where they’ll say, you don’t want to explore the opportunity of working together, want to see if you have any needs that we can help. It’s like, oh, you are just, you’re burdening your call with so much. Like, no, back yourself up. And just make it an introduction before the end of the appointment. Then when you have the appointment, then you build rapport, and then you are given the permission to sell. But in a cold call, you don’t have permission to sell.
Nancy Calabrese: Right. Why, I think simply, Jennifer, if you go into cell mode in a first-time conversation, you really don’t have an opportunity to do the research and properly prepare for a lengthier discussion. Would you agree with that?
Jennifer Standish: I would, oh, absolutely, absolutely. A lot of times my students will ask, well, what if they’re available right then and there? And I was like, okay, well, unless you’re calling truckers or people who are on the road in, you know, can’t hold, I always, always say, you know, now is not a really good time for me. I don’t have enough time to do this. Let’s schedule at a later date so that you do have the appropriate. Do the research. You really, and I also, when I’m in a cold calling mode, I just want to make calls. I don’t want to then switch modes and have an in-depth conversation with somebody. I’m not prepared. So, you’re doing yourself a disservice as well as the prospect of disservice. [15:43]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah. What would be your recommendation to everyone listening? How many calls should they make or how much time should they spend in cold call prospecting every day?
Jennifer Standish: It really depends on where you are in your business. If you’re a new business, 80% of your time should be spent setting a point. But if you are in a mature business where you’ve got a lot of repeat clients, a repeat business, you probably don’t have to be prospecting as much. But I think it depends really on the industry and where you are.
Nancy Calabrese: So tell me something that you know is true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Jennifer Standish: That cold calling can actually be fun, and you can enjoy it. And you can enjoy it. And I’ve had great conversations with people, and I’ve become good friends with people who have cold called me and, or I have cold called. And so, I tell everyone, take every single cold call that comes your way. I wrote an article year ago about like the seven reasons why an executive should take a cold call. A lot of it has to do with, nobody else is qualified to vet that call other than you. A lot of it has to do with karma. If your people are cold calling, well then you want your prospects to take calls, then you should take all the calls that come to you.
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah.
Jennifer Standish: I also think you never really know who’s on the other end and it could be somebody that could transform your business. [17:23]
Nancy Calabrese: It’s all relationship building, you know? And I’m looking and we’re almost up with time, but I had a call today with a gentleman who was contacted by one of my people. And I had spoken with him a couple of years ago and long story short, we’re speaking again next week. And he was very complimentary of my caller. Now there’s nothing like hearing that, in this business, right?
Jennifer Standish: Yes, and I will tell you.
Nancy Calabrese: There’s so much churn and burn and you need to just approach it, I think, with the smile on your face, the level of confidence that you speak of, and the rest will come into play.
Jennifer Standish: I time and time again, I tell people, people thank me for calling them. People thank me for reaching out. Thank you for thinking of me. I really appreciate it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that from a prospect. [18:23]
Nancy Calabrese: It’s rewarding.
Jennifer Standish: It is. It is. It’s an amazing reward.
Nancy Calabrese: So, listen, how can my people find you?
Jennifer Standish: LinkedIn is the best place to get me. Um, I have all my contact information. I even give you my phone number and I encourage people to call because I take all the calls. But LinkedIn, Jennifer Standish, I’m right there. You’ll, you know, reach out, schedule a meeting. Um, I work with companies. I design outbound calling programs. I work with individuals. Uh, I am a leadership.
Nancy Calabrese: All right.
Jennifer Standish: Career coach.
Nancy Calabrese: Well, you know, every first of all, Jennifer, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to speak with you. You’re some friendly competition. And I suggest strongly if you like what Jennifer had to say, reach out to her. She’s a fascinating lady. We didn’t even get into some of her interesting stories. And I hope that you’ll come back on the show sometime soon.
Jennifer Standish: I’d be delighted. I’d be delighted.
Nancy Calabrese: Okay, everyone make it a great sales day and when you’re done listening to this, pick up the phone. See you next time. [19:34]