On this week’s episode of Conversational Selling, we speak with special guest, Wendy Weiss. Wendy is a speaker, sales trainer, and coach, known as the Queen of Cold Calling, and is recognized as a leading authority in lead generation, cold calling, and new business development. She helps her clients speed up their sales cycle, reach more prospects directly, and generate more sales revenue. She is also the author of several books, including Cold Calling for Women and The Sales Winner’s Handbook.

Wendy says, “Eight months ago, it was possible to walk into a business and have a conversation. There were all sorts of channels that people could use to reach out to prospects, then get in their car and go see them, but none of that is possible right now. The phone is really the one avenue that we have. It’s direct, it’s personal, and it makes a human to human connection that you don’t get in an email or a Facebook ad.”

We chat about the importance of cold calling during the pandemic, as well as:

  • The performance model and how it affects sales
  • Learning to avoid creating objections
  • The 3X Appointments Program
  • Micro-targeting
  • And more

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:



Nancy Calabrese: Hi, everybody, it’s Nancy Calabrese. And this is Conversational Selling. It’s the podcast where sales leaders and business experts share what’s going on in sales and marketing today. And it all starts with the human conversation. I am so excited. We’re going to have an amazing show today because Joining me is Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling. She’s an author, speaker, sales trainer, sales coach, she’s recognized as one of the leading authorities on lead generation cold calling, which of course, is music to my ears and new business development. She helps clients speed up their sales cycle, reach more prospects directly and generate more sales revenue. She’s the author of several books, including Cold Calling for Women, again, resonates with me, and The Sales Winner’s Handbook. We’ve actually had the privilege of working for Wendy and it’s been terrific. You know, Wendy, we have so much in common and I can’t wait for my audience to listen to all your tips and expertise. Welcome to the show. Well, thank you for inviting me, Nancy. I’m happy to be here.

We were saying earlier, it’s like two friends reconnecting. You know, I want to start with the obvious the new norm in selling, why has cold calling become even more critical in today’s world?

Wendy Weiss: Well, certainly six, eight months ago, it was possible to walk into a business and have a conversation. There were all sorts of channels that people could use to reach out to prospects. Maybe reach out on social media, reach out through email, and then get in your car and go see them. But none of that is possible right now.

And so, the phone is really the one avenue that we have. It’s direct. It’s personal, human being to human being connection, that you don’t get an email or a Facebook ad. It is talking to prospects and is actually the fastest path to cash.

Nancy: I’m with you all the way. You know. And we were speaking earlier about the performance model. What is it? And how does it help business?

Wendy: Well, let me thank you for asking that. Let me take a step back and say that I was never supposed to be The Queen of Cold Calling. I was not supposed to be a sales trainer. I was supposed to be a ballerina. My first career was dancing in a ballet company. And I pretty much believed that everything I know in life I learned in ballet class. And I use a performance model to talk about prospecting. And the performance model is warm-up, rehearse, perform.

If you’re a ballet dancer, before class or rehearsal or performance, you always have to warm up so that you don’t hurt yourself. If you are a sales professional and you’re prospecting, you need to warm up, you need to do the things you need to do to get set up so that you don’t hurt yourself. If you are a ballet dancer, you don’t just run out on stage and start dancing. You have been rehearsing for months. And rehearsing, doing something over and over again, it gives you that automatic muscle memory that you stop thinking you just execute. And if you are a sales professional and you are prospecting, you need the muscle memory, you need to practice that’s why sales trainers love role-playing. Because since practice, and you practice until you get that automatic muscle memory that just kicks in and you can do what you need to do. And then you perform your warm-up you rehearse, then you perform you that’s when you actually get on the phone and you start prospecting. The problem is that most people just start with performance. They don’t do the warm-up, they don’t rehearse, they just get on the phone. And then things go badly.

Nancy: Yep, you know, I hear it time and time again. You and I both know that there are many organizations out there that don’t really view practicing as a way to sharpen the skills of the sales staff, right? I think it needs to be an ongoing process doesn’t matter how young they are in sales, or how experienced they are, we all need to sharpen our skills. And you know, you talk about muscle memory. We were joking before about scripts, and why it’s so important to sales success. Maybe you can explain that in a little more detail.

Wendy: Absolutely. I just wrote an article about this actually. And because I had a conversation with a business owner about a week ago, who said he doesn’t believe in letting his sales team use sales scripts. And what he actually said was, he doesn’t believe in canned scripts. And I’d actually have to agree with them. I don’t believe in canned scripts either. But it and it’s funny to me, because a lot of people when you say the word script, a lot of business owners, a lot of sales professionals assume that means that you’re going to say the same thing over and over again, no matter what the other person says to you.

Nancy: Right!

Wendy: And that you’re Hello, sir. Or madam, may I have a moment of your time? That’s not a script? Let’s be clear, that’s not a script. A script is if you think before you speak, and if you are prepared, you know, the points that you want to make, you know, what’s relevant, you know, what’s going to get your prospects attention. And you know how you’re going to ask for that appointment. You’re not winging it because winging it doesn’t work. Right. And rather than making you inauthentic using a script, because you are prepared that enables you to be the best self that you can possibly be the best view.

Nancy: Yep. You know, it’s funny. When I think of scripts, I think of that as this is going to ground me and my team. Right. So you have it in you’re head, it’s your muscle memory. I think the real work in sales come when you have to deal with the objections. Would you agree with that? No?

Wendy: Okay, what I think the real work comes in knowing what to say so you don’t hear the objections. Okay. Most people create the objections that they hear by what they’re saying.

Nancy: So give us an example.

Wendy: Sure, we have somebody in one of our programs right now. He’s in insurance. He’s a commercial producer. And his, his manager signed him up for the program–3X Appointments, it’s called, we teach prospecting. And so he wasn’t happy about it. And he said to me, I don’t have a problem getting appointments, I get a lot of appointments.

He said, My problem is the underwriters, because every time I take something to the underwriters, the pricing is too high, and I don’t get the client. So I don’t have any problem at all with prospecting. I have a problem with the underwriters. And I said to him, okay, what do you say when you’re prospecting and you get a business owner on the phone? What do you say to them? What he’s saying to them is, I’d like to see if I could save you some money on your insurance. So right, he is creating, he knows if the underwriters are always high, he knows he can’t save the money on their insurance. So he has to find something else to talk about. And so we in our 3X Appointments Program, we’re taking him through that process to develop a script that’s going to resonate, get him the appointment and not cause him a problem down the line when he’s trying to close.

Nancy: It’s a great example. I want to talk well since we’re talking about 3X Appointments. It’s really interesting, everyone. Wendy and I go back to 2014 when this program was called Prospect Mastery, I sat in and greatly benefited from it. So maybe you can tell the audience what the program is about in more detail.

Wendy: Absolutely. Yes, we used to call the program, Prospecting Mastery, and we rebranded about a year ago, simply because people that do this program, if they’re already doing business development, and they follow this system, typically their numbers triple. And so what I mean by that is that the number of qualified appointments, they’re able to schedule triples, and then force it depends on the sales cycle, but because they’re more appointments and they’re actually qualified appointments, then down the line, there’s a corresponding increase in revenue. So the 3X Appointments Program is a skills training and coaching program and we do it online. So we’re maintaining social distance, but we do it live. So we work with the people that are in the program, they learn a very step by step process, what to do, what to say how to say it, and we work with them on that introductory script so that they can get a yes, instead of worrying about objections.

Nancy: That’s great. How long is the program?

Wendy: The program is it’s most people do it in three months, but we actually give people six months of coaching. So if they need more time to go through the program, we give them six months.

Nancy: For anybody out there that is struggling with appointment setting, I really encourage you to reach out to Wendy after the program, and she’ll give us her contact information. So that we can find it, it was awesome for my team. And we saw the growth internally here, you will do the same if you follow the skills training, and stick with it. So I’m really glad that I did it. And we were formally introduced. So that’s been great for me. I also would like you to reference your lead magnet, can you share with us what that’s about?

Wendy: Sure, I want to offer to all of our listeners, my Business Owners Guide to Scheduling More Qualified Appointments When Their Prospects are All Completely Freaking Out. And I wrote this guide because our situation today is different than it was six months or a year ago. And so many people say to me, and they tell me how stuck their prospects are, their prospects are freaking out. Yeah. And so this, this guide is 12 easy steps to finding more sales opportunities today. And so I wrote it to just adjust for what’s going on now. Yeah, and I invite to you’re gonna post a link. Underneath this,  near the interview that people can just download it.

Nancy: Very good. Yeah. And I’m looking forward to getting my hands on that as well. You know, we, you and I spoke about and we always speak about why people resist or hate cold calling. I don’t get it, you don’t get it? What do you think it is?

Wendy: Well, the idea of cold calling has been very demonized over the years. And people say such stupid things about this particular topic. People say cold calling is about going through the nose and the hang-ups until somebody says yes to you. Well, I mean, who wants to do that? I don’t want to do that. And they say, well, it’s about dialing the phone hundreds of times every day until, you know, till you get a person. And I don’t think that was ever a great strategy, that it really only worked when a lot of people answered their phones, which they’re not today. And they say things like, Well, everybody hates cold calling. And you know, prospecting sucks, get over it.

And so if that’s your starting point, if that’s what you have heard all of your life or all of your, you know, professional life, of course, you’re not going to be excited about doing cold calling, even the name cold calling, possibly sounds scary. I prefer to think of this as introductory calling. You’re calling to introduce yourself. You’re calling to introduce your company, your product, your service, it’s an introduction, and you have to look at it as an introduction. It’s not Hi, give me your credit card right now. “Fire our vendor hire me,” that’s not what we’re doing. We’re calling to introduce ourselves. So if you look at it as an introduction, there are a lot of ways that you can meet people in your life, meet prospects, this happens to be one of them, and it’s very powerful when it’s done well.

Nancy: Yeah. Why is it so cost-efficient?

Wendy: Well, it’s only cost-efficient, when it’s targeted and well done. So you know what the another one of the dumb things people say about cold calling is you’re gonna open up the phonebook and start calling people well that’s just stupid calling.

Nancy: You know, we hear that introduction calling is stupid calling.

Wendy: You know, we, we teach in our 3X Appointments Program to micro-target, to have a very narrow focus. Because when you have that narrow focus one, it’s easier to find the people that you want to talk to. And then it’s easier to create the messaging that’s going to resonate with that particular market. So you might have different, you know, several different micro targets, that’s fine. But the idea is not if you can’t say the same thing to everyone. Because every, if you’re in different markets, they might have different issues. And you have to speak to their issues.

Nancy: Right. You know, speaking of what you mentioned, narrow focus, I think there’s also a misunderstanding many people I speak to feel they have to have thousands and thousands of leads to effectively prospect, what are your thoughts on that? As it relates to cold calling?

Wendy: Right? Well, you don’t need thousands and thousands of leads, you need a good micro-targeted list. All of the research shows that it takes somewhere between eight to 12 touches to get someone to respond. So we usually start with eight touches and track. So then you know, do you need more touches? Can you do fewer touches? And here’s another dumb thing that people say. They say it’s a numbers game, meaning that it’s dialed, it’s on hundreds of times every day. And eventually, you’ll get somebody that will say yes to you.

The real numbers game is about conversion. If you’re playing the old numbers game, dial the phone hundreds of times every day with your fingers crossed, then you probably do need thousands of leads. If you’re playing today’s numbers game, which is about conversion, converting your dials into conversations with the right person, that’s a skill, and then converting those conversations with the right person into a qualified appointment. That’s also a skill. So the real numbers game is about conversion. And if you’ve got the conversion, you don’t need thousands of leads, because you’re converting.

Nancy: Last question. And then more or fewer questions as it relates to conversion? I am often asked, well, what’s the acceptable conversion ratio? I believe it varies from industry to industry. But you have any thoughts on that?

Wendy: Yeah, I mean, first of all, it really does vary from industry to industry. And it depends on what the target is within the market. I mean, if you’re calling CEOs, that’s going to be a much lower conversion number than calling mid-level managers, let’s say, but an average across all industries is 15% of dials into conversations with the right person. And then 20% of those conversations, one out of five into appointments. Now, if you’re calling CEOs that dials into conversations could be 3% or 5%. Right? The conversion of the conversations into appointments and is where the skill and the messaging of the scripts come in. That we’ve had people doing 50%. That’s a skill.

Nancy: Yeah. Wow. You know, we could go on forever. But unfortunately, we can’t. I want to ask you, what do you want to leave the audience with? If they had one takeaway, what would it be?

Wendy: Well, the one takeaway that I’d like to leave our audience with is no matter where you find a lead because salespeople like to divide the world into warm leads and cold leads. I don’t actually believe there’s any such thing as a warm lead. I believe that’s a construct that salespeople have made up.

Nancy: I totally agree with you.

Wendy: Because here’s the thing, if you have somebody that fills out a form on your website and ask for a phone call, and you call them up and they don’t know who you are, or they deny they have any other interest at all, and you’re looking at the form they filled out on your website, doesn’t matter that they filled out the form on your website, that they’re opening all your emails, you reach out to them, they have no idea what you’re talking about, doesn’t matter that they’re opening your emails.

So the better idea is to learn the communication skill so that you can pick up the phone and talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime, and get that appointment or get that agreement to the next step in your process. And that’s the skill.

Nancy: Yep. People take advantage of her expertise. And her skill training. It works. Wendy, how can my people find you?

Wendy: Well, you could give me a call because I’m a phone person. Our phone number is 866-220-4242. And if you get voicemail, I’ll call you back. Leave me a message. You can go to our website, which is coldcallingresults.com. You can also download my free gift The Business Owners Guide to Scheduling More Qualified Appointments When Their Prospects Are All Completely Freaking Out. And that will also put you in touch with me. You can also email our Director of Operations Kim Storz and that would be Kim@WendyWeiss.com. There are a lot of ways you can reach me.

Nancy: Okay. Well, I so enjoyed speaking with you. I know I’m speaking on behalf of my audience. Thank you so much Wendy and you’ve got to come back.

Wendy: Anytime Nancy, say the word. All right. Everyone out there. Make it a great day.