Cold Calling Blues?

Just under a year ago, I bought a new car. Many of you may remember this as I mentioned a BMW dealer who showed a total lack of interest in my questions and enquiries. He effectively made my decision for me to buy from a different manufacturer. Anyway, I was reminded of this incident when I got this email from one of my readers…

We lease some cars for sales staff on contract hire.  Sales guy rings from the lease hire company and asks to be put through to me

“Hello Mr Smith.”
“Hi.”
“How’s the cars going?”
“Fine.”
“Good – give us a ring if you need anything.”
“OK . Bye.”

You would have thought with the state of the car market he could have a bit more to say!

2’nd call – this afternoon – I answer the phone – something I try and avoid.

“XYZ company, Joe Bloggs speaking.”
“Hello, can I speak to the head of marketing?”
“What’s it about?”
“Marketing.”
“No – he’s not taking sales calls.”
“Can I send an email?”
“No – Bye.”

Man – if he’d looked at our website my names there as the Director!

Idiot.

You’d like to think that these individuals were particularly bad wouldn’t you? Or maybe that they were just having a bad day. But that isn’t my experience of leasing companies… or of cold callers…

One of the biggest issues many of my sales training clients have is getting their sales teams doing the activity that they need to do to bring in enough opportunities to give them any chance of success. Helping businesses to improve motivation, increase lead generation activity and implement systems to support and improve their reach with new clients is a large part of my business but it’s not the only part…

You have to do it correctly too. Activity alone is not any good. There is no point repeating a totally ineffective cold call over and over again. As I am sure Mr. T might say, “Pity the poor busy fool!”

As a sales director, I used to get dozens of cold calls every day. Most did indeed go like this…

“Hello Gavin, how are you today?” (Ugggh!)
“Fine.”
“I’m calling from It’s All About Me Recruitment Specialists, are you looking to recruit any new salespeople at the moment?”
“No.”
“I have a really good guy I have just interviewed, can I tell you about him?”
“No.”
“Oh ok, bye.”

Pointless.

There’s no point cold calling your clients without thinking preparing first and then without bothering to find out what’s important to them. There’s no point going to networking events and then not following up correctly on the phone. There’s no point working to create a Web 2.0 presence to create new leads if you do nothing with them because you cannot structure your calls effectively.

For many companies, lead generation is something that they need to do more consistently but they also need to do it better. They need to be more effective, more structured and more professional. There is little point making more cold calls of the calibre of these unprepared and unprofessional fools above.

To be a successful cold caller you need to be focused, confident and prepared. You need the right structure and approach and you need to effectively warm your calls up so that they are relevant to your prospects. And then you need powerful questions that are all about them so that you can engage them and start a meaningful dialogue.

There is a huge difference between spam cold calling and legitimate new business calls. Which side of the equation are you on? What do your prospects and clients think of your calls?

When done well, cold calling is one of (the?) fastest and most effective route to gaining more new business leads. Critically, there are times when it would be incorrect to use cold calling and something else would be more effective… but there are also times when nothing will beat cold calling and when cold calling may be the only way to reach your target market.

One of my friends (and an ex-seminar delegate) and his team, set up 250+ appointments, closed tens of millions of business and took a major market share through the use of professionally targeted b2b cold calling in a very short period of time.

What areas of your cold calling do you need to focus on to win more sales right now? How can you improve your cold calling? How can you improve your approach to be more professional, more effective and more consistent?

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