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September 19, 2005

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Ok, I have 1200 potential contacts in my database. That about as much as i am going to get from my mgmt. they all have phone numbers, addresses. 900 of these have emails. company sends email campaigns and provides to me reports of who opened, who clicked back to the site, and what page they visited.

My sales is all inside. I can go through this list of leads in roughly 2-3 weeks. decision makers are never there. voicemail and emails are used to build touchpoints. some call me back. some are in and accept my call, some say "never call back" etc.

I am 130% over quota for this yr. Uncapped total comp with bonus kickers. I make 22-30% on anything i bring in. If i buy you system/cd/book, how is it going to help me?

Actually, believe it or not, I got much better results from "knocking on doors" than I did on the phone back in the bad old days of cold calling. It's easier to get in front of the decision maker or to at least get the correct name in person than it is on the phone. The problem is that it's a very slow process and very tiring.

And to answer your question about webex, I too did most of my selling without meeting any customers once I figured this system out. Around 70% of my sales took place without ever meeting with a prospect, nor did I have to make any outbound calls either. It was all done through self-marketing. "Remote control" if you will.

And yes, I've gotten plenty of emails from people who have successfully applied this to inside sales.

Frank

I tend to agree and disagree. When i first found this site, "No cold calling ever again" sounded too good to be true. "Cold Call" to me means an outbound phone call, not a face to face 'knock knock' cold encounter. That would terrify me.

I have worked both inside and outside sales and prefer inside sales focus and a couple outside sales to mix it up. Even with outside sales we would never just knock around. We had accounts to grow and also wold schedule appts prior to leaving. Just showing up is flat rude and a waste of time.

For sales organizations that use Webex or remote meeting software, targeting non geo territories, how can any selling happen without some outbound introductory call?

Sure some days are bad. some days are great. Maybe i should just suck it up and buy the system and do a mixture of what i do now and what you all claim to know secretly.

I don't think there is 1 magic bullet to sales. ever transaction/sale/puchase is unique, unless you are selling a commodity.

Can someone please tell me if this system will benefit me at all for inside sales? BTW - i am a top rep at my company, i dont always hit my target for daily outbound phone calls but i do disqualify customers very quickly and try not to waste my time. but the hardest part is to get the web demo booked! We do email marketing and trade shows obviously. referals are great too.

but i just cant imagine a full day where i dont pick up the phone and start to dial outbound. it sounds almost science fiction to me.

Thx!

PS. look at a company like webex itself. it grew from 5 reps to 250 reps in the last 5 years! none of their reps meet even their largest customers face to face. they are using telesales and web based demos. how can an organization like this, never ever make a cold, outbound call?

Sorry if I upset you guys. I was only trying to say that to completely take a marketing approach out of your business development efforts, most likely because you're applying them wrong, would be a mistake. I still do mailers, PR, networking, etc., every single month.

Regarding your points above, Frank:
1) I should have been clearer in my point. I do mailings every month (I haven't given up), as part of a marketing plan. My point was this...the only people that respond to a mailer are those people who are 'in-the-market'. You're right...it would be ignorant of me to do 1 mailing, then give up. It's also ignorant to completely take cold calling out of your marketing plan because you think it doesn't work. It typically gets a bad rap & doesn't work because most reps are misleading and do it poorly.

2) Your dial-to-appointment ratio depends on your market and your approach...it has very little to do with your lead lists. Regarding "your market", if you were selling aircraft carriers, your numbers would be 10000:1. If you were selling something simple, it may be 2:1. So, by saying I'm at 15:1 doesn't necesarily mean I'm special. Regarding the 'approach', I'd suggest reading Schiffman's "Cold Calling Techniques" book, then read the section in Jeff Gitomer's "Little Red Book of Selling" on prospecting. Apply those techniques, including voice mails. My ratio was once 30:1. Now it's around 13:1. I get 20-35% of my voice mails returned.

3) Focus on selling the appointment when making a call, versus selling your product. It's much easier. Again, read Schiffman & Gitomer's books...they both can teach you effective ways to telephone market, selling appointments.

Again, I apologize if I wasn't clear.

Thanks,

TC

I sometimes get cold called. I actually enjoy receiving them. But I never buy. I just like hearing people trying to sell to me and their sales pitches. Some do much better than others. However, I'm not the norm and I know most executives will just block out cold callers and not give them the time of day. I agree with you, Frank. Cold calling IS a waste of time!

If you get one appointment for every 15 dials of the phone, I want to know your source for lists, because we keep very close metrics in our office and we don't have anywhere near those types of numbers. So I would say that your experience is very unusual. If you can secure an appointment with every fifteen dials then I understand you not wanting to spend any money on marketing. By our statistics (16 calls = 3 conversations and 13 Voicemails) you are basically getting an appointment one out of every 3 times you speak with somebody.

A few thoughts:

1. Mailing 1,200 brochures and giving up is not smart marketing. It's blind shotgunning, and such a small sample will not give you any indication of whether or not it's working.

2. Getting 1 in 15 appointments is completely unheard of. It only happens if you're warm calling a list of qualified leads, in which case you're not cold calling at all. If people actually got 1 in 15, no one would buy my books and I would have been out of business a long time ago.

3. You say people ignore efforts to market to them. How, then, can a cold call possibly work? A cold call is just another effort to market to someone. Since it statistically has the lowest returns, if they ignore marketing efforts, they're definitely going to ignore cold calls.

Your facts simply don't add up.

Frank

Todd,

You are forgetting a few things.

1. Your first mailing of 1200 brochures may have possibly been the first time your prospects had even heard of you. Remember, it takes a number of impressions before somebody even recognizes what it is your company does. We just started in a comletely new business area and our first mailing yielded 3 responses out of 3,000. One closed very quickly. The next mailing, a month and half later, yielded 7 responses. None closed so far but they are in the pipeline. The third mailing to the same 3000 yielded 18 responses. Not to mention, our follow up calls to these clients have benefitted us greatly with e-mail adresses, faxes, and conversations with decision makers. I do not call these follow up calls "cold calls," they are calls to people who in some instances have now received three correspondences from our company.

(After the first mailing the owner wanted to give up, I begged him to continue. Now with the last batch of responses I think he is sold.)

2. If you get one appointment for every 15 dials of the phone, I want to know your source for lists, because we keep very close metrics in our office and we don't have anywhere near those types of numbers. So I would say that your experience is very unusual. If you can secure an appointment with every fifteen dials then I understand you not wanting to spend any money on marketing. By our statistics (16 calls = 3 conversations and 13 Voicemails) you are basically getting an appointment one out of every 3 times you speak with somebody.

I really am having trouble agreeing with your point, which is mainly due to the fact that the blast on cold calling is so narrowly focused on the high percentage of salespeople cold calling the wrong way.

When I started my business, I had the good fortune of having a friend of mine design a beautiful mailer, who then also had 3,000 of them printed for me…at no cost. When they arrived at my office, I spent countless hours putting together a mailing list, printing labels & affixing the proper postage.

The results? 1200:1:0

I sent out 1,200 of them. After a few weeks, I received an email from a prospect resulting from one of the mailers. The email read:

“…please remove us from your mailing list.”

So often, what we have to sell can have a tremendous positive impact on our clients. However, unless they are ‘in-the-market’, they will ignore efforts to market to them. Just think of the last time you opened a direct-mail marketing piece from a credit card company, a mortgage broker or a bank. Can't remember, eh? Unless you're 'in-the-market' for a credit card, mortgage, or a new bank, you probably just tossed it. Who's to say that those companies couldn't save you money, time, etc.? You'll never know...

We need to find a way to communicate personally and directly with these clients. We must not be focused on finding the ‘pain’, because if they had ‘pain’, wouldn’t they be paying attention to these advertisements?

Instead, we need to focus on them; their environment, the way they ‘do’ business, and then show them how they might be able to do what they are currently doing BETTER.

So many telemarketers, approaching the process the wrong way, have given cold calling a bad name and reputation. The dialing-for-dollars reps that interrupt, trick & sell on the phone are the problem. If the call is done right, focusing on them & only selling the appointment, it’s truly the only way to control your own destiny and consistently open new doors to grow the business.

Nothing works every time, but if I pick up the phone, dial it 15 times in 1 hour, and get 1 new appointment, sure, that's a heavy failure rate, but that’s certainly better than the countless hours spent developing and executing advertising strategies and direct mail campaigns, right?

Don’t automatically ‘poo-poo’ the cold call. If it’s done professionally & properly, it’s quite possibly the most effective and efficient method of business development. It works for me, and I now have more appointments with clients who had never heard of me before I called than I can handle.

I use to be so stressed when it came to Cold calling. It came down to understanding the "why's" of it all.
If your mindset and attitude is to make a sale, forget it, you will never last, the rejection will kill you.

"It is our attitude at the beginning of a task which, more than anything else, will affect it's outcome."

William James

Just started my own blog on Customer Service, Telemarketing and Cold Calling you may want to keep an eye on.
http://buildingsales.blogspot.com/

Agreed,

So I get a job offer from X company the other day and part of the job description is aggressive cold calling.

I place a cold call into senior management at this organization (for fun) and the Executive assistant tells me none of the senior management accept cold calls. Hmmmmmmmmm, hang about, i just got offered a position with your company and part of the job is"aggressive cold calling" May I ask what that means please? You will have to talk to the VP of sales about that goodbye.

Go figure!!!!

I sent an email to Frank R. several months ago about a study completed in 1995. The results of this study, way back then found 80% of business executives will never accept a cold call.

Can you imagine the % now in 2005???

Personally, i have devised a way to achieve 75 - 95 %positive response rates with a sales and marketing program of my own without picking up the phone.

Maybe i'm just scared to cold call.(opinions vary) Not really, i'm just smart enought to not engage in an activity that realises upwards of 90% rejection rates.

I'm do busy dealing with all the inbound inquires from fortune 1000 CIO's wanting me to speak with them.(i do software sales by the way)

I quote a VM recently "Mr Madden i have no idea what your company does but becuase of your approach my chairman told me to call and speak with you about your products and services" A Top investment bank on wallstreet.

Let us gutless, scared, call reluctant, no inner fortitude,lazy sales people, carrying on playing the game without MINDLESS cold calling.(That is meant to be sarcastic BTW)

here's something for you" Cold calling works, as long as you are not trying to sell something"

I would love to discuss with anyone that takes a vested interest in their potential clients and not lower themselves to "catch them off guard tricks and techniques"

Here's to common sense, meaningful,and respectful sales engagements.

A "sales person" is in a wonderful position to trully benefit many people and make people's lifes easier and better.
This is the creed i took on and i owe this to myself and fellow sales professionals to conduct myself in an ethical and professional manner.

Anyone reading this , I wish you the best things life can offer you personally and professionaly.


Very,happy to discuss,

Kenny W. Madden
512 577 3799
kennymadden1973@yahoo.com



"90% return on cold calling" If it sounds too good to be true then .. you know the rest. I'm in agreement that anytime I read or hear a suggested technique that involves being dishonest, forget it! Integrity is in short enough supply in today's business world that we salespeople don't need to be party to spreading it.

Your comment on finding the little known prospect that the other salespeople have missed or overlooked is bang on. I put this kind of prospect on my A-list in part because they've often been unsullied by all those cold calling salespeople & so are more likely to be open to new ideas which I am then in position to present.

Rod

EXACTLY! If the company is worthwhile, why do they have to go out and beg for business? What you said is exactly what qualified prospects think when they get cold calls. It's why cold calls only get appointments with unqualified time-wasters who have nothing better to do.

I don't buy anything from a cold call - and I get lots of them - because as a business consultant I know firsthand that companies that do cold calling are in financial trouble.

Frank,

OK so this is completely off the subject but I just took the 'cold call from hell' it was from someone tring to sell me advertising space on a website www.ufindus.com. The call came accross and a desparate attempt to bully money of me. The irony is that apart from wasting his and my time, it REDUCED thier chances of getting my business to absolute zero because I assume if an organization has to cold call for trade they can't be much good (when was the last time TESCO or ASDA-WALMART cold called you?). Whereas if they'd been respectful of my time and sent out a postcard I know I would have at least checked out the website and their proposition as it is relevant to my job.

Leon

Frank,

I hear you on this one. I have ordered some of the "new way to cold call" courses on the internet and this is what it was all about, this kind of deceit along with things like calling and asking for "Mark Powers" then when they say there is no Mark Powers you say "Oh then who handles that?" It's all a bunch of crap, your course is spot on and I'm very happy with your techniques.

Tom

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