There is a never-ending supply of charlatans that insist that cold calling is dead. They recommend a collection of other methods that they claim are more effective than cold calling called “Anything But Cold Calling.”
Who Are You Warming It Up For, Really?
These charlatans suggest that you need to make warm calls, a lie they tell you to make you more comfortable making the call and having little impact on the way you are received by your dream client; you either know how to create interest and value on the call or you do not.
Your dream client’s receptivity isn’t based on familiarity; your dream client’s receptivity is based on your ability to prove you can create value and that you are worth spending time with.
Sales 1.0 Still Trumps Sales 2.0
Some suggest that you use all of the new technologies to try to create the interest and create value without ever actually asking for a commitment. Instead, you are told to wait until your inbound marketing does the selling for you, so that you don’t sound like a salesperson. When your dream client is ready and open to your ideas, they will come to you. Fabulous!
There has to be advice that you could take that would have a greater detrimental effect on your sales results, but I can’t think of what it would be; waiting is perhaps the worst advice of all.
I am still anxiously awaiting some sales manager to show me the metric DWFCTCTU, or “days waiting for client to come to us.”
Referrals (or Anything Else)
Then there are referrals. Instead of calling the dream clients for whom you can create value, you are supposed to do a good enough job for your existing clients that you can ask them for referrals. From my experience, there are two problems with this strategy.
First, the same salespeople who don’t like cold calling are not typically any more comfortable asking their clients for referrals. They are even less comfortable asking their client to make the introduction calls for them.
Second, by making the referral, they are hoping that somebody validating their work means that they won’t have to differentiate themselves and create value on their own. This is no different that trying to warm up the call in any of the other methods I have written about; you are really warming it up for you.
The salespeople I know and work with that ask for referrals are also the salespeople that have no trouble picking up the call and asking for appointments on their own.
The Sad Myth of Mutual Exclusivity
The truth is that prospecting methods are not, never were, and never will be mutually exclusive. Never!
Should you ask for referrals? Yes!
Should you try to make your calls warm by developing some awareness? Yes!
Should you use all of the Sales 2.0 technological enablers to develop awareness and relationships? Yes!
Should you attend the trade shows and conferences that your dream clients attend? Yes!
And, should you make cold calls to your dream clients to obtain the commitments you need to produce results? Yes! Yes! Yes!
The myth of mutual exclusivity suggests that you can choose only one method to the exclusion of all others. This is not true, and it removes the possibility that you will reach your dream client through their preferred method. I have personally won a very large client using LinkedIn, because that is the method he preferred to be communicated with. But this doesn’t mean LinkedIn is always the right and preferred method.
Every prospecting method works sometimes, for some dream clients (as long as it is done effectively). The idea that one is always better than the others is nonsense.
The idea of making these calls warmer is really more about making you, the salesperson, more comfortable and more confident. But real confidence is gained by facing what makes you uncomfortable until it no longer makes you uncomfortable. Real confidence is gained by gaining mastery at the endeavor that you are pursuing.
Instead of “Anything But Cold Calling,” make your prospecting efforts “Everything, including cold calling.” And don’t worry about warming it up.
- Why are some salespeople resistant to cold calling?
- Think of the best salesperson you know. Got it? How good are they on the telephone? How comfortable are they? How confident are they? Ask them how they acquired their five biggest accounts. Go ahead . . . I’ll be waiting right here.
- Who does the idea that cold calling is dead appeal to and why does it appeal to them? Are there any prospecting methods that produce results without real effort and competency?
- Who does the idea that clients will come to you if you do not try to sell to them appeal to? Why does this idea appeal to them? How does waiting affect your sales results? Does waiting reduce the time it takes for you to win a deal? Does waiting increase the average size of the opportunities you acquire?
- Do all of your dream clients want to be approached the same way? Are some more receptive based upon the method that is used to approach them? How much of their receptivity is based on the prospecting method employed and how much is based on your ability to prove you can create value?
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Filed under: Sales