Stop cold calling and watch business heat up

May 21, 2012
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I am sick of the argument cold calling still has a valuable place in selling. Someone please show me the value.

Let’s look at the stats:

• 98 percent or more rejection rate.

• 100 percent interruption of the prospect.

• 100 percent they already know what you’re selling.

• 100 percent they already have what you’re selling.

• 100 percent manipulation to get through to the decision maker.

• 100 percent lack of personal preparation about the customer.

• Most sales managers could not do what they ask their sales people to do.

• Rejection is the biggest cause of sales personnel turnover.

• Ask any salesperson if they’d rather have 100 cold calls or one referral.

• Cold calls suck.

Question: With these horrid stats, why do sales managers insist on — even measure — cold call activity and numbers?

Answer: I have no earthly idea.

Here are 12.5 real world connection strategies to eliminate cold calling. These are not no brainers. They’re brainers. They’re ideas and strategies that require smart, hard-working people to turn the strategies into money:

1. Build relationships and earn referrals. Visit existing customers. Offer ideas and help.

2. Use LinkedIn to make new connections. Use the keyword search feature to uncover prospects you never knew existed. Then connect without using the standard LinkedIn wording. Be original.

3. Ask your informal network of connections to recommend customers. Building and maintaining local and industry specific relationships are critical to building your success. Pinpoint people who respect and admire your ability, the same way you respect and admire theirs.

4. Network face-to-face at the highest level possible. Not an after-hours cocktail party. Join high-level executive groups and get involved.

5. Join a business association, not a leads club. Someplace where owners gather.

6. Speak in public. All civic groups are eager to get a speaker for their weekly meeting. Be the speaker. If you give a value talk, a memorable talk, every member of the audience will want to connect. You’ll have the potential to gain 50 cold call connections each time you speak.

7. Speak at trade shows. Why not get praise for the great speech you gave at the conference every time someone walks by your booth, instead of trying to get them to putt a ball into a plastic cup.

8. Write an article. Nothing breeds attraction like the written word. I am a living example of what writing can do to change a career. Get in front of people who can say yes to you and become known as an expert.

9. Write an industry white paper. CEOs want to create great reputations, keep customers loyal, keep employees loyal, have no problems, maintain safety and make a profit. Write about how your industry does that, and everyone will want to read it (and meet with you). White paper or brochure? You tell me — which one gets you invited in the door? Which one earns you respect? Which one builds your reputation? And the ouch question: Which one are you using?

10. Give referrals. Yes, give referrals. What better way to gain respect, cosmic debt, word-of-mouth advertising and reputation? Warning: This requires hard work.

11. Send a once a week, value-based message to existing and prospective customers. For the past decade, my weekly e-mail magazine, Sales Caffeine, has been a major source of value to my customers and revenue to me. Where’s yours?

12. Contact current customers who aren’t using 100 percent of your product line. You have gold in your own backyard. No cold call needed. Call existing customers and get more of their business.

12.5. Reconnect with lost customers. This little used strategy will net you more results than any cold call campaign on the planet. It takes courage to connect, but once you discover why you lost them, you can create strategies to recover the account — often more than 50 percent of the time.

Cold call time challenge: What is your real use of time making futile cold calls? That’s a number you do not want to see. And how much of your use of time is a waste of time. You don’t want to see this number either.

Gotta make cold calls? Boss making you cold call? Here’s the strategy for making a transition: Allocate your time. If you have to make 50 cold calls a week, allocate enough time to connect with 50 existing or lost customers in the same week. And ask your boss to do both with you. Let him or her see the futility of making cold calls. Ask them to make 50 cold calls. My bet is they can’t or won’t.

Reality: Double your quota, double your sales numbers using the strategies above, and your boss won’t care one lick if you ever make another cold call. In fact, they’ll be asking you how you did it.

Jeffrey Gitomer’s website, www.gitomer.com, has more information about training and seminars, or e-mail him at salesman@gitomer.com

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