I recently heard something that made my head explode – not because I’ve never heard it before, but because of the source.
I met up with a friend of mine who I haven’t seen in a while. We got to talking about selling services, and the subject of cold calling came up.
My friend is a successful salesman, and he is a cold calling master – he is able to open doors and get appointments like nobody I’ve ever seen.
He told me about an IT service provider he knew (no names mentioned) who hired a consultant to help with their business, and they were taught to use the following cold calling technique for selling their IT outsourcing services:
- Get the name of the CEO (let’s say her name is Karen).
- Call the company, and tell the gatekeeper “Hi, my name is Joe. I was told that Karen wanted me to call her, but I’m not sure why – is she available?”
- If you get shut down, try rooting through the company directory until you find somebody who will put you through
They PAID a CONSULTANT for that advice?
(At this point I want to point out that my friend does NOT use that technique.)
A lot of people don’t like cold calls – making or receiving them, but they are a part of selling.
The problem with this strategy is not with the tenacity it encourages, but with the core message it sends.
You are willing to lie to get their business.
Let that sink in for a minute.
How can you call yourself a Trusted Advisor on one hand, and demonstrate your willingness to lie to get your customer’s business on the other?
Lying to get in the door may help you make the initial connection, but believe me – it doesn’t take long before that destroys your reputation.
They PAID a CONSULTANT for that advice.
There’s a much better technique – my friend uses it religiously, and he is a MASTER at cold calling.
- He does his research
- He is prepared
- He is HONEST
- He leaves well-prepared voice messages with a value proposition
- He tracks what works, and tweaks what doesn’t
- He follows up regularly
- He repeats the process
Which do you think is better?
One of the biggest reason sales reps resort to this tactic is because they don’t want to go to voicemail – they believe that talking to the person is better.
I’ve been “The Prospect” for close to two decades – the exact customer you were looking for, and I (and my peers) have received countless cold calls.
When I find out that a sales rep lies to get in the door with me, that door closes pretty quickly – mostly because it’s obvious that the rep didn’t bother to take the time to do it the right way.
In my post Your Prospect – What “Send More Information” Means, I talk about the different ways (including cold calls) at which sales reps were successful in getting through to me and winning my business.
I’m interested in your perspectives – what do YOU think about this strategy?
Or – do you think that cold calling is a waste of time?