“Jeffrey, come down to the office, there’s a guy here who has cookies for you! They’re those Biscoff cookies, the ones that you like.” How could I resist? I love those cookies. I’ve eaten them for years, predominately on airplanes, more predominately on Delta. They also have them in the Delta lounge, and occasionally you can find them in the grocery store.
For ten years, my good friend, the great Nido Qubein, sent me a case of Biscoff cookies for Christmas. They were usually gone by the first of January.
When I got to my office Bradford Coons was beaming from ear to ear. His ploy had worked. But in reality, he was not just giving me the cookies, he was representing the cookie company, Lotus Bakeries.
He demonstrated his special “100 cookie caddie box” door opener.
And went on to enthusiastically explain that this new product package was being designed for corporate America, and sales people in particular. It could even be customized with the company logo or photograph.
At a very reasonable wholesale price, I quickly became interested in using the product myself. I thought it would make a great gift (people always give what they want to get – keep that in mind while you are shopping this holiday season).
I decided to try the cookies at our next public seminar event. As an enticement, Stephanie and Elizabeth strategically placed one Biscoff on the table at each seminar participant seat. Using the potato chip philosophy, you can never eat just one, they figured all the boxes of cookies would be gone by the end of our two-day event. And, except for one box, they were correct.
But lets go back to the original cold call.
Bradford Coons did not make a cold call, he made a strategic, targeted cold call. In fact, that day, I was his only cold call. He was well prepared, got through to the decision maker, created engagement, made the sale, and left smiling.
How targeted are your cold calls?
How strategic are your cold calls?
How pre-prepared are your cold calls?
How engaging are your cold calls?
And here’s the killer question: How successful are your cold calls?
HISTORY: If you know me, and my sales philosophy, you also know that cold calling is at the very bottom of my list, with respect to making sales connections and sales. Especially in these times, there are smarter, better ways of making a cold call. And my definition of cold call is not “dialing for dollars” or “calling from a list” or selecting a category and making random calls, either on the phone or in person. Those strategies are a total waste of time, and “no” is 98% of the outcome – or more.
There are 2.5 basic understandings of a cold call:
1. It is the lowest percentage sales call.
2. Rejection is likely.
2.5 Several rejections in a row can cause self-doubt and can challenge your attitude.
Before you make any cold call, you have to ask yourself these questions about each call you are about to make:
■What is your desired outcome of the call? Is it a sale? Is it an appointment?
■Who is the actual decision maker?
■Who do I really ask for in order to get to the decision maker? (for years I have recommended asking for someone in sales)
■What is the one question or statement that may get me to the decision maker?
■What is the one question that I want to ask the decision maker to engage them?
■Do I have anything of value to offer besides my stuff?
■Do I have anything to show, or say, that’s fun?
■How will I engage the prospect?
■What’s my total plan to make the sale?
Once you’ve struggled with the answers to those questions, keep these 3.5 major elements of the cold call process in mind.
1. In sales it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. So the challenge of cold calling is to become known as a person of value, so that the prospect may recognize you and take your call or agree to your meeting. People will take your call if you have a great reputation, and if they perceive there is value in working with you.
2. Why would I want to meet with you? What are you offering me OTHER than your product or service that would create a desire to meet with you? Set the meeting up with something of value or impact.
3. Could you pass the Google test? Could you leave a voicemail telling the prospect to Google you and, based on their findings, they would want to set an appointment with you? That’s the real test of a cold call. Not having any message and going purely on reputation.
3.5 Can you create a cold-call-close that will get the meeting or the appointment? “Mr. Jones, our product/service is a value fit for many people, if you grant me a short meeting, and answer a few questions, if I think I can help you I will tell you. If I don’t think I can help you, I’ll tell you that too. Is that fair enough?”
NOTE WELL: If your product isn’t as saleable as cookies, maybe you should carry a box with you to sweeten the deal.
Cold calling isn’t easy, and it’s NOT cookie cutter, but when you are well prepared, the results of your efforts can have life-long rewards. They may not be a good place to make a sale, but they’re a great place to learn how to sell.