"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field."
~ Physicist Niels Bohr, quoted in the Harvard Business Review ~
Here is my suggestion on finding cold calling leads and a process on obtains the leads. If you even remotely trust the above graphic there is a surprise for you in this article.You may already have staff doing their own research before calling potential clients. This is certainly not the best use of their time if employed to get you new business by phone.Very valuable time, often hours on end, are spent searching websites, LinkedIn and entering non clients onto a CRM isystem. ( The polar opposite to what CRM is all about and what it was really created for). CRM is a Customer Record Management system - not for recording prospects).My solid advice for most is to buy in good data lists. Your team then spend their day doing what’s important- calling prospective clients. Those hours spent researching? Generally a fudge for not being active on the phone and an extension of Call Reluctance. Buying a good list pays for itself in time saved and new clients.Economically it’s such good sense to buy good data. Here is another consideration:
When you do your own research and make lists you need to be careful.There is no way of knowing if the target company is on the CTPS. (Company Telephone Preference Service).
Apart from any potential fine from calling such prospects, it really isn't an ideal start to a call when the person on the phone explains that they are on the CTPS list and that you shouldn't be calling.
I prefer to "call with confidence" - Know, without doubt, that your data has been sourced in the right way, is of high quality and meets all of the latest UK marketing regulations especially since GDPR. ( General Data Protection Regulation ) was introduced.
You also need the backing of knowing that the data has come from one of the UK's leading B2B data houses. My contact company is a founder member of the DMA (Data and Marketing Association) and is a multi award winning in their field.
Correctlysourced lists are presented in neat Spreadsheets with columns showing all sorts of key information about the target Company. Over and above the basics of address, phone, contact name etc, other metrics such as turnover, number of employees, year established and more specific data.
My own contact is as safe as houses with all of the above so if you have need of good, clean. CTPS checked lists then please get in touch with me for details. I do not make anything from the introduction. It is part of my service to clients. You do need to be my client though🦉Using such lists is far more economical, trustworthy and positive than all that time spent with telesales doing their “research” or calling very dormant old customers .Take my advice I have seen both sides of this coin for a very long time.Oh yes, the surprise I promised you ? The graphic above is legendary in one form or another. However the statistics are not true for sales calls, not true at all ! The basis of these types of list are based on a myth. Back in the 1950’s a research company produced some strong data for a branding agency. The rough figures were for how often it takes people to respond to billboard adverts around the city of New York. How often it takes people. to remember the brand name.Since then the table and many chewed up variations of it as above have been wrongly attributed to the sales industry which is very different to the Branding detail used by marketing companies.Now you know.
The next step :
Above is a large bunch of bananas. The baubles are the same as your clients in your pipeline. You have to call all the bananas to get clients. Email will never crack it. Start calling people as if your bunch of clients depended on it. Stop fudging it and start winning. See below:
Many business owners reading this article will be starting with an entrenched and uncomfortable view of Cold Calling.
Interestingly the confusion between business to business cold calling and pestering spam auto-dialler calls and call centre calls to our collective home numbers and mobiles is only one small part of the reason for people, particularly business owners, being so agitated about Cold Calls.
In business to business sales the agitation is more truly to be found around being unwilling ourselves to engage in the process of picking up a phone and calling, say, our top ten new target clients each month.
It’s not that anyone doesn’t want new business it’s simply Call Reluctance in making such important calls. So we employ others at not much above minimum wage and minimal ability to make the calls ? You know that process? It’s dreadful where your top prospects are concerned. Owners need to man up and call their counterparts in target companies.
A Football Analogy
My example here is a game of football. If you agree to play a game of football you know there are rules and that you are aiming to outwit the opposition and score goals . If you don’t like the idea you don’t play football.
Business is the same. Setting up your business and having a phone installed is agreeing to the rules of the game. You call for business and others call you. If you don’t want that freedom the answer is not to have a phone. Complaining and hostility about inbound calls is such a nonsense when you are also looking for new business yourself. I see it everywhere.
A halfway house is getting listed with TPS (The Telephone Preference Service) and that will allow you to miss out on exhibitions and business propositions and other great opportunities that some inbound calls will bring. Being too precious about calls is showing an underlying issue or two . I have noticed many a company man taking an unhealthy delight in getting rid of callers. This is my opinion.
If all SME business OWNERS made 10 fresh effective calls a month to their top target counterparts their business would be transformed in 12 months. So much so that year on year you would increase these calls each month . Hardly anyone does it though. I am at the sharp end of helping people get more clients and 30 years later the story remains the same. Owners should make calls to get new clients.
I am not even talking about a Telesales team or procuring an outside agency to do the calls . I am talking solely of business owners making a tiny amount of calls themselves to their main prospects. No stronger call will be made than one MD calling another. That is my advice.
Call Reluctance is the only thing that holds leaders back and allows them to make a dozen excuses every month that permit them not to steer their company by example on the phone.
Some do it. I know many who do and they roar with a sense of well placed derision for those who don’t lead their teams by example .
My career in sales goes back several decades and Call Reluctance has always been noticeable as the least mentioned and yet most prevalent failure in new business ventures. In my experience around 90% of those of us running a business can overcome the problems associated with Cold Calling.
Get a professional to help you set yourself up and your team. Getting the right advice is essential. Where you get it from is up to you.
There are a ton of training companies most covering every subject under the sun. I cover just one subject and yet it affects all that happens. I am not in HR , computer software or an analyst or an Accountancy person I am a telephone sales accountability coach.
Telesales acounttability coach
I am a Telesales coach and nothing more. Many will look at my Google reviews and give me a call for a conversation. My clients will sell themselves on my help and how it works . Call my office and we can set up a free call. Whenever I give my number out I tend to get emails, thus proving my points above.
How often should you pick up the phone ? At every opportunity is my answer. Call me 020 8720 6567
My number one piece of advice is to see the CV of the person delivering the training. You can have the slickest website in front of you based on a training company image. But what about the trainer ? Trainers need experience in sales, solid experience, The old saying is “ If you can’t do, then teach”. Whilst this motto is not true it’s surprisingly along the right track with sales training these days.
My history is here for all to see. I work on my own with total reliance on my own methodology to win over and coach trainees into success. All based on my own long and varied experiences on the phone. You cannot beat empirical evidence over several decades.I am not a trained trainer . I am a Telesales expert passing on the information everyone needs to shorten their learning curve.
I do not believe people are trainers in their 20’s and 30’s. Why are they not earning very high commissions in sales on the phone in those years as I did ? Selling is exactly what I was doing then. Teaching and expert coaching based on those years and using empirical evidence is what I do now. Wild horses would not stop me selling to teach.
The next thing to focus on is the type of coaching and training you require.
I will immediately mention online/ E-learning first. This is used by those who want a very low budget solution who hold a bold belief that telesales instruction by E-learning can do the trick and people will read the modules and by magic their performance will change.
It is certainly a cheap option but does rest on your audience having some form of desire to read and then magically deduce the best way to proceed. A zero star rating from me. It’s pants. You know it and I know it. I don’t see it as competition so I am not knocking the opposition! It’s all tick box and unrealistic. Ticking boxes does not make a Telesales expert.
E-Learning for sales and any expectations of serious engagement with potential clients is “Strictly for the birds”
Secondly you have generalist seminars on Telesales. Very good for team bonding and you will be exposed to role play, games and other interaction to get everyone in the mood. A shot in the arm, often a day out of the normal routine. Short term it’s good but the issue is within the notion that people return to “type” pretty quickly. It does not treat the universal “Call Reluctance” more than superficially. This is my opinion and may not be shared by others.
2 star rating from me. I do not do seminars except in specialist areas. It cannot be compared to 1:1 in-depth personality led coaching over a few months not a few hours.
Thirdly you can try it yourself . Again you will probably be let down by a lack of personal experiences which are the empirical evidence needed to really educate and drive a team in the nuances of getting those meetings and deals. A 🌟🌟 star rating from me.
Finally I offer my method of coaching people 1:1 often with outstanding success where the recruitment of satisfactory staff has been achieved. Your team do not need to be geniuses however they need to speak well and be ambitious. I will let others give their star rating on my Google and Yell.com reviews
In many, many cases great results are achieved working with me and my process which are custom delivered to each company. No two companies are the same no two assignments are the same, no two people are the same. 1:1 coaching unearths the true issues and drives performance.
It would be dishonest to guarantee success in advance as much depends on having eager participants. I work on the basis of leading horses to water. Your team need to allow themselves to drink. You may have to accept that recruitment does not always produce winners. Replicating success at an interview on a daily basis is a big ask.
Get in touch. 90% of my clients will not be wrong. The bottom line is results that can be achieved with insightful advice, driving enthusiasm and accountability coaching. My engagement includes 3 months follow up. Usually this is exactly what is needed. Call my office and I will be happy to get back to you to have a discovery discussion with any business owner.
“We tried telemarketing but it didn’t work.” This statement can be heard resonating down the years from companies who should be embracing active telephone canvassing. To put it mildly many, many companies let themselves off the hook preferring the inferior razzmatazz of “social media”. Well, excuse me for disagreeing as follows:
Bearing in mind that despite advances in technology, picking up the phone and having direct contact with prospects is still the most effective method of generating leads, opportunities and sales.
“We tried telesales but it didn’t work for us”
Such a sweeping statement deserves closer scrutiny, to establish exactly why “telesales didn’t work”.
What level of preparation went into the campaign before the calls were made?
How was the target market identified?
Where was the marketing data sourced from to ensure that they were speaking with up to date accurate contacts in the right job functions at companies that met the campaigns ideal prospect profile?
What thought went into what was going to be said on the telephone?
How were follow up requests to be dealt with?
What were the objectives of the campaign-appointments-leads-both?
Most importantly perhaps is what level of competence have the people you entrust with this work ? Have they been trained in the art of persuasion and getting results ?
There are usually a number of holes in the prep phase but also and interestingly, when it comes down to it the person who’s actually been tasked with making the callsoften, unfairly to them, are inexperienced and poorly prepared for the task.
For some reason telemarketing is often seen as a low skilled task that needs to be done and so an attitude of getting someone junior in a Company to get on the phone and “make some calls” prevails.
Results not surprisingly are often disappointing and so therefore “telemarketing doesn’t work for us”. I like to use the word FATUOUS in response to this phrase. There isn’t a single company that could not improve results if they are in an open market situation.
Some people with basic knowledge can do an oil change on their car, and can also change spark plugs, fit an air filter, and know a bit about basic fault finding but you wouldn’t want them putting your new gearbox in would you ?
They probably wouldn’t know where to start and there’s a good chance that if they did have a go, your car wouldn’t be able to go backwards when they’d finished.
Telemarketing is a tough, professional and skilled job. When carried out in the right way it can be a great addition to your overall lead generation strategy.
Don’t ask just anyone to do it however or you’ll end up with your gearbox all over the floor!
Make sure that the data you are using for your campaign is absolutely spot on in terms of accuracy, and meets all latest marketing legislation which includes TPS checking.
Then make sure that whoever is making the calls has the ability and experience to engage your prospects in a meaningful two way conversation to uncover genuine leads, opportunities and sales.
With high quality marketing data, being used by a professional telemarketer, you’re well placed to reap the rewards from your next campaign.
☎️ I would like to thank Robbie Stepney of www.datathatcounts.com for his inspiration with this article. Robbie is a very competent list broker and the lists are high quality (I have used them with clients) and I am happy to truly endorse his services.
This blog will annoy quite a few and will make perfect sense to quite a few more so on balance I recommend it to you all.
Phones in the office of the mobile variety:
Anyone have a clue how many business days a year are lost to social media browsing and phone chat /texting to buddies whilst at work?
The strange thing is that I never visit an office where anyone mentions or admits this habit, even when asked. It’s collective numbness to the notion that time is being wasted and taken from your employer. Mobile phone use for games, browsing and texting in sales offices is simply embarrassing.
Everyone used to be furtive with their social media browsing at work always or often hiding it from colleagues.
Not so now, mobile phones are in permanent and conspicuous view at all times on nearly all desks. A few companies have the strength to specifically ban them in “work time” as do some schools.
The most common moan from telesales operatives is not having enough time to do their work. With such indiscriminate use of mobiles it’s no surprise.
Many simply pay lip service to the notion that there is anything wrong about the habit. You all know that if it were your company and your money paying the wages you wouldn’t want it. You would not want your team shoplifting your time is a good way to look at it.
One way for employers to solve this conundrum is from the start in the interview situation. I ask about social media and its relationship to work. When I get the right answer that sets the tone for all future discussion and works every time. I ask people if they need 24/7 contact with their partners or children ? Give me the wrong answer and your interview ends. Once you confirm to me that you will work when you come to work then the issue is settled. We should not need to revisit the subject.
As the old Irish saying goes “There is a time to go fishing and a time to dry your nets”. When you are at work in a Telesales role you are fishing. Those that get this, and only those, are the winners in a team. If you sit at your desk drying your nets ( lazing around on your phone) you need to be moved on to make way for a fisherman. I am ruthless in giving this advice. There is a ton of immaturity around phone use.
In America they go further. Cell phones are often confiscated during school and work time. Emergencies are dealt with via the office phone. They go as far as computer screens switched off for calling sessions with leads printed out in advance. They ban browsing , they ban the time wasting on Linkedin and they refocus teams to doing the job. Making calls.
The best companies in the US do not allow Email during phone prospecting time and that is a huge step forward on its own. Successful departments are limiting the rat runs from the core function of a Telesales / new business drive.
If a team is focused on the calls in these sessions then good results flow. All the administration work is done later. You make notes on paper and your potential clients make notes and you keep calling. You add notes to whatever system you use later and you need to be concise. Time wasted on pointless phone notes is another subject.
I would like everyone to think how often their phone is switched on in a church, in a cinema or theatre and then tell me it’s required whilst you are working in sales ?
Having a seperate business mobile is allowed but it needs to be business only.
So when you hear the excuse of “Not Enough Time” it’s high time a team realised that time is all they have.
There is simply no such thing as “not enough time” in a sales office. You only have the same amount of time like all of us. Time passes and it’s how we use our time that’s important. Bemoaning lost time is pointless. Time moves on. Check your daily use of your time. It’s easy to improve and you can start with your phone 📱