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Jeff's Selling & Success Newsletter
November 2008

Dear Jeff,

Thanks for reading my newsletter. If you find it useful, please forward it to any friends or associates who might also benefit from it.

Congratulations to my American readers on the astounding election of Barak Obama. Let's all use this historic event to put our country back on the path of success and prosperity!

  • Rumor - Cold Calling is DEAD! So, What Do We Do Now?

  • Rumor - Cold Calling is DEAD! So, What Do We Do Now?

    Lately I've been both reading and hearing that Cold Calling, as a way to set appointments, is dead. It's "old school", the techniques are outdated, and it just plain doesn't work.
    About a week ago I had the pleasure of working with a sales team of young, hip sellers in the advertising industry (who sell a really cool product!) and after we spent two days together one of the managers, a very sharp young man, commented that he felt that the time we spent going over how to cold call should have been cut by 3 or so hours, as cold calling "simply doesn't work" in his industry. He said that the people they're trying to get in touch with are incredibly busy and don't answer their phones. (sound familiar?) He went on to say that the people they're trying to reach have voice mail boxes that are always full. What he neglected to take into account was that in the single hour his team spent on the phones, applying the techniques they were just taught the day before, several team members set appointments and virtually every rep left several voice mails. So, before you start celebrating in Munchkinland and singing, "Ding dong, the cold calling witch is dead," you might want to consider that while I speak about, and train people on, many different subjects, cold calling continues to be the one most requested by clients. The reason is simple - cold calling over the telephone, when done right, continues to be the method of filling your pipeline with appointments that is most time and cost effective.

    Anyone who knows me, or has been trained by me, knows that I wish it wasn't true. While most people have a strong dislike of it, I hate cold calling. I hate it more than you do. I hate it more than you and everyone on your sales team hates it. I hate it more than you, everyone on your sales team, and everyone you know hates it. I've spent significant amounts of time trying to figure out how to avoid it completely and eventually I'll write a book titled, "How to Avoid Cold Calling," but I have yet to find a way to avoid it entirely. If part of your job is developing new business then cold calling should, at the very least, be part of your appointment getting mix.

    Are there other ways to get appointments that work, or at least turn a cold call into a warm call? There sure are, thank goodness! Here are a few that can be helpful.

    Referrals are probably my very favorite way to get appointments. Referrals, when properly handled, immediately turn a cold call into a very warm one. Ask EVERYONE for referrals. I'm writing this on a plane taking me home from three days in San Francisco. I've already spoken with the gentleman sitting right next to me as well as the woman across the aisle from me asking them what they do for a living. Of course, they both asked me too. After answering them by clearly explaining what I do and the type of people I look to meet I asked both the question, "Who do you know that I should be speaking with?" Both asked for my card and one gave me a referral on the spot. Do I always get referrals every time I ask? Nope. But I always ask because immediately after asking for, and receiving, a referral I then ask if the giver will do me a "little favor." I ask if they'd be willing to call or e-mail the person they referred me to letting them know to expect my call and that they (the referrer) would appreciate it if they (the prospect) would accept my call. Does everyone who gives me a referral contact the referral for me? Nope. But I always ask and they often will. This becomes an almost certain appointment without the likely rejection of a cold call!

    Networking continues to be another of my favorite ways to develop leads that can turn into appointments and again, if done properly, your cold call will become warm. I like it because it's social often results in referrals. Handle these referrals the same way you do any other by asking the giver to contact the person you're being referred to. Be cautious to invest your networking time wisely. You can spend all day every day attending networking meetings and functions. Look for networking groups with a professional facilitator and one that actually results in referrals. Too many groups are run by, for example, an insurance agent who also runs a networking group, or a chiropractor or a printer or any one of a hundred of different professions who run a networking group so that THEY can get more leads. A professional facilitator will help YOU get leads. If you're not getting leads from the groups you belong to find different groups. (If you need help with tips on how to increase the effectiveness of your networking check out my newsletter archives for an article on the subject) Social networking sites like LinkedIn and pay- for-lead networking sites like Salesconx can also be very useful in getting referrals and appointments. I'll admit I'm not an expert in this area yet but am learning more about them each day and have seen some success. (If you'd like to be connected on LinkedIn either send me an invite or e- mail me at jeff@jgsalespro.com and I'll be glad to invite you!)

    Giving speeches is also high on my list of ways to develop leads that are warm. I'm a member of the National Speaker's Association and they suggest that of every ten people in your audience when giving a speech, at least one will have an interest in what you have to offer. The trick to giving speeches to develop leads is that the speech can't be a commercial for your services. However, when you speak on something related to your business you are viewed as an expert and people will approach you. There are MANY groups and organizations that are always on the lookout for speakers for their meetings. Call and offer your services for free. I get paid well for giving keynote speeches and training sessions but I'll speak with almost any group for 30 or 45 minutes for free, or a small honorarium, in order to get in front of someone who might be able to use my services. Even if nobody in the audience needs what you offer you can bet they know people they can refer you to.

    E-mail is often used successfully to set appointments but, in my experience, it's not as successful as doing so over the phone. The reason should be obvious, over the phone when someone tells you why they won't meet with you; you have the opportunity to help them change their mind. In e-mail, it's much more difficult and the attempt to overcome an objection like, "I'm not interested," usually ends up sounding like a plea or a battle. Still, e-mail can work and should be a part of your appointment setting mix. Same for instant messaging. In both e-mail and IM the key is going to be in your message. You need to get to the point quickly (as is true over the phone) and be sure to include a request for the appointment. Without a call to action your message is simply a poor attempt at marketing.

    These aren't the only ways to avoid cold calling but they're a few that have worked for me and many others. Develop a strategy that you think will work for you. Apply it and test it. If it's working, keep on doing it. If not, adjust and try again. It's my pleasure to help you so feel free to e-mail or call if you're having trouble getting enough appointments or developing more business in this challenging economy.

    Make It Happen,


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    Jeff Goldberg & Associates is a sales training and professional speaking firm specializing in helping salespeople sharpen their skills so they can close more business, more profitably - especially in this challenging economy. The training and workshops are based on Jeff's more than three decades of experience as a sales trainer, salesperson and sales manager.

    While we cover many topics, some specific areas of concentration are: How to get more appointments, How to sell more effectively and How to close more business. We offer programs on being a more effective leader, customer service, negotiating, presentation skills and many others.

    We also do speeches and workshops on Motivation, Goals (Goal setting and achievement) and Happiness.

    We customize our programs to fit your specific situation and needs.

    Jeff is also available for keynotes and other speaking opportunities.

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