Video – Cold Calling Prospect Workshop

Here’s a workshop I did on Cold Calling.  Click Here to view it.   It contains great information, data and insight on how the best salespeople manage their time.  Enjoy!

Cold Calling - Prospecting Workshop

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(Sales) Book Review: Never Cold Call Again by Frank Rumbauskas Jr.

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Victor Antonio, Sales Influence

The title of the book itself, Never Cold Call Again, caught my attention. Having been in sales and having depended on cold calling for my success in sales, I was taken aback by such a pronunciation.

The premise of the book is that cold calling is ineffective when you analyze the amount of time invested compared to the returns you’ll receive. 

I’ve learned that one should be open to new ways of thinking so I went ahead and purchased ‘Never Cold Call Again’ to see if it was really possible to grow your sales without having to cold call.

After having read the book, I thought I’d jot down a few notes for your consideration.

The writing style is friendly, intelligent and very concise (i.e., not a lot of puffery). I really enjoyed Rumbauskas’s writing style. The book is broken up into three sections: 



Part I: A New Way of Selling where he reminds the reader that cold calling isn’t a numbers game and that the information age is a wake up call for salespeople to reevaluate how they go about generating leads and setting appointments. This section is basically dedicated to convincing the reader of the benefits of moving from a ‘push’ style (you calling a client) of selling to a ‘pull’ strategy (clients come to you). Chapters 5 and 6 have a Alvin Toffler-esque type of quality as he reminds us salespeople to sell from a position of power, and not beg for business. 



Part II: Your Self-Marketing System for Lead Generation
This section is the heart of the author’s ‘pull strategy’. By using the different technologies available to us to today to promote our business, we could be more effective in our client reach and finding better qualified leads. The author points to using various marketing strategies: email, postcard, flyer distribution, weblogs, auto-responders, newsletters, networking, and so on. 



Part III: You Have the Leads-Now Get the Sales
This section is a quick overview of the sales process and a reminder to salespeople to make sure they keep front and center the primary needs of the client. He emphasizes the need for perpetual marketing by asking for referrals and building a system to track and keep your clients up to date with what you or your company is offering.



Interesting things I noted:
 The author makes a sweeping indictment that cold calling doesn’t work, yet Rumbauskas doesn’t provides any proof, no research or empirical data to back his statement up. His premise is based solely on his experience loaded with subjective and anecdotal evidence.



In my article, Is Cold Calling Effective, I show that if the price of a product is LOW, one can easily conclude that cold calling isn’t an effective marketing tool for generating new business.  But, if the price of the item is HIGH, cold calling can not only be effective, but very lucrative.  Cold calling is dependent on other variables and should be judge prudently as to whether it’s an effective marketing tool or not on a case-by-case basis.
 
Ironically, the author DOES suggest using a telesales person to ‘cold call’ on your behalf. He justifies this seemingly contradictory statement by parsing the sales process, “…prospecting is not selling, and selling is not prospecting.” (ref: page 65) One could easily argue, I would, that prospecting is indeed selling.  When you call a client you have to sell yourself and you have to sell them on the idea of meeting with you. That said, it stresses the reader’s credulity when Rumbauskas makes the argument against cold calling when you do it personally, but it works when someone else does it on your behalf! 



Also, on the author’s weblog he takes a quote from Frank Bettger’s 1949 sales classic, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling” (see my book review) that is worth noting. Here’s the original quote:
 
“The records show that 70 percent of my sales were made on the first interview (meeting), 23% on the second and 7% on the third and after. But listen to this: 50% of my time was spent going after the 7%.” (Page 15, 1977 edition) 
 
Bettger’s point is that if you want to improve your efficiency in selling, stop going after the 7%. This makes total sense!  But what Rumbauskas fails to mention is that on the very same page Bettger talks about how he got those meetings, and eventual sales, through cold calling. 

So my question is, why does Rumbauskas praise Bettger’s classic, who built his sales career on cold calling, when Rumbauskas’ book itself is about why you should ‘never cold call again’?



Lastly, it’s worth noting that the average response rate for a direct marketing (e.g., mailing postcards, magazines etc.) campaign ranges from .1% to .8%.  Does that mean direct marketing doesn’t work because the results are so low? Is that reason enough to go out and write a book titled, “Never Direct Market Again”?  Kidding aside, direct marketing works for some, and not for others; no different for cold calling.



Recommendation:

The author’s title is catchy and is consistent with his marketing philosophy about having a great headline if you want to be noticed. I can’t argue that.  His subtitle, “Achieve Sales Greatness Without Cold Calling” more accurately reflects what this book is about. 

The book is a great primer for salespeople, small businessmen or entrepreneurs who are looking for ways to market their business on their own. His Part II section does a good job in giving you some ideas of where to start and how to begin creating your own lead generating system. 



To Rumbauskas’ credit, this is one of the few sales books in the market that is challenging the old way of doing business and forcing the average salesperson to rethink his or her approach to selling. That said, we wouldn’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water by eliminating cold calling from our sales arsenal. 

But Rumbauskas’ overall message warrants our attention. We’re living in a new age of information and if cold calling is your only tool for marketing, then you’re living in the dark ages.

The game of prospecting has changed and you have to learn how to use a multitude of marketing ‘pull’ strategies to drive clients to you if you want to get ahead.  On that note, I say to Mr. Rumbauskas, “Amen!” 

 Go out and get your copy of “Never Cold Call Again” and go beyond the cold call to market your business.


Victor Antonio, Sales Influence
“Finding the Why in (How People) Buy” 
 
p.s., Any guy that can squeeze in a reference to Joseph Schumpeter’s ‘creative destruction’ concept in a book on selling is alright with me! 

(Sales Article): For Sales Managers – How to Diagnose Fear of Cold Calling

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Victor Antonio, Sales Influence

For Sales Managers – How to Diagnose Fear of Cold Calling

By Victor Antonio, Sales Influence

Possible Cause #1: Doesn’t really believe in what they’re selling.

Solution: As a manager you need to have your salespeople use the product or service and become familiar with all the positive attributes and effects.  Only by being a ‘user’ can they really understand the benefits of the product or service, which in turn will allow them to sell with confidence.  If they truly believe in their product’s ability to help others, then they’re not selling, but sharing and helping others see the benefits and advantages they’re enjoying by using the product.   If it’s not possible to purchase the product or service (e.g., too expensive, not for personal use, etc.), find those who are using it with great success and use those testimonials to show others how the prospect can benefit.

Possible Cause #2: Takes rejection over the phone personally.

Solution: A salesperson who identifies too much with the product will always take rejection over the phone personally.  Remind your salesperson that they are not the product.  So when a prospect rejects the overture or sales call it should be clear that they are rejecting the product not the individual salesperson trying to deliver the message.  Too often salespeople take th ings personally when on the other end of the line (or other side of the desk) is a client who is very clear about what he is saying no to; the product or service not the salesperson.  Salespeople obsess and ruminate about rejection long after they’ve been rejected.  Remind them that the prospect stops thinking about them no sooner than they hang-up the phone or leave their office.  When the salesperson gets a ‘no’ on the phone they should take the word ‘No’ to mean onto the Next One or Next Opportunity.

Possible Cause #3: Feel like you’re interrupting or bothering people when you call

Solution: The underlying cause of this symptom stems from a salesperson inability to intrinsically believe in the value of the product they’re selling.  Any salesperson who truly believes their product can help others will have no inhibition about picking up the phone to sell (ie., help) others.  If the salesperson doesn’t believe in the value of what they’re selling, there will always be a nagging doubt when it comes to calling up first time prospects. In their mind’s eye they see the prospect picking up the phone on the other end and rolling their eyes when they find out it’s another sales call.  The salesperson has either a low opinion of the product or of the profession of sales itself.  Many salespeople see themselves as ‘dinner interrupting‘ telemarketers.  This self-image is why they feel like they’re bothering when they call.  The key to overcoming this mental block is to have the salesperson imagine for a moment that the prospect they just called was at that very moment trying to figure out a way to solve a problem the salesperson has a solution to.  Ask your salespeople this question to get them to reframe how they view cold calling, “If you knew that every person you called could use or better needed your product, would you still feel as though you’re bothering them?”  The answer is an obvious.

Victor Antonio, Sales Influence

Copyright © 2010 by Victor Antonio.   All rights reserved.  Author, speaker and sales trainer Victor Antonio has a BSEE, MBA and over 20 years of executive sales experience.  This post MAY be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, as long as the author’s name, website and email address are included as part of the article’s body.  All inquiries, including information on electronic licensing, should be directed to Victor Antonio at info@victorantonio.com.