If you are a sports fan or if you have ever coached a sport of some kind, you will know that usually above all else the first thing that is taught and stressed with participants in that activity is success on the fundamentals. As it pertains to fundamentals, these are the building blocks on which all further skills and techniques can be learned and built upon.
For instance, when it comes to football, in order for a team to be as successful as possible, each play on either the offensive or defensive side of the ball must be executed to perfection. On the offensive side, let’s say the coach calls for a handoff to the tailback to run the ball directly up the middle. If the offensive line and fullback cannot execute proper blocking technique, the tailback will have nowhere to run and will be stopped immediately.
On the defensive side, if the D-line, linebackers and secondary are not able to wrap up the ball carrier when presented with the opportunity, a three-yard gain can quickly blow up into a 65-yard touchdown run. Hence, it is imperative that professional athletes adhere to the proper “blocking and tackling” of their respective positions.
With this in mind, I think it is absolutely critical that any sales professional, before he or she gets behind the phone and starts cold calling, adheres to the proper “blocking and tackling” of cold call technique. Usually, the glorified parts of the cold call get the vast majority of the attention, namely what to say to the prospect on the line.
It is rather sexy, I must admit, to watch a scene starring Leonardo Di Caprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street”, or Vin Diesel in “Boiler Room”, charm an unsuspecting person into turning over large sums of money to invest in what they are selling. I certainly do not condone that style of sales technique, but I must confess, it is entertaining to watch.
Individuals who go through sales training are constantly frustrated that they spent time and money in an effort to master the cold call skill and end up right where they started. It does not take a rocket scientist to see how people, based upon the options at their disposal today, end up further behind by pursuing some of these coaching opportunities.
These coaching opportunities fail because they focus on the sexy, glamorous aspect of cold calling, but pay no attention to the “blocking and tackling” of effective cold call technique that must be mastered before one even picks up the phone.
For instance, I work with my clients diligently to put a robust cold call strategy in place before we even think of picking up the phone receiver. What does that mean, exactly? During my time in financial services, I had an uncanny ability to call the right person at the right time who had the right need and I was able to deliver the right value add proposition.
It was remarkable how, with a little forethought and outside-the-box thinking, I was able to make contact with this person time and time again at exactly the right moment. They chalked it up to serendipity and an amazing coincidence. That was perfectly fine by me, as I was willing to tell them that was the case, as well. But, truth be told, based upon the strategy that I put in place, the research that I had done, the strategic partnerships that I had sought to create, and my knowledge and ability to think like my prospect, I was, time and time again, in the right place at the right time on my cold calls.
Also, one of the areas that generates virtually no attention at all from sales trainers is how to overcome the two biggest challenges to a cold caller, namely how to leave an effective voicemail and how to bypass the gatekeeper. I have attended a variety of training sessions in my lifetime and not a single one has taken the time to show me how to leave an effective voice message that not only gets a returned phone call, but one that is returned quickly.
Think about that! Trainers and coaches spend all of this time telling you what to say to the decision maker and how to sell yourself and your product on the phone, but if you were to make ten cold calls yet today, how many would result in a voice message? Eight out of ten? Nine out of ten? What good does it do to know exactly what to say to the decision maker when 90% of the time you do not reach the decision maker in the first place?
I work with my clients for hours at a time in some cases to get them to master the concept of how to leave an effective voice message that piques the curiosity of the decision maker, as well as creates a sense of urgency on their part to return the call swiftly. Did you know that 84.1% of all of the voice messages that I leave while cold calling get returned, usually within the same day?
Part of the reason that I have such a high cold call success rate is that virtually everyone I call, whether I get them directly, leave a voice message, or encounter the gatekeeper, will have a conversation with me at some point, thereby increasing my odds of success moving forward.
If you remember the old baseball commercial starring baseball greats Mark McGwire, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine where the Mark, while taking batting practice, is being mobbed by fans, particularly of the female variety. Perplexed, Maddux and Glavine, both pitchers, ask him what his secret is. He looks at them, smiles, and says, “Chicks dig the long ball.”
Though that may be true, it is not the long ball that wins division crowns or World Series Championships.
It is the collective effort of a well coached, disciplined, fundamentally sound squadron of ball players working together to further the collective mission of the franchise. It is in that same vein that individuals and organizations realize such tremendous success from our teaching methods. Yes, we glorify the ability to schedule appointments via cold calling with one’s ideal prospects.
But, the ability to schedule appointment after appointment after appointment with entities that need your service and will pay you big bucks when the deal closes is brought about by the creation and implementation of a sound, comprehensive cold call strategy, as well as the ability to have voice messages returned on a ridiculously frequent basis, combined with the skill of bypassing the gatekeeper with astonishing consistency time and time again.
The next time you get behind the phone, ask yourself if you are adhering to the proper “blocking and tackling” skills of cold calling. If not, do yourself a favor, and contact The Cold Call Coach at 414-313-8338 today and, together, we will ensure that you are able to drive a bus through the gaping hole at the line that we will open for you.