Cold Call Coach Founder & CEO, Paul M. Neuberger, was profiled in the Sunday Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this past weekend. Read his Top 7 Tips to cold call excellence here and learn why his clients are so successful as a result of his proprietary, game-changing training system.
Paul Neuberger admits it: He’s a freak.
Most salespeople I know at best tolerate the task of making a cold call to someone they haven’t met, and many downright despise or fear it.
“I love it,” Neuberger said.
So much so, that he started his own consulting company, The Cold Call Coach LLC, in 2015 to help other salespeople maximize their effectiveness.
In 2016, Neuberger made a presentation to Tim and Mary Starr, the top executives of The Starr Group, one of the Milwaukee area’s largest independent insurance agencies, in Greenfield.
Later that year, the Starrs hired Neuberger to work with their sales staff.
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“They asked me to work with their producers to help them identify their ideal clients, formulate customized cold call scripts for each member of the team and ensure that their overall success in getting appointments scheduled via the phone increased dramatically,” Neuberger said.
And what happened next?
“The results were off the charts,” Neuberger said. “One producer witnessed a cold call success rate of 76 percent, another was able to write business on a number of local nonprofits and, during an organization-wide competition, the producers scheduled 18 appointments with decision-makers on the phone in a one-week time period.”
The Starrs were so impressed with Neuberger — and his results — they asked him to become president of their family-owned firm.
“Paul is a confident, charismatic leader who has trademarked his distinctive sales approaches. He is extremely driven, yet a values- and faith-centered family man,” said Mary Starr, executive vice president of the company. “Tim and I have spent our entire careers building The Starr Group. Creating a solid perpetuation plan that can take this organization into the future has been a key focus for the past several years. Paul Neuberger was the missing link in this plan. He is a strategic thinker with the horsepower to move his ideas to completion in a minimal amount of time.”
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“I’m an outside-the-box hire,” Neuberger acknowledged. “I’m extroverted to the 50th degree. As for the cold call, hearing ‘no’ a lot does bother me. So, I just made a decision, I don’t want to hear ‘no’ again.”
Neuberger said his cold call success starts with doing his homework … identifying who his “ideal clients” are.
So, for this week’s listicle, I asked Neuberger to compile the top seven things he would recommend sales directors tell their reps before they make the dreaded cold call. Here they are:
1. Just get dedicated time. “Most people fail at cold calling because they try to do too much too soon. They try to build rapport with the prospect, as well as qualify them over the phone to see if they are a good fit for their services. As a result, they come across as very ‘salesy’ and never get off the starting block. Rather than trying to do all of that, simply aspire to get dedicated time and, when you have the prospect as a captive audience, then you can start to build rapport, qualify them, etc.,” Neuberger said.
2. Call to offer something, not sell something. “Why would this prospect whom you never met and have never spoken with before ever agree to take time out of his/her extremely busy day to meet with you? If you were able to proactively offer something of value that taps into their self-interest and self-preservation, your odds of success increase dramatically,” Neuberger said.
3. People buy people first, not companies. “Before a prospect will buy a product or service, they usually first need to buy the person selling said items. Once they buy you, the person, your odds of success in getting them to agree to move forward with what you and your company provide will increase dramatically. Sell first what people buy first — yourself — and watch your overall success rates soar,” Neuberger said.
4. Put your intangibles on full display. “When your clients buy you, they are buying your intangibles, which are those traits you possess that you are born with, that cannot be taught, and that give you a competitive advantage over your competitors that do not possess said traits. For example, a sense of humor is an intangible that many people buy. You cannot teach humor. By building a cold call script designed specifically to highlight your intangibles, not only will it be more comfortable for you, but it will highlight the very strengths that make your clients love you in the first place,” Neuberger said.
5. Keep the call to between 20 and 25 seconds. “A cold call, by definition, is an unexpected, uninvited intrusion in someone’s day. This element of surprise can have extremely negative effects on our chances of success if we keep the prospect on the phone too long. To drastically increase your odds of success, treat your cold call like a movie preview: Give them a taste, highlight one or two of the best parts, but save the ending and detailed specifics for the dedicated time you aspire to secure,” Neuberger said.
6. Ditch “My name is …” forever. “When your best friend calls, what does his/her greeting sound like when you pick up the phone? Assuming my best friend of 20 years is named Steve, how odd would it be if these were his first words to me when I picked up the phone: ‘Hello Paul, my name is Steve. How are you today?’ What does ‘my name is’ signify? It means that this is the first time we have ever spoken. It’s a sales call! This is why most cold callers are dead within the first few seconds,” Neuberger said.
7. People don’t buy what you do or how you do it. They buy why you do it. “The most important thing to do while cold calling, and sales as a whole, for that matter, is to differentiate yourself. If you start a cold call not only sounding like everyone who has ever contacted this person before, but also providing the very same products and services in the very same way, you’re toast. You need to stand out by sounding different and positioning yourself in a truly unique light,” Neuberger said.
Steve Jagler is the business editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. C-Level stands for high-ranking executives, typically those with “chief” in their titles. Send C-Level column ideas to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Company: The Starr Group, Greenfield
Expertise: Cold calling and sales management
Previous experience: He served as a professional fundraiser for eight years, followed by nearly three years as a financial adviser. He founded The Cold Call Coach LLC in 2015.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in biology, Ripon College; and master’s degree in organizational leadership and quality, Marian University.
Family: Wife, Tanya; and children, Kennedy, Hudson and Reagan
Best advice ever received: “Don’t pray for a lighter cross, pray for a stronger back.”
Favorite movies: “Jaws” and “The Godfather”
Favorite musical artist or band: Phil Collins
Favorite Wisconsin restaurant: “I am addicted to Chinese food and feel compelled to stop every time I see a China Buffet or similar restaurant.”