For all of you pet lovers out there, I beg your forgiveness for the analogy that I am about to make. Have you ever heard of Randy Johnson, the former Major League Baseball pitcher? If not, he cut an imposing figure on the mound, to say the least!
Standing 6’11” tall, he seemed to be literally on top of the batters that stepped into the box to face him. Topping out at 100 miles per hour on the radar gun, if the batter blinked, more often than not, the ball would smack hard into the catcher’s mitt and all they would be left staring at is a vapor trail.
With that in mind, imagine if someone kidnapped your beloved pet and held it in an undisclosed location, threatening to bring harm to the animal unless you could make contact with a Randy Johnson fastball. Now imagine that you are given a mere two pitches in which to accomplish this feat.
What emotions are going through your mind? How are you feeling at this very instant? How high is your level of confidence that you will succeed in this task?
Now imagine that the same captor has your pet, but, in a rare instance of graciousness, agrees to gives you 1,000 pitches from Mr. Johnson in which to make contact with the baseball. In comparison to two pitches, how are you feeling now? How do your emotions differ once you hear this news, as opposed to the original demands that were set?
Answering these questions merely for myself, I can tell you that, although the task seems daunting and exceedingly difficult, I am feeling more relaxed at the notion of having 998 more attempts to make contact with the baseball. In fact, I may even take a dozen pitches to work on my timing, to monitor Mr. Johnson’s arm angle, and where he is releasing the baseball, among others.
Not only do my odds of success go up by virtue of the fact that I am slightly more calm and relaxed, but if I am patient, observing intently, and monitoring my surrounds closely, that only adds to the chances that my endeavors will result in a successful outcome, which is to get Snowball back in my arms safely.
Cold calling, when done successfully, works in much the same manner. More often than not, cold calling can be looked upon as a classic chicken or the egg situation. Are you more confident as a cold caller because you have had previous success, or do you first need confidence to start having success on the phone?
I think the answer is somewhere in between. The good news is, like hundreds of people before you, I can teach you how to become a world-class cold caller in no time. The bad news is the most important ingredients to cold call success are the things that I cannot teach, namely confidence, discipline, and patience.
When individuals feel they only have one shot to make a favorable impression and secure the appointment on the initial cold call, they put an incredible amount of pressure on themselves, tense up, don’t think clearly, and, more often than not, the call does not go according to plan.
The fallacy that I want you to be mindful of is this: you only have one shot to make a successful cold call. Not only is this incorrect, in fact, you have dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of chances. What do I mean by this?
Sometimes it makes sense to cold call the decision maker directly, whereas other times it does not. For argument’s sake, let’s assume we aspire to get inside Acme Corporation so that we can become a known commodity, gather invaluable intelligence, and start the process of bringing a value add proposition to them.
Since the decision maker is the one who will eventually sign off on hiring us, we decide to call her first. She shuts us down after four seconds and we have nothing more than a dial tone ringing in our ears. Are we done? Is all hope lost? Shall we pack up our belongings and start looking for suitable employment? Heck no!
We now re-train our focus on another person in the organization for whom we can reach out to. We notice that this business has 14 members of their sales department. One by one, over a certain period of time, we reach out to them individually via cold calling in an effort to schedule an appointment with them. Alas, we still cannot get our scripts down right, and all 14 reject our advances.
Certainly, we must now relegate this business to the dustbin of history as they will surely not give us the time of day at this juncture, correct? Wrong again!
We notice that this organization has four individuals in their IT Department, as well. Based upon the functionality of said department, we feel that they could potentially benefit from a conversation with us and might find value in taking an appointment. We then set our sights on calling those four individuals in the hopes that they will agree to meet with us.
In case it is not yet registering with you, let me be blunt: you have an incredible amount of opportunities per organization in which to cold call and get an appointment scheduled. Your success and/or failure does not rest on one single, solitary phone call, but rather on a multitude of opportunities within the confines of a single organization spread out over many individuals and departments.
Terrorism is discussed a lot in the news these days and I certainly am not saying the two are comparable by any means, but I have heard it said that law enforcement needs to get it right 10 times out of 10, but the terrorists only need to get it right once. In cold calling, you, the cold caller, only need to get it right once!
The organization needs to block you from gaining access to their institution repeatedly. The individuals you reach out to need to constantly be rejecting your calls and advances. The organization needs to fortify its walls, reinforce its doors, and put their entire staff on alert 24/7 to keep you out. It is much, much, much more difficult for them to achieve their goal than it is for you to achieve yours.
Keep this in mind the next time you go to pick up the phone. What if they say no? So what! We have many more opportunities to get inside their walls and only have to get it right once.
So relax, have fun, and watch how many appointments you schedule just by virtue of the fact that you are not tense and that your natural, charming self is coming through.
Oh, and by the way, Snowball is perfectly fine!