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Pundits and Pestering

March 25, 2012
Mary Jane Copps

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There are a lot of business pundits out there that believe salespeople and entrepreneurs should abandon cold calling as a method of finding customers. 

I’m not one of them! 

I believe in the power of the cold call. It has been a reliable and prosperous building tool for me since 1987. While the specifics of how to reach people and what to say have certainly changed over the years (and continue to do so), the results have not. Picking up the phone and talking with potential customers always results in revenue.  

This, along with feedback I’ve received from clients over the past 6 years, forms the foundation of my workshop “Ring Ring” I Am Cold Calling! Each participant receives everything they need to pick up the phone and start talking to their target market – and increasing their revenue. 

It really works and, much to my delight, I’m reminded of this quite often. A few days ago this message arrived in my inbox:  

“I’m happy to report that I just got a contract, thanks to your instructions on not giving up. After nearly two weeks of good-humored perseverance, and relying on the confidence based on knowing that I’ve got worthwhile services that customers do need, I got some work. This stuff works.” 

If you – or perhaps someone you know – want to find out more about how cold calling can work for you, I do have a few spots left in two upcoming workshops. One is in Fredericton this week – Friday March 30. The other is in the Valley (Cornwallis) next week – Wednesday April 4. 

More details and the registration form can be found here: http://www.thephonelady.ca/registration/. Drop-down menus reveal workshop specifics and more testimonials. 

Please do pass this information along as I’d love to fill each workshop to capacity. Thanks! 

Last week’s post on follow up sparked numerous conversations for me during the week. While for many people, picking up the phone to make the initial call is the hardest part of prospecting, based on what I’m hearing, I’m beginning to think that follow up is the most difficult part of the process. 

Everyone – and I mean everyone – worries about being a pest. They allow this to prevent them from doing the necessary, professional follow up that converts a potential customer to a customer. 

I admit, there’s a fine line between follow up and pestering. Distinguishing between the two cannot be found in what you say but rather in what you hear. 

Some examples: 

1) If someone expresses interest in your product or service in your first call but then doesn’t respond to your next few messages, that doesn’t mean they’ve lost interest – it means they are really, really busy! Experience has shown me that it is important to have faith in that initial interest; 80% to 90% of prospects want to have the second conversation and are relying on your professionalism to make it happen. 

2) If someone tells you they are not interested “right now”, that’s your cue to follow up. A pest will follow up without getting agreement about “when”. Ask your prospects what works for them. Suggest that you will provide them with an update in 3 months, 6 months, a year (depending on your product or service), then get their reaction. Whatever you agree on, make sure you have proper reminders in place to make the follow up happen. 

3)People change jobs, organizations and companies change direction. You are never a pest if you follow up annually with prospects in your target market. 

4)Pests are salespeople who try to sell outside their target market. It is possible for any of us to make an error and contact someone for whom our product or service is not a fit. When this happens – stop calling. Listen to them, believe them and stop calling them. 

There must be other examples that illustrate the difference between follow up and pestering. Do you know one? It would be great if you’d share! 

Two last thoughts (courtesy of Dale Carnegie): 

“You can earn a commission using a sales technique and closing a sale. You can earn a fortune building friendships and relationships.” 

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people.” 

Enjoy your phonework! TPL

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