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The Cold Call – It’s Essential Research

April 17, 2016
Mary Jane Copps

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Attractive serious student using tablet in library

I recently received a phone call from a woman working for Pitney Bowes. Her call was the  4th or 5th call I’ve received from the company this year. She wanted to sell/lease me a postage meter. (When I mentioned these calls to the young participants in a workshop, they asked in unison “What’s a postage meter?”) I’m certainly familiar with the value of a postage meter. In my first business, we did A LOT of direct mail, and our postage meter was as important as our fax machine. But today? For The Phone Lady? I have absolutely no need for a postage meter.

This is what we all visualize when we hear the phrase “cold calling”. A phone call that has absolutely no value, that is an interruption, that causes the prospect to be annoyed or impatient. But that’s not what I do – have done for 29 years. And that’s not  what you need to be doing. Calls like this aren’t inspiring or fun – they are simply and only about the numbers. (I wonder how many people the Pitney Bowes representatives have to reach to generate one valid lead? Waaaaay too many is my guess.)

For me, my cold call to a prospect is the last step of my research process, and this is what makes it exciting. I discovered my love of research back in high school, when I would choose esoteric topics for essays and then spend countless hours proving my theory. (Things like hope existing in Lord of the Flies or how Jimmy Carter’s presidential race was similar to that of John F. Kennedy.) And I  carried this into my career as a journalist and an entrepreneur.

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When I phone a prospect, my research has indicated (not proven) that my services are a good fit, that there’s a direct benefit to the prospect to work with me. But proving my theory? I can’t do that without a conversation. All the elements of conversation are vital to my research – tone of voice, nuance, speed, the questions that arise, the way the conversation ends – everything.

For a variety of reasons, some of which I shared with you in last week’s post, my call often proves my theory incorrect, similar to my student days when my unusual essay topics earned me a decent mark but little praise from my teachers.

But equally often, I’m right. The prospect is interested, excited and pleased that I called. With over 70% of my revenue coming from repeat clients, this first phone call is usually  the beginning of a long relationship – so what’s not to like about the process? I look forward to the time I spend cold calling. I clear off my desk, make a mug of tea or coffee and dial my way into interesting conversations.

As always, I encourage you to do the same.

This post was inspired by feedback I received from Steve Foran of Gratitude at Work, and by It’s Time to Sell by Chris Spurvey. Thanks to you both.

If there’s something you’d like me to share in a blog post, please let me know in the comment section below. 

Enjoy your phone work everyone!

What’s The Phone Lady Doing? 

April 18 – Crafting an Awesome Phone Pitch, Backman Vidcom, Halifax

April 19 – Train the Trainer, TD Canada Trust    , Toronto, ON (Tele-training session)

April 19 – Phone Fear to Phone Fabulous, CBDC NOBL, New Glasgow, NS

April 20 – Telephone Talent, RBC, Ottawa, ON (Tele-training session)

April 20 – Telephone Sales Skills, The Oyster Group, Dartmouth, NS

April 21 – Telephone Excellence, Nature Conservancy of Canada (Tele-training sessions)

April 25 – Phone Fear to Phone Fabulous, CBDC NOBL, Truro, NS

April 29 – Create Consistent Revenue, Advanced Management  & Mentorship Program, Centre for Women in Business, Halifax

May 2 – Communication Skills for the Phone Fearful, Options Work, Halifax

May 4 – Telephone Talent, RBC, Ottawa, ON (Tele-training session)

May 5 – Phone Skills for Job Search &  On The Job, Older Wiser Labourforce (OWL), Halifax, NS

May 11 – Ring Into Spring: A Full-Day Workshop on Crafting  & Executing Your Sales Plan (8 participants only), Halifax

May 12  – Phone Fear to Phone Fabulous, CBDC Cumberland, Amherst, NS

Mary 25 – Phone Skills for Job Search and on the Job, Teamwork Cooperative/The Workbridge, Halifax, NS

May 26 – Creating Powerful Conversations – On the Phone!, Canadian Credit Union Association, CUSource, (Tele-training session)

May 31 – Understanding Accents – Creating Conversation, Canadian Credit Union Association, CUSource, (Tele-training session)

June 7 – Create Consistent Revenue –  CEED, Halifax, NS

June 14 – Phone Fear to Phone Fabulous, CEED, Halifax, NS

July 20 – Phone Fear to Phone Fabulous, CEED, Halifax, NS

September 13 – Phone Fear to Phone Fabulous, CEED, Halifax, NS

October 19 – Phone Fear to Phone Fabulous, CEED, Halifax, NS

November 30 – Phone Fear to Phone Fabulous, CEED, Halifax, NS

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Natasha says:

    Always astounding me with your brilliance, Mary Jane! That was quite the topic for History 551. I’m sure I would learn a heck of a lot from all your high school essays!

    Great post about the secret of cold calling…that it’s not really cold!

    And LOVE this: All the elements of conversation are vital to my research – tone of voice, nuance, speed, the questions that arise, the way the conversation ends – everything.

    🙂

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Thanks so much, Natasha. It was fun to dig out that paper and include it in the post. Of course, it is likely time I let go of all those high school papers!

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