After hearing from clients, friends and colleagues that it was a “must see” for me, I recently took the time to watch The Wolf of Wall Street. While it doesn’t fit my taste in films, it does include some wonderful dialogue on the use of the telephone and … it reminded me of my own experience of Black Monday – October 19 1987.
Black Monday occured two weeks after I started my first business, and it was the first day my business partner and I started cold calling. Yikes! And things didn’t get better quickly.
You see, after several years of working as a journalist and doing hundreds of interviews on the phone, I had made the assumption (Assumptions do get us into some interesting places, don’t they?) that these skills were all I needed to sell something. I was so wrong.
My journey to growing that company and to embracing the sales process was not easy. I have to admit, in those first six months, I cried a lot. I don’t think I was afraid, but I was definitely frustrated.
Two things had to happen for me to embrace – and enjoy – the cold calling sales process: 1) I had to change my language on the phone. (I’ve shared a lot of this information in previous posts, such as this one); and 2) I had to change my mind. In order to pick up that phone between 60 and 100 times a day (these were my numbers for many, many years) I had to think about the task in a different way. (Here’s how I kept metrics in those days – one day with over 100 calls.)
As exemplified in The Wolf of Wall Street, I thought of sales as something pushy, sleazy, unethical. Again … I was so wrong.
The more calls I made, the more I realized that, for my prospects, my call was valuable. Whether they decided to purchase from me or not, the vast majority of them appreciated the information. They genuinely wanted to know what we were doing and how it might help them.
In other words, my cold call was a service to my prospects. Your’s are too. When you don’t communicate the information on your product or service, you are actually preventing your prospects from making the best possible decisions for themselves.
Here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s say I know about a company that has a sales team on the phone making outbound calls. Several times a year management makes decisions on how they should spend the training budget. If my information isn’t on the table, they are not – cannot – making the best possible decision because they don’t have all the variables. It’s not about whether they hire me or not – it’s about my providing them with necessary information.
Your #1 job as a salesperson or entrepreneur is to let your target market know you exist. For many of you, cold calling should/needs to be part of how you make this happen. And when you do it well, you are actually providing a service – which is the absolute best way to begin a new business relationship.
Enjoy your phone work everyone!