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Cold Calling Methodology

I'm in B2B sales, with startup company. While I make some "cold calls" on the phone to new, target prospects, I also am making as many outside calls as I can fit into a day. That being said, typically I go into company, introduce myself and company, and ask who handles purchasing of my product. Occasionally I'll end up talking to the owner/decision maker, but more often than not I'm simply getting referred to name/contact info for buyer. So I leave my literature, then follow up with a phonecall a few days later. Is this what everyone else is doing, or are you just cold calling by phone? What happens on YOUR initial outside calls? - by Ms.Sales
I'm in B2B sales, with startup company. While I make some "cold calls" on the phone to new, target prospects, I also am making as many outside calls as I can fit into a day. That being said, typically I go into company, introduce myself and company, and ask who handles purchasing of my product. Occasionally I'll end up talking to the owner/decision maker, but more often than not I'm simply getting referred to name/contact info for buyer. So I leave my literature, then follow up with a phonecall a few days later. Is this what everyone else is doing, or are you just cold calling by phone? What happens on YOUR initial outside calls?
What is the purpose of your cold call?

To make a sale? To set up a meeting with the decision maker? To set up the next step? To collect information?

If I make a "cold" call, it is generally for the purpose of setting up the next step. The information I collect will help me define the next step.

You MUST have an objective for any call. Selling is an incremental process. That is what top sales people do. - by Ace Coldiron
Ace, the purpose of my cold call is to get an appointment so that I can introduce my company, and do needs assessment, then ultimately present appropriate product, then sell it.

But my primary question here is what are YOU doing on a cold call, and how are you doing it (by phone or in person). Again, what happens on YOUR outside calls, or are you making them this way? - by Ms.Sales
Ace, the purpose of my cold call is to get an appointment so that I can introduce my company, and do needs assessment, then ultimately present appropriate product, then sell it.

But my primary question here is what are YOU doing on a cold call, and how are you doing it (by phone or in person). Again, what happens on YOUR outside calls, or are you making them this way?
Lost another post.... this is REALLY FRUSTRATING...

Ok... shorter version... We do it by phone... 90%.

We ask for the Appointment right off.

"Good Morning Mr/Ms Mostrelevantpersontomenow, my name is tom Pleasegoaway with AFLAC/Transamerica/Assurity.

The reason for my call is I'd like to make an appointment with you in order to get your opinion on whether or not an Employee Paid Benefit Plan would make sense for you and your company.

Is there sometime later this morning that we could get together so that I may share this with you for your evaluation say maybe 10:00?

Mr/Ms Relevant: What's this about again?

Us: "I'd like your help in determining whether or not providing your employees the opportunity to purchase through Payroll Deduction, benefits of their choosing that they pay for themselves would have a positive impact on your company as it has for thousands of others. I won't take up much of your time, about what it would take for us to have a cup of coffee actually, and if you feel this won't benefit your company positively, I'll help you walk me out the door... fair enough? How about 10:00.. would that be convenient or is there another more convenient time today?"

This is us... I don't know if this was what you were looking for, but we don't lose sight of the prize and we avoid like the plague getting into discussion on the phone.

Aloha.... Tom shds; ;bg - by rattus58
Yep, you got it, rattus - exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

Since I've been away from the sales world for about 5 years, I know a lot has changed - I mean who would've thought that Twitter and YouTube would've had a part in Iranian dissent! Anyway, I digress... My underlying concern is this - is B2B cold-calling IN PERSON still relevant? I'm not getting much up-to-date direction from our Director, so I don't want to waste my time if most "cold calls" are done by phone these days. I get pretty good results either way. - by Ms.Sales
My B2B calls in person, are few and far between. Generally if I meet someone for the first time face to face, it is a referral and those, if possible, I like to see first hand to introduce myself.

My approach is generally the same, to sell the appointment. I get all sorts of excuses by people as to why I can't see the boss, but what works for me half the time is...

Ok look... I know he's busy, so am I. This is why I would like to schedule an appointment with him. Would you be so kind as to give me the courtesy of asking him if I may see him for two minutes.

If I get more stalls, I've asked... Maam... I know he's busy, will YOU get me on his schedule say two weeks down the road from today? And I don't want to call him in two weeks to schedule, because his schedule will have filled up again by then, but two weeks down the road will give us both time to prepare for our short meeting.. Would you please do that for me? I'll wait here till you get back... sn;

Sometimes we've been stonewalled... and I've taken up the deeds of the old Don himself, and taken a run full tilt to the windmill... Sometimes its just fun to see how many pieces you can splinter the old joust into.....

Aloha... Tom shds; ;bg - by rattus58
I was just reading an old thread here titled "Are social networks the last nail in the coffin for cold calling?" - and I think this is exactly what I'm thinking about when I wonder if B2B cold calling (in person and on phone) is passe. As I'm strategizing getting good prospects into my "pipeline" I think that poster's ideas on social networking vs. cold calling are on-target. I hope to be more competitive than my competition who is still reading Zig Zigler instead of being on LInkedIn. You can't reach today's consumer, I don't think, unless you're up to date. - by Ms.Sales
I think that networking is definitely an important aspect of prospecting. The more you can spread your influence I think the better. All of this of course takes time. Nothing is "Passe" in sales or we'd all be out of a job due to the internet... and there is just no substitute for personal service... don't believe me... call any of the major computer companies with a bomay call center... :)

Much Aloha... Tom shds; ;bg - by rattus58
Well, many sales jobs HAVE actually been lost to the internet. Personal service is certainly important for many purchasing situations, but many do prefer buying products on internet - easy to find the right information, no pressure, extremely competitive pricing, and on and on. So I'm distinguishing "networking" from "social networks/media" like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Through social media I am seeing that many businesses are reaching people who've "tuned out" to typical sales practices. So, I hope to harness this social media animal to my advantage. - by Ms.Sales
Well, many sales jobs HAVE actually been lost to the internet. Personal service is certainly important for many purchasing situations, but many do prefer buying products on internet - easy to find the right information, no pressure, extremely competitive pricing, and on and on. So I'm distinguishing "networking" from "social networks/media" like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Through social media I am seeing that many businesses are reaching people who've "tuned out" to typical sales practices. So, I hope to harness this social media animal to my advantage.
I'm agreeing with you.... However, I think I'd have to distinguish what is lost on the internet. People buy term insurance on the internet that cuts us out completely, however, we're still selling, and that is because the public is not savvy about insurance in a general sense.

I closed up an Archery Shop due to competition from the Cabela's of this world, but those who buy online who need to "fix" something have a major hassle in getting er done.

I believe in all kinds of networking and although you're right in saying that jobs have been lost to the internet, those jobs lost are probably, if you want to look at it properly, jobs that were still there because of the mom and pop syndrome, and were not really efficient or even necessary in the first place.

Walmart has a benefit plan for their employees that sells them cancer and I believe accident insurance. This is an ONLINE sale only for walmart employees. Probably saved Walmart several millions in enrollment costs each year, but from what I understand, had less than a 10% penetration. This doesn't do anyone anygood. Business to Business means you take care of business.

Networking, like referrals, in MY OPINION, is the stronger approach to sales than cold calling and would encourage sales people to get started. I don't know how well twitter and such would help, but like they say for the "artiste's" any exposure is good exposure, even if its only your mug shot... :)

Aloha.... shds; ;bg - by rattus58
I was just reading an old thread here titled "Are social networks the last nail in the coffin for cold calling?" - and I think this is exactly what I'm thinking about when I wonder if B2B cold calling (in person and on phone) is passe. As I'm strategizing getting good prospects into my "pipeline" I think that poster's ideas on social networking vs. cold calling are on-target. I hope to be more competitive than my competition who is still reading Zig Zigler instead of being on LInkedIn. You can't reach today's consumer, I don't think, unless you're up to date.
Selling is and always will be about moving product. Toward that end the impact of social networks , i.e., Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. remains to be seen. I don't read Zig Ziglar but I doubt that engaging the pipelines and reading Ziglar are mutually exclusive.

I do know that within a short period of time, SalesPractice will open discussions on social networking with some experts in that new field. Hopefully, we can all gain insight without compromising a discerning eye. - by Ace Coldiron
While social media is still young, I do know many are successfully and efficiently driving new clients to their businesses that way. An analogy is how Obama harnessed the power of new technology and social media and absolutely smoked McCain (who stated he doesn't even email!!). There must be a parallel in sales cold-calling methodology (past vs up-to-date).

This is why I'm asking in this forum HOW people are cold-calling B2B - or how their methodology has changed or been updated in last few years. When I was in (B2B) sales over 5 years ago, I was required to make a certain number of in-person cold calls each week, and was successful at it (and even enjoyed it). But I'm not sure it's as relevant or productive these days; I might get same or better results by phone cold-calling and/or social networking. - by Ms.Sales
Oh, and one more analogy, if you will, for "past vs up-to-date" methods. Twenty or thirty years ago, people regularly opened their doors to door-to-door sales people. But that has changed drastically - most people would never allow a salesperson in their home in today's world. Not B2B analogy, but you see what I mean. Plus most people will not put up with residential telemarketing calls anymore (witness the do-not-call lists). So businesses must find new, more modern ways of driving clients to their products. - by Ms.Sales
Not B2B analogy, but you see what I mean.
I agree that it's not a B2B analogy, but I don't see what you mean. I sense that you've chosen a premise that there is an "up-to-date" methodology for cold calling businesses and you'd like to find out what it is. If you yourself are searching for the "how", I'm wondering what you base your premise on. There have always been tweaks to every activity as time passes. That holds true for cold calling. The bottom line remains the same as before. Some people in sales will be good at it. The majority will not. - by Ace Coldiron
I agree that it's not a B2B analogy, but I don't see what you mean. I sense that you've chosen a premise that there is an "up-to-date" methodology for cold calling businesses and you'd like to find out what it is. If you yourself are searching for the "how", I'm wondering what you base your premise on. There have always been tweaks to every activity as time passes. That holds true for cold calling. The bottom line remains the same as before. Some people in sales will be good at it. The majority will not.

I'm searching for "methodology" of new, up-to-date cold-calling techniques, clearly understanding there are "tweaks" - I'd like to know, from others, what exactly those tweaks are. Of course, some people in sales will be good and others not - that really has nothing to do with my question.

And let me explain my analogy further: those who used to go door to door find that homeowners won't let them in, SO....their companies, I'm sure have found other "methodologies" to prospect that homeowner. And further yet, telemarketers used to be able to prospect many more prospects by phone; because of do not call list, they must find other ways to prospect (like direct mail, etc.). While it's not a B2B analogy, it certainly IS an analogy for my question/premise. - by Ms.Sales
Ms.Sales.... :)

I'm getting the impression that what you're looking for IS actually a silver bullet. Telemarketers telemarket, when they can't, you have two choices.... mail or media.

When Real Estate people can't go door to door, and around here they still do, they find other ways to find the owners... most of it through good old fashioned prospecting.

When it comes to "mail or media" it seems to me you've got two options there too... passive or agressive... you can cast a net... and hope to snare those seeking a service or item, or you can get in their face, via television.

Companies like AFLAC have joined twitter, to get their "brand" out there and involve people in AFLACTS in order to stimulate business... so I guess it comes down to what level are you suggesting?

Advertising costs money. Do you have it? Many of us don't have those resources. What's left? Innovative prospecting! Personally I feel that for Business to Business, you're most successful when you're standing in front of him or her and having an honest dialog about your product or service.

Aloha.... shds; ;bg - by rattus58
Of course, some people in sales will be good and others not - that really has nothing to do with my question.
It has everything to do with your question.

The masters of just about any practice seldom pluralize "technique". Tactics will not work without the skill sets to use them properly. On this forum you will find literally many hundreds of posts from people who needed help with their "cold calling" scripts or strategy, and responses to their queries that number in the thousands. Those responses varied in value from world class advice to awful. You would be hardpressed to find anyone who came back to this site reporting significant success with what they supposedly adopted from the advice. It's unfortunate, but you can't grab effectiveness and efficiency out of a forum post or a tip. It comes from practice and awareness.

Your posts are filled with assumptions and you seem to want answers based on your own conceptions. The glaring assumption is that B2B selling, with regard to APPROACH, has changed somehow--an interesting observation from someone who has been out of B2B selling for five years. You support it with a model that you wrongly call an analogy that is about B2C selling. You seem to be at a loss to furnish an example from B2B. Somehow you guessed that your competition has Zig Ziglar training, and somehow you assumed that Ziglar's motivational material would impair your competition's ability to compete successfully against you once you find whatever you're looking for.

Cold calling is a term that has been beaten to death. The fundamentals of selling require an APPROACH, strategically devised and tested and finessed. Strategy means having an objective, and somehow you missed that point earlier. Without a clear objective, you can't advance the selling process.

Approach means people approaching people. Whether by phone, or in person, it is the practice and the skill sets that make it work. Experts work very hard at developing their approach strategy. Some, who teach such strategies (Chris Lytle, Jacques Werth, etc.) have made their methods available through books and courses. Learning their methods still takes work. - by Ace Coldiron
Sorry, I thought this was a pretty simple question, but it has turned into a debate. I'll seek my answers elsewhere. Good luck to you. - by Ms.Sales
Sorry, I thought this was a pretty simple question, but it has turned into a debate. I'll seek my answers elsewhere. Good luck to you.
I can see your frustration... you are asking people to share how they approach the issue - instead you are getting lectures on how you should view the issue.

thmbdn2; - by neto-
I can see your frustration... you are asking people to share how they approach the issue - instead you are getting lectures on how you should view the issue.

thmbdn2;
Who would you say is "lecturing" here? This is a thread on cold calling methodology, ie: how do you cold call. Somehow, this evolved into an "if you cannot cold call, how do you contact clients?" which in my estimation is a PROSPECTING question, not one of technique for cold calling.

Much Aloha,

Tom shds; ;bg - by rattus58
Who would you say is "lecturing" here? This is a thread on cold calling methodology, ie: how do you cold call. Somehow, this evolved into an "if you cannot cold call, how do you contact clients?" which in my estimation is a PROSPECTING question, not one of technique for cold calling.

Much Aloha,

Tom shds; ;bg
It looked to me like Ms. Sales asked a simple question - how do others approach b2b cold calling.

In all the rhetoric I see few answers to the question. - by neto-
It looked to me like Ms. Sales asked a simple question - how do others approach b2b cold calling.

In all the rhetoric I see few answers to the question.

(Someone asking for kokua.. getting junk!)
He Neto.... :)

Her initial question I felt was straightforward enough, and I answered her as best I knew how, given my limited experience. However, her scope broadened out, in my perception anyway, to a broadened, and less specific, category of parameters that I felt drifted away from cold calling.

It is very difficult for me, for example to be talking to myself, which happens here a lot. Someone asks a questions then bails on the discussion, as it appears this lady did too. If you have questions ask them, and if someone answers, engage them or others, that way you get more perspective, and more of us get to benefit by the ideas of others as well.

I was disappointed when this lady decided to quit the discussion. This didn't help her, or anyone else engaged in the discussion... and further, if you think I or anyone else is "lecturing", a simple, as my wife tells me, "if this is a lecture coming on, I don't remember signing up for the class!" would probably suffice.

Aloha... shds; ;bg - by rattus58
Yep, you got it, rattus - exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

Since I've been away from the sales world for about 5 years, I know a lot has changed - I mean who would've thought that Twitter and YouTube would've had a part in Iranian dissent! Anyway, I digress... My underlying concern is this - is B2B cold-calling IN PERSON still relevant? I'm not getting much up-to-date direction from our Director, so I don't want to waste my time if most "cold calls" are done by phone these days. I get pretty good results either way.
I think the quantity of prospects you could contact would be higher with the phone but the quality of the interaction would be better in-person making it very relevant. - by Seth
I think the quantity of prospects you could contact would be higher with the phone but the quality of the interaction would be better in-person making it very relevant.
Hi Seth .. :),

I don't think anyone disagrees with you. Here is my question about cold calling in person. What is the objective of the call? Is the objective to meet the owner and see him then and there, or to introduce yourself and set an appointment for later on. In my opinion, you are to be prepared for either. He might just say, I've got a few minutes come on in let me see whatcha got.

Be prepared. Prospecting and cold calling are in my opinion entwined. Personally I don't like to "cold call" in person. I've had success with it and I've had disappointment with it. I've had much better luck dropping in on a client of which I've done some study first.... my bosses used to call that a "qualified" prospect. That was the guy you wanted to call on.

I ask everyone I know if I can see them. I keep at it, and that helps. That to me is a form of prospecting. If they say yes, that's a cold call.... :)

Aloha... shds; ;bg - by rattus58
Prospecting and cold calling are in my opinion entwined. Personally I don't like to "cold call" in person. I've had success with it and I've had disappointment with it. I've had much better luck dropping in on a client of which I've done some study first.... my bosses used to call that a "qualified" prospect. That was the guy you wanted to call on.
Prospecting in my opinion is all about finding potential customers and cold calling (Cold calling is the process of approaching prospective customers or clients, typically via telephone, who were not expecting such an interaction.- Wikipedia) is one way of doing that. It only makes sense to focus your calls, in-person or via telephone, on those prospects with the highest probability of becoming customers. - by Seth
I can see your frustration... you are asking people to share how they approach the issue - instead you are getting lectures on how you should view the issue.
She DID get answers. They apparently were not compatible with her preconceived notions. "Lectures" is your word. Advice on "how you should view the issue" is critical to how you should "approach the issue."

If you can't see the relativity of "objective", which both Tom and I brought into the discussion, then I can understand the frustration on both of your parts.

BTW, aside from thumbs down commentary on others' responses to what you view as a simple question, I didn't see you coming up with an answer. - by Ace Coldiron
She DID get answers. They apparently were not compatible with her preconceived notions. "Lectures" is your word. Advice on "how you should view the issue" is critical to how you should "approach the issue."

If you can't see the relativity of "objective", which both Tom and I brought into the discussion, then I can understand the frustration on both of your parts.

BTW, aside from thumbs down commentary on others' responses to what you view as a simple question, I didn't see you coming up with an answer.
Sorry Ace - I think the confusion is yours.

Ms. Sales asked for examples. Not advice. She reaffirmed that request more than once.

Since I had no examples to offer (My business is b2b - but I do zero cold calling.) I opted out. - by neto-
I was just reading an old thread here titled "Are social networks the last nail in the coffin for cold calling?" - and I think this is exactly what I'm thinking about when I wonder if B2B cold calling (in person and on phone) is passe. As I'm strategizing getting good prospects into my "pipeline" I think that poster's ideas on social networking vs. cold calling are on-target. I hope to be more competitive than my competition who is still reading Zig Zigler instead of being on LInkedIn. You can't reach today's consumer, I don't think, unless you're up to date.
Social networking and cold calling have been around a very long time and both are just effective today as they have been in the past and will be in the future. It is not about technology it is and always will be about interaction! - by Seth
Ms. Sales asked for examples. Since I had no examples to offer (My business is b2b - but I do zero cold calling.) I opted out.

THANK YOU NETO_ !! Somebody finally "got" what I was asking!! Both of your posts were EXACTLY correct. I'm still "lurking". Got to go back to work; will check in later to see if some have some new ideas on my methodology questions. Thanks again, neto- you're awesome! - by Ms.Sales
Here is my question about cold calling in person. What is the objective of the call? Is the objective to meet the owner and see him then and there, or to introduce yourself and set an appointment for later on.
I believe your objective is to set up the next step. If the next step is available at the time, then take it. But it is still one step at a time.

Your Action Selling Training shows. - by Gary A Boye
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