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Unusual Product Cold Call Help

Hello Everyone!!!

My name is Andy and I'm the marketing director of a Clinical and Forensic Psychology firm. We have recently started to focus more in the business field and have augmented our products and offerings more towards businesses rather than individuals. Word of mouth and past clients / repeat customers have been good but we need more.

So my sales / marketing background immediately goes to cold calling. Extensive and inexpensive in the long run. The only problem is we don't have a "normal" product to sell to the companies and it is hard to relate our product to someone over the phone, but a drop in cold call is even harder since we need to see someone in charge.

We offer a variety of services including the following:

Risk Assessments - used to identify underlying emotional or psychological factors that will influence an employees ability to perform their work duties. Also in this, we break them down into fitness for duty and return to work based on if they are being evaluated to stay at work or evaluated to return to work. They are all done in a business fashion, avoiding the insanity of the medical referral system. We see people within 24 hours if needed, have a verbal report to the superior within 24 hours of completion and a written report within 48 hours, providing a release is authorized.

LifeGuide Interventions - these are intense preventative and crisis-level interventions that are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Can involve but are not limited to hostile work environment, problem solution / prevention, crisis and conflict management but can also be augmented to the companies specific need.

We also offer business based evaluations for the function and stability of the work force including but not limited to , Business Pre-Hires, Public Safety Pre-Hire, Individual and Team Coaching with extensive reporting, 360 degree evaluations as well as educational seminars and services.


That is the basis of our offerings. Now I have worked in printing, car rental (the ultimate sales rite of passage) as well as retail and I have always had a product with a competitor as well as one that was easily relatable. But unfortunately this product is one that a select few at an organization will find relevant and on top of that the ones that do might not see the need in it. I have tried many tactics but it seems to be getting me no where.

I would greatly appreciate any cold calling suggestions on how to go about qualifying my cold calling prospects for such a specific purpose as well as getting to someone and having the ability and the time to share the needed information to get that follow up appointment without giving them too much to say no without a presentation but giving them enough to keep their interest in continuing.



Thank You,
Andy - by C&AMarketing
Talking in terms of the prospect's interest... what's in it for the customer? How would they benefit from using one or all of these services? - by Seth
I've got the value and needs assessment aspect of it. And can relate it well to someone whom is receptive or has the time to listen so they can grasp it. But getting through the gatekeepers with the information to get to the appropriate individuals is difficult to say the least because they don't see it as useful, or even understandable. It is really something that HR and upper management would be interested in and even understand so I tend to get shrugged off at the gate due to the fact that they don't understand the validity of the service.

My other stop point is that we are running into an issue of our product being a preventative or fix measure. Ours is an in case of emergency or in case of problem product, not a use us and you will build your revenue exponentially. And in today's economy that is really hard to sell to someone, talking the what ifs, not the if you use this you will prosper more.

Now in reality the people are the core of the business, and without people the business won't prosper but a lot of people are in a "if it's not broke, don't fix it" aspect and they have been handling these things internally, and most likely, as far as employee rights are concerned, have been handled inappropriately. - by C&AMarketing
My gut feeling, based on what you have said, is that a simple cold calling initiative will not work for you. I think you have to be receptive to "stretching out" your approach and break it into a series of steps.

A first step could consist of what is called "a seed." Generally it describes a package (white paper or press release are examples) of material that would be pertinent to the recipient (decision maker).

If you're receptive to that, I'll share some other steps that could put you on your way. - by Ace Coldiron
Yes I am very interested in that. Anything to avoid the unnerving silence on the other end of the line as the person either A) has no idea what your talking about not matter how I put it, or B) they lose interest before you can elaborate enough for them to understand it. - by C&AMarketing
Hi.

What would be a common situation that your potential customers find themselves in....that YOU could solve for them?

Once you have established one of these situations (focus on only one to start with) you could try saying something like....

"Could I just ask you......what is your company policy when you discover that someone you've just employed turns out to be totally unsuitable for the position you have placed them in?"

Listen to the answer then ask . . .

"I have something that may save you an awful lot of soul searching and angst when you are thinking of employing someone new. Would you be open to discussing the possibilities?"

Then try for the appointment.

Hope that helps - by helisell
I have to say this is one of the most responsive and helpful forums I have ever been a member of. Thanks all.

Now, to ask for more. HAHA.

I was wondering if you all would take and potentially critique my script? It is still in its early stages, due to the fact that it hasn't really worked yet. Now from my research into my product and companies it seems that talking to anyone other than the HR department regarding my product would be useless. Correct me if I am wrong.

Good Morning,

May I speak to the person who is in charge of your human resources department?

-----

Good morning!
My name is Andy and I am with C&A in Charleston. I am calling to see how we can help you with your employee issues and was hoping I caught you at a good time to ask you a few questions?

What is your standard procedure if an employee acts out or starts to behave unusually?
Really? well we have ...... that can be of help in that arena.

How do you handle your evaluations of employees during the hiring process? Once they are employees for review or documentation?
Really? well we offer ...... that can streamline the process a great deal and provide thorough and precise results for review.

I would really like to sit down and talk with you about this and more we can offer. What works better for you mornings or afternoons?

How about Tuesday at 10am?

Great, I will follow up with you the beginning of the week to confirm and look forward to showing you all that we can offer you.


Please tear it apart as needed. I am very long winded sometimes, and find myself at ease talking in person but the phone still bewilders me a little. I have no problem walking in and talking to someone but have found that the companies I have called on will not let you in without some form of appointment.


Andy - by C&AMarketing
Good morning!

My name is Andy and I am with C&A in Charleston. I am calling to see how we can help you with your employee issues and was hoping I caught you at a good time to ask you a few questions?

Presumptive. Who said they have employee "issues?"

What is your standard procedure if an employee acts out or starts to behave unusually?

You won't get an answer to such an intrusive question after a few seconds of introduction.

Get rid of "really?". Never use that.

How do you handle your evaluations of employees during the hiring process? Once they are employees for review or documentation?
Really? well we offer ...... that can streamline the process a great deal and provide thorough and precise results for review.

You're going into the interview. Your objective is to get the appointment!


I would really like to sit down and talk with you about this and more we can offer. What works better for you mornings or afternoons?

How about Tuesday at 10am?

Great, I will follow up with you the beginning of the week to confirm and look forward to showing you all that we can offer you.


Nope--it increases the chance that they will use that proposal of follow-up as a convenient time to cancel the appointment.

NOTE: I was about ready to send you additional steps as we discussed, but I see you've opted for straight cold call. Good luck to you! - by Ace Coldiron
Stop telling them what you can offer. At this stage you have no idea if you can offer them anything.

You'll need to lead in with something a lot less intrusive.

How about...

Hello there.... I wonder if you could help me?
(wait for an answer....I MEAN REALLY WAIT)

I'm Andy with C&A in Charleston.

I've been tasked with contacting companies who might have potential staffing problems like....maybe an employee starts acting oddly or other issues like new starts not turning out to be totally suitable . . .

The problem is, I'm not really sure who I should be speaking to...
who would be the best person to speak to there?

As you get through to the right person I suggest you REPEAT EXACTLY the opening phrases you just used.

When they volunteer that they are the right person you can ask a few more qulifying questions and go for the appointment.

Do NOT try to sell anything other than the appointment at this stage.

Good luck - by helisell
Good morning!

My name is Andy and I am with C&A in Charleston. I am calling to see how we can help you with your employee issues and was hoping I caught you at a good time to ask you a few questions?

Presumptive. Who said they have employee "issues?"

What is your standard procedure if an employee acts out or starts to behave unusually?

You won't get an answer to such an intrusive question after a few seconds of introduction.

Get rid of "really?". Never use that.

How do you handle your evaluations of employees during the hiring process? Once they are employees for review or documentation?
Really? well we offer ...... that can streamline the process a great deal and provide thorough and precise results for review.

You're going into the interview. Your objective is to get the appointment!


I would really like to sit down and talk with you about this and more we can offer. What works better for you mornings or afternoons?

How about Tuesday at 10am?

Great, I will follow up with you the beginning of the week to confirm and look forward to showing you all that we can offer you.


Nope--it increases the chance that they will use that proposal of follow-up as a convenient time to cancel the appointment.

NOTE: I was about ready to send you additional steps as we discussed, but I see you've opted for straight cold call. Good luck to you!

No, I haven't decided fully to go gung ho with the straight cold call process. Just trying to build my whole battery of options so that no matter what I do I am best prepared for the situation. I would greatly appreciate any additional steps, just trying to have everything lined up so I can start generating some activity. I have been fairly stagnant lately and need to up my productivity. - by C&AMarketing
Stop telling them what you can offer. At this stage you have no idea if you can offer them anything.

You'll need to lead in with something a lot less intrusive.

How about...

Hello there.... I wonder if you could help me?
(wait for an answer....I MEAN REALLY WAIT)

I'm Andy with C&A in Charleston.

I've been tasked with contacting companies who might have potential staffing problems like....maybe an employee starts acting oddly or other issues like new starts not turning out to be totally suitable . . .

The problem is, I'm not really sure who I should be speaking to...
who would be the best person to speak to there?

As you get through to the right person I suggest you REPEAT EXACTLY the opening phrases you just used.

When they volunteer that they are the right person you can ask a few more qulifying questions and go for the appointment.

Do NOT try to sell anything other than the appointment at this stage.

Good luck
That is where I ran into trouble with the initial calls. I would get to the person but it almost seemed impossible to not go into part of the "sales" process due to the fact that I had to relay a good deal of information to get them to understand. Is there a better way to relay a minimal bit of information. And in this situation what do you suggest would be a good set of qualifying questions to hit while avoiding the "sales" process and locking down the appointment.

Andy - by C&AMarketing
I agree with ACE and helisell about selling the appointment. My opinion is that should be your primary objective, or as I've been recently instructed, your "commitment objective".

One other comment I have, and this is a personal observation putting myself in the chair of your callee.... Who is C&A?. AFLAC has 90% brand recognition, years ago C&H (California & Hawaii) used to have brand recognition for sugar, GEICO and the "Good Hands", and maybe even State Farm have strong brand recognition, but if you don't have it, like my company doesn't, I think it pays to say who you are or what you do straight off.

When I call a business it is "Good morning, this is Tom L with TL Insurance Agency" if a cold cold call, or "Good morning, Bill Client please...... Good morning Bill, this is TomL of TL Insurance and I'm calling about scheduling an appointment with you in order to get your help (opinion) in evaluating a voluntary worksite benefit package we'd like to introduce to your employees. Is there a few minutes later this morning we could meet so I could get your opinion (help in evaluating this) on this?

This is strictly my opinion, owned by me severally, and by myself... :)

Aloha shds; ;bg - by rattus58
I appreciate the input. We have a good deal of brand recognition in my area, but the issue is our company name will throw people off "

Good Morning, I am Andy with Clayman & Associates, Clinical and Forensic Psychologists.

That right there seems to get people defensive for some reason and I can't really figure it out. It is almost as if they think they are above the need for consultative services or evaluation in the event of a problem and try to shrug it off.

Branding is one of the issues I have talked to our PR firm about. Our company is well known but more for our work in the legal field as far as evaluations, sentencing recommendations, and testimonial / deposition work. We have been working with businesses for a good while but just by word of mouth and we have seen an increase and would like to focus more on that as that the rules and regulations for billing and hours allowed to work on the legal aspects are long hours and very minimal fees. - by C&AMarketing
Good Morning, I am Andy with Clayman & Associates, Clinical and Forensic Psychologists.

That right there seems to get people defensive for some reason and I can't really figure it out. It is almost as if they think they are above the need for consultative services or evaluation in the event of a problem and try to shrug it off.
I think the error is that you are wasting valuable opening words telling the prospect who you are instead of talking about something they are interested in. Before you've finished saying who you are the prospect has probably already categorized you as 'just another salesperson". Your opener should grab the prospect's attention. What are some of the more common problems or interest of your typical customer? - by Seth
Consistently late, or absent employees. Changed behavior of a consistently strong or top employee. Actions that show risk or potential harm from them. Outbursts of verbal or physical nature in a negative connotation. Hostile work environments caused by employees actions. But then on the flipside we can tell why an employee and their supervisor or subordinates might not be getting along with our assessments and in house training. - by C&AMarketing
Who is your target market? Firms of how many employees? My first thought is to go for public companies. They publish their management team and you would know who the head of HR would be... You can also do extensive research on a company to find out what they are working on currently ie. what direction the company is going and insert that into your pitch.

i.e. I understand this is your current situation... would you be interested in a solution that would target this potential issue relating to your current situation?

Cold calling is nice but as a marketing director you also need to try and get marketing campaigns that would provide you with warm leads. Isn't there some sort of trade show for HR managers? Can't you get a mailing list of HR managers for fortune 500 companies? I would also read industry magazines and see if they have articles on companies or interviews with HR managers and call them.

Is there a complimentary service to yours? A company whose custumers would naturally be your customers? Do what they do... or at least take notes!!

Do you have your target market clearly defined? Because for a company to spend $X on psychology services for their employees they have to have a minimum amount of sales... I would pick a niche or a vertical market and start there. Vertical markets like Retail, Finance, Telecom, IT, etc.

Good luck! - by Andrea
One other thought... what about partnering with companies who already have an established customer base. There are companies that offer hiring software. Why not offer your services to them to improve their success rate. There is one company I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say names here. But their hiring software did shorten the time to hire but the quality of employees they hired was questionable. Perhaps their hiring questionnaire was asking the wrong questions. This is an area where maybe you could help them with. Once they've hired their work force you can provide your sevices to their clients...

I know you asked about cold calling techniques but imo there are much better strategies for you to follow that will give you warm calls instead of outright cold calls. - by Andrea
Our target market is firms with greater than 50 employees. We are the only ones in the area offering this setup of service, that is where part of the problem comes in at because they haven't been exposed to another company like ours so it is difficult to compare us to another firm. Our target market isn't limited to once specific field due to the fact that not one specific market fills our needs for customers better than the others. If we had to narrow it down our main focal points are Hospitals (Big on risk assessments and fit for duty, but new Joint Commission regulations change how they have to handle things which equals red tape), Coal Mines and manufacturing industries. We like to focus on those primarily because one persons outburst, missed work or failure to perform their job well or in a safe manner can lead to catastrophic outcomes. And as for the fortune 500 companies we are very regionally based and in our area their presence is not very large but, the ones that are, are only satellites or branches and do not have the ability to make those decisions at that level and then we get into issues of trying to work past that. - by C&AMarketing
As for the partnering, hiring is a small aspect of what we do. The ROI on it is very low but it is an "in" for us. Our goal is to be the provider on retainer for these businesses and offer additional services to them as needed. Our main focus is on intervention, risk assessment and intense rehabilitation of employees.

For example we work with law enforcement with excessive use of force cases where the officer is a great officer but something has arose that could pose a threat to the officer, the department as well as to the public they are serving. Those kind of things are our main focus. - by C&AMarketing
I appreciate the input. We have a good deal of brand recognition in my area, but the issue is our company name will throw people off "

Good Morning, I am Andy with Clayman & Associates, Clinical and Forensic Psychologists.

That right there seems to get people defensive for some reason and I can't really figure it out.
I can tell you what it is... it's the words "forensic" and "psychologists"

people associate forensic with crime and psychologists with crazy people... (I know that crazy people is a pejorative term but the stigma is still there unfortunately...sorry)

Turn OFF....

I would just say I'm with Clayman & Associates. Period. Shorten your name. - by Andrea
Our target market is firms with greater than 50 employees. We are the only ones in the area offering this setup of service, that is where part of the problem comes in at because they haven't been exposed to another company like ours so it is difficult to compare us to another firm. Our target market isn't limited to once specific field due to the fact that not one specific market fills our needs for customers better than the others. If we had to narrow it down our main focal points are Hospitals (Big on risk assessments and fit for duty, but new Joint Commission regulations change how they have to handle things which equals red tape), Coal Mines and manufacturing industries. We like to focus on those primarily because one persons outburst, missed work or failure to perform their job well or in a safe manner can lead to catastrophic outcomes. And as for the fortune 500 companies we are very regionally based and in our area their presence is not very large but, the ones that are, are only satellites or branches and do not have the ability to make those decisions at that level and then we get into issues of trying to work past that.
Have you thought about teachers? Also Surgery Centers have different regulations than hospitals and are less regulated. Have you looked into that?

50 is the minimum amount of employees but what is the maximum number? I'm assuming that you have a limited number of psychologists available?

I like retail because customer service is the pits and you could sell them on improving their sales if their retail staff works well together and is not grumpy at the customers and especially at each other. - by Andrea
Going back to the cold calling... I've been cold calling for 12 years. In my experience you get the best results in cold calling when you are prepared with a TON of info. Their industry... who the players are... what issues is the industry facing... the positioning of the company within the industry... what their competition is like and what they are doing. Who are YOUR competitors in this niche... and anything else you can find out about the company you are calling on.

When you are armed with all this info. You call them as an expert and can add value to their business not only by being an expert in your field but their industry. They see you as a peer and you gain trust and credibility quickly. JMO.

That is why I was talking about a lot of the background work. - by Andrea
Our PR firm had purchased a D&B report and we are members of several business groups that we were able to gather information from.

50 employees is the minimum number we are shooting for. Our services would be a little expensive for those less than that.

Teachers are good but you have to go through the BOE and those are tricky unless you catch them at the beginning of the year. They have their preferred people they go through from the state level and then even after that is said theirs is a budgetary issue. We called on the boards and actually have one county but for our purpose calling near the end of the year is the best when the new money is being allocated for the following spendign year. - by C&AMarketing
Hi C&A.

This may help if you fill in the blanks.
---------------------------------------------------
Hi it's Fred from x&x . . . we help firms to (.........fill in here..........)

because a lot of them are finding that (....fill in here.......) and so many firms have discovered that they need to take a more modern approach.

Would you be open to discussing one or two fresh ideas about how you could (....fill in here....)
---------------------------------------------------------

Each one of the 'fill in here' should be based on a benefit (not a feature).

Needs (features) are based on logic.
Wants (results/benefits) are based on emotions.

We all buy based on emotions . . .and then justify our decisions using logic. - by helisell
I am a strong advocate of eliminating the phrase, "We help...." as part of a script.

"We all buy based on emotions . . .and then justify our decisions using logic." has become a familiar platitude in sales, but closer examination can reveal that it is not entirely correct.

I'm not disputing the suggestion, because I think novices can benefit from it. However, as one goes further along the learning curve in sales, other factors reveal themselves. - by Ace Coldiron
Nope......we all buy based on emotions.

Otherwise how could anyone sell anything. If it was logic based then the best, cheapest, strongest, most useful, prettiest product would sell the best...it doesn't.

That fact alone proves that it is purely emotion based.

I can't change my product....but I can change my customers' behaviour . . . simply by giving them a new experience.

I've examined it pretty closely and have always found it to be absolutely correct.

Nor have I found any other factors.

Why would you advocate not using 'We help'? - by helisell
I've examined it pretty closely and have always found it to be absolutely correct.

Nor have I found any other factors.
Perhaps I've examined it more closely.

You are not the first person to recite that platitude (word-for-word), of course and I give you credit for engaging in the study of selling and sharing your beliefs. - by Ace Coldiron
Don't get stuck on the 'platitude'

It is a simple fact.

As I said 'If it was based on logic...etc etc' - by helisell
Don't get stuck on the 'platitude'

It is a simple fact.

As I said 'If it was based on logic...etc etc'
That which you have stated as "fact", simple or otherwise, is merely something you choose to believe is a fact.

I have no interest in debating this---it's a tired topic that has been here before. I offered the counterpoint as a contribution to the thread. If it offends you, you'll have to handle your own feelings (emotions) on the subject. - by Ace Coldiron
Offends me?

Huh?

Where does it say that? - by helisell
Deleted due to double post. - by C&AMarketing
So it should go something like this?

Good morning/afternoon this is Andy from C&A we are currently working with several businesses in the area to assist their human resources department in the hiring, maintaining and evaluative/assessment processes.

I'd love to sit down with you and assess your needs and match up our services specifically to them. Which works better for you mornings or afternoons? Great, how about Thursday at 11:00am.

Now the big dilemma I still have is the follow up call prior to the meeting. I have had people say it isn't a good idea because it provides a time for the last minute brush off or bail out.

BUT I had an appointment on Tuesday of last week that I did not follow up prior and got there and my appointment was not in the office and when his secretary called him he had forgot. He then proceeded to tell her to have me leave any info I had for him and he would get back to me.

The ultimate waste of my time other than rapport building with the secretary, so at least I can get back in the door when needed. - by C&AMarketing
Hi C&A I'd be really interested in how this script works out as I have some doubts.

Remember YOU have interrupted THEM.

It is THEIR party in other words....so saying what YOU'D like to do in this situations is never a good idea.

You should try asking THEM something like...

Would you be open to looking at some new/fresh ideas?


On confirming appointments? YOU MUST.

The trick is to confirm but at the same time giving them a face-saver if they have forgotten or if they are having second thoughts.

You may have to competely re-sell the idea during your confirmation call.

Make the calls more a 'last minute piece of information' rather than a confirmation . . .

"Hi Fred, I forgot to mention when we spoke that I may be able to address the (xyz) problem when we meet on Tuesday"


This gives Fred the chance to back-pedal, remember, cancel, cry-off or whatecer . . . but it gives YOU the chance to re-appoint in a very non-conflict manner.

Good luck with your script either way. - by helisell
Alright, unless today is just a serious case of the mondays, I'm not sure what is going on. I've been my normal happy / friendly / confident self on the line. Gone through the script, but not reading it, just following it mentally. And get stonewalled each time it seems.

People start to ask questions, they won't go for the appointment and as they ask questions I try to give them a little and segway into an ability to explain it better in person and they beat around it severely. Any help would be appreciated. - by C&AMarketing
Hi again C&A could you give some examples of the questions they ask? - by helisell
I give my brief synopsis of what we have to offer and whatnot. They want to know more now rather than an appointment.

What is that? Why do I need that? Now what is it you do again?

People have trouble grasping our concept and I can't dumb it down without sounding like I'm talking down to them but trying to explain it outright is nearly impossible because they don't seem to want to understand it.

Its hard to grab their attention when they don't understand, even at your clearest most concise pitch, what you have to offer. - by C&AMarketing
What ONE product in your portfolio is your best selling, most exciting, most well received by your customers? - by helisell
That is the thing there isn't one specific one. We are a service not a specific tangible product so it is based on the customers needs. They may need risk assessments, they may need an intense intervention, they may need our pre-hire services or 360 evaluation services as preemptive rather than corrective like the first two are. - by C&AMarketing
This is probably our biggest if anything though, risk assessment. Here is my snippet from my marketing brochure I made to go out.
Our business geared risk assessment identifies underlying emotional or psychological factors that influence an employee's ability to return or continue their work duties. Utilizing psychological testing and interview we provide a comprehensive report of an employee's current psychological state and future potential harm for co-workers.

Working in the limitations of an organization's time constraints, evaluations are scheduled within 48 hours of referral. A verbal response is provided to the employer on the same day as testing/interview. A written report is provided 24 hours after evaluation completion.

- by C&AMarketing
OK so here is a question or two to ask them that may pique their interest..

Let me ask you a question Mr prospect . . . what if there was a way to see inside your future employees mind?

What I mean is . . . . what if you were able to predict with incredible accuracy, whether the person you just hired, is going to be on the scrapheap in 3 months or is going to be your top employee and you are looking at a future company asset who will be with you 20 years from now.

What would information like that do for your organisation?

Can you see the effect that would have on your ultimate efficiency and profitability....not just in the short term...but for years to come.

Well ......the ability to do that IS available, it's not well known about by businesses....but the ones who ARE in the know are certainly using that information to make a killing in their particular fields.

Would you be open to looking at some fresh ideas about how this could be used in YOUR organisation and what effect it would have on your profitability....now I'm around on Wednesday afternoon ....etc

Worth a try? - by helisell
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