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The worst cold call

The worst cold call ever is the one never made...

Agree or disagree? - by Andrea
The worst cold call ever is the one never made...

Agree or disagree?
Agree..... Aloha.. tom - by rattus58
Couldn't agree more

There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.

If you don't get the prospect when you make the call, well, you've now understand a new way how not to make a deal - by MrCharisma
Mount Everest would never have been scaled were the adventurers afraid of the cold - pioneering new sales frontiers is where the real challenges and successes lie! - by KTB_trainer
I think I actually disagree on this one. Worse than not making a call is being unprepared and "putting a bad taste" in your prospect's mouth.

In this case:
  • Not making the call = status quo (no sale, but possible future opportunity if approached well.
  • Making a bad call = a bad reputation with decreased chances of ever making a sale to that prospect.
This all stems from an absolute need to be well prepared. Don't just pick up the phone - think about your prospect, their industry, their needs, your solution, the fit between companies, questions you need to ask, establishing credibility, earning their trust, whetting their appetite for more information, etc.

Stephen - by sfrenkel
I think I actually disagree on this one. Worse than not making a call is being unprepared and "putting a bad taste" in your prospect's mouth.

In this case:
  • Not making the call = status quo (no sale, but possible future opportunity if approached well.
  • Making a bad call = a bad reputation with decreased chances of ever making a sale to that prospect.
This all stems from an absolute need to be well prepared. Don't just pick up the phone - think about your prospect, their industry, their needs, your solution, the fit between companies, questions you need to ask, establishing credibility, earning their trust, whetting their appetite for more information, etc.

Stephen
Of course this is all debatable I dont' think there are any right or wrong answers here but here are my thoughts.

As per Mr. Charisma's post... if you call and are unprepared and you've messed up then now you have something called experience. Now you know what NOT to do. And that is just as valuable. Now the assumption here is that we are intelligent professionals able to learn from our mistakes able to grow through trial by fire etc. If the person cannot learn from such experiences then they've got bigger problems than the inability to make cold calls... jmo. - by Andrea
Agreed. From a personal perspective, we all learn from "failure" and challenges/stumbles only help us grow and get it right in the future, if we take a long term view.

From a BD/sales perspective....it's less about me and more about my prospect. Hopefully we're not subjecting our prospects to our own growing pains, decreasing the size of our potential clients as we "grow."

Obviously, we all learn from experience and trial and error (I know I have). I just challenge the assumption that cold calls are a "numbers game" and that we should make as many calls as we possibly can (i.e. the worst cold call is the one never made). It's sometimes more important to slow things down and get it right - more quality than quantity if you know what I mean.

Stephen - by sfrenkel
Agreed. From a personal perspective, we all learn from "failure" and challenges/stumbles only help us grow and get it right in the future, if we take a long term view.

From a BD/sales perspective....it's less about me and more about my prospect. Hopefully we're not subjecting our prospects to our own growing pains, decreasing the size of our potential clients as we "grow."

Obviously, we all learn from experience and trial and error (I know I have). I just challenge the assumption that cold calls are a "numbers game" and that we should make as many calls as we possibly can (i.e. the worst cold call is the one never made). It's sometimes more important to slow things down and get it right - more quality than quantity if you know what I mean.

Stephen
I don't know about you but I don't plan to fail. I don't plan on subjecting my prospects to my growing pains. In fact I think that most of us are like that. We do the best we can and when put to the test we find areas where we are lacking. That is why it is important to have seasoned reps working alongside the rookies as well as competent sales managers that oversee especially the rookie sales.

With regards to the numbers game. I prefer a strategic and balanced approach. I like to call a targeted list of prospects so I'm not wasting my time or theirs. I like to call on companies where I know beforehand I have something of value to offer them. This is done by doing my research etc.

I'm experienced enough to know my limits in terms of the number of cold calls I need to be making and the number of deals I need to be working on. Can't work on too many because then you're not going to work them properly and if you aren't working on enough well of course your numbers will be low.

Right now I'm finding that I need to call less people more often. Because my old sales manager was all about the numbers so it was a mess. Now that I"m the manager I've changed the paradigm into more of quality based system vs. a numbers system. So I do agree with you. - by Andrea
I just challenge the assumption that cold calls are a "numbers game" and that we should make as many calls as we possibly can (i.e. the worst cold call is the one never made). It's sometimes more important to slow things down and get it right - more quality than quantity if you know what I mean.

Stephen
Well you did make an assumption because you can just as easily make a call to untargetted/unresearched prospect as to a highly targetted customer. I tend to go for the latter. And that is the best cold call to make.

Therefore the worst cold call is the one never made (to highly targetted/high probability accounts!!) - by Andrea
From a BD/sales perspective....it's less about me and more about my prospect. Hopefully we're not subjecting our prospects to our own growing pains, decreasing the size of our potential clients as we "grow."
Your insights as to the nature of selling, and selling well, never cease to amaze me, Stephen. - by Ace Coldiron
Thanks Ace! sn;

Andrea - with your clarification ("Therefore the worst cold call is the one never made (to highly targetted/high probability accounts!!"), we're in agreement.

Stephen - by sfrenkel
Agreed. From a personal perspective, we all learn from "failure" and challenges/stumbles only help us grow and get it right in the future, if we take a long term view.

From a BD/sales perspective....it's less about me and more about my prospect. Hopefully we're not subjecting our prospects to our own growing pains, decreasing the size of our potential clients as we "grow."

Obviously, we all learn from experience and trial and error (I know I have). I just challenge the assumption that cold calls are a "numbers game" and that we should make as many calls as we possibly can (i.e. the worst cold call is the one never made). It's sometimes more important to slow things down and get it right - more quality than quantity if you know what I mean. Stephen
What does BD/Sales mean?

I think that this all needs clarification of perspective. WHO are we talking about making the calls? Cold calls ARE a numbers game. How could they be anything else. 1 is a number.

Are we talking about a new agent? Are we talking about YOU. How could Andrea possibly be wrong with her assumption? If you don't call, you don't have a chance unless you work ONLY within your sphere of friends and relatives as Primerica and others do in the insurance business.

Having a qualified cold call, that is one where you know who you are calling, what they do, how big business is, etc, is in my opinion a better shot than one where you just pick a name out of the phone book, and in fact I personally don't know of anyone who actually just "makes calls". They take an name out of a phone book and call to qualify the client first.

What would suggest that they do? How does one learn if we don't call? As we are learning, should we call only the bad prospects so we don't burn the good ones?

Why should we not try to call as many people as we can, if I may ask to keep your "funnel full" if you use that analogy. I'm not sure I'm understanding exactly what you are saying here.

Quality versus Quantity. If you're saying qualify your clients first, then yes I agree, and I think any new caller would agree, and I think any manager would also agree. I know at AFLAC ALL calls in our District are qualified to as much a degree as we can before the "call" is made.

The other thing you might be missing is competition. If you don't call, your competition will be, and your competition in our case would be most likely another AFLAC agent.... yes we eat our young here too... :)

Aloha... :cool: - by rattus58
Rattus,

Sorry if my posting was a bit confusing or unclear. One thought I have is that part of the issue might lie in the fact that we work in very different industries - I obviously can't be sure about that, but it's my first thought.

I fully understand the notion that "if you don't call, you don't have a chance" and that "if you don't call, your competition will be."

I was only attempting to indicate that a poorly handled call - one that leaves a prospect thinking "I don't want to do business with that person or that company" may be worse than no call at all. One might rather have a neutral or unknown reputation than a negative one.

Now, in my business - we find clients in a number of ways, one of which is the internet. In other words, I never make a call - they call me. If a prospect is interested in our services and I've turned them off by handling a call poorly, I can assure you they're going with my competition. On the other hand, if I never made a poor call and they're interested in our services, find me on the internet and call us, I still have a chance.

How does one learn without messing up and ruining some prospects? Preparation, planning, mentoring/coaching, shadowing - basically using one's resources to learn from others about what it takes to make an effective call. Of course, there's learning by doing and trial and error - the goal is to minimize one's growing pains as much as possible.

My issue with the post was this - if I'm a newbie looking to get into sales and I read a post from a group of sales experts that "the only bad call is the one not made," I may be mislead. My goal was to indicate that there's a lot that goes into the process of preparing oneself to call and to call successfully. Simply "banging the phones" - no matter how many times, won't get one business and might actually hurt one's business if not done properly.

Therefore, by "quality versus quantity," I meant that I'd rather slow myself down, prepare properly and call 5 prospects than move fast assuming the more calls I make (no matter how sloppy), the more business I'll drum up, and make 15 ineffective calls.

Stephen

PS. By BD/Sales, I meant Business Development or Sales - the act of reaching out, building relationships and generating new business. - by sfrenkel
The worst cold call ever is the one never made...

Agree or disagree?
Disagree.

A call never made does not exist in time or space.

So--what exactly is being discussed here?

Is it possible that the statement means that salespeople should not be reluctant to work at what they are supposed to do, and in this case "cold calling" would fit among those tasks? If you're in selling and don't want to engage in selling, then how can you be in selling? - by Ace Coldiron
I posted above not realizing that Stephen had posted.

We're talking about two different things. I honestly disagreed with the simple statement, "The worst call is the one never made." for reasons I stated.

But, Stephen has taken the conversation to the much more important and impacting subject of Preparedness, perhaps to salvage the thread.

To Tom (Rattus): You put Preparedness on the top of the list of habits just yesterday

I believe "worst calls" are unprepared calls, purposeless calls, or calls made with no commitment as an objective. Can't talk about calls I never made, unless we're supposed to be posting fiction here. - by Ace Coldiron
Rattus,

Sorry if my posting was a bit confusing or unclear. One thought I have is that part of the issue might lie in the fact that we work in very different industries - I obviously can't be sure about that, but it's my first thought.

I fully understand the notion that "if you don't call, you don't have a chance" and that "if you don't call, your competition will be."

I was only attempting to indicate that a poorly handled call - one that leaves a prospect thinking "I don't want to do business with that person or that company" may be worse than no call at all. One might rather have a neutral or unknown reputation than a negative one.

Now, in my business - we find clients in a number of ways, one of which is the internet. In other words, I never make a call - they call me. If a prospect is interested in our services and I've turned them off by handling a call poorly, I can assure you they're going with my competition. On the other hand, if I never made a poor call and they're interested in our services, find me on the internet and call us, I still have a chance.

How does one learn without messing up and ruining some prospects? Preparation, planning, mentoring/coaching, shadowing - basically using one's resources to learn from others about what it takes to make an effective call. Of course, there's learning by doing and trial and error - the goal is to minimize one's growing pains as much as possible.

My issue with the post was this - if I'm a newbie looking to get into sales and I read a post from a group of sales experts that "the only bad call is the one not made," I may be mislead. My goal was to indicate that there's a lot that goes into the process of preparing oneself to call and to call successfully. Simply "banging the phones" - no matter how many times, won't get one business and might actually hurt one's business if not done properly.

Therefore, by "quality versus quantity," I meant that I'd rather slow myself down, prepare properly and call 5 prospects than move fast assuming the more calls I make (no matter how sloppy), the more business I'll drum up, and make 15 ineffective calls.

Stephen

PS. By BD/Sales, I meant Business Development or Sales - the act of reaching out, building relationships and generating new business.
Hi Stephen... :)

Thank you... :)

I don't know how others do it. I know how my manager does it, I know how AFLAC does it, and I know how I do it. I totally agree that careless calls are doing no one any favors. I agree that one shoud practice with a tape recorder your calls before you start. I agree that one should video onself if one can, your message and response... even on real calls just to see how you look as you react to your callee.

And I further agree.... make the call......

Much Aloha.... Tom :cool: - by rattus58
I'll elaborate. I once thought... I should cold call on McDonald's... and I thought about it for several months and never did anything about it. Finally one day I did. And some time later I landed the pilot project I was trying to sell them on. That is when I started to think... the worst cold call is the one that was never made - to someone you should have made it to. You never know which cold call will turn out into one of your greatest deals.

I know Ace, we are getting into some philosophical areas where if you never called then it never happened but then I could turn around and say that if you don't take the first step you won't get to your destination.

Not making calls you should be making is a high opportunity cost. I also think that your future starts with what you do today. Do nothing you will get nothing tomorrow.

Had I not made that call I would never have gotten that deal... IMO that is a huge deal to lose out on... don't you think?

I "believe" there are people we should be doing business with. And I call on them with that attitude. YOU and I... WE should be doing business and here are the reasons why. And I am so convinced that it should be because it makes so much sense that they ultimately end up just as convinced as I am.

I guess I'm coming at it from the perspective that I've already got something before I have it. So to do nothing about it is losing something of value.

With regards to preparedness yes.. if one doesn't handle a call well you could lose the deal and that would suck too. - by Andrea
Not making calls you should be making is a high opportunity cost. I also think that your future starts with what you do today. Do nothing you will get nothing tomorrow.
Not making calls that should be made is not something I can relate to and not a cost I bear.

Being a person that focuses on the Everpresent Now, neither can I relate to doing nothing.

I realize this thread is not about me, but I'm hoping that nobody here needs your advice on this. It would be a shame if they did. Calls that need making should be made. I expect it from myself, and have always expected it from anybody who ever worked for me.

However, nobody has a crystal ball with regard to what will turn out to be an opportunity realized, and of course hindsight is.....you know the rest.
- by Ace Coldiron
Not making calls that should be made is not something I can relate to and not a cost I bear.
You're lucky then... because I can think of many occasions when myself or my colleagues said/thought "gee... why didn't we think of this sooner??" Sometimes for whatever reasons one misses things that are staring us straight in the face.

Luckily one does not report opportunity cost in a balance sheet or on an income statement but for some companies these days it might just be the difference between profitability and red numbers. JMO. - by Andrea
I posted above not realizing that Stephen had posted.

We're talking about two different things. I honestly disagreed with the simple statement, "The worst call is the one never made." for reasons I stated.

But, Stephen has taken the conversation to the much more important and impacting subject of Preparedness, perhaps to salvage the thread.

To Tom (Rattus): You put Preparedness on the top of the list of habits just yesterday

I believe "worst calls" are unprepared calls, purposeless calls, or calls made with no commitment as an objective. Can't talk about calls I never made, unless we're supposed to be posting fiction here.
I can't agree with you more. I didn't disavow that with my poste to Stephen, I believe you need to absolutely be prepared for everything you do in sales. Qualified sales are a part of that preparedness. This is timely. My son passed his property casualty tests recently and is in apprenticeship with a collegue of mine.

This morning, just as the observatories were coming into view as the curtain of darkness slowly receded down the 13000 foot slopes of Mauna Kea, I get this phone call from my sonshine to elaborate on his cold calls of yesterday where he immediately ran into trouble.

Did you call the company first to "qualify" them?
Have you prepared a script that points to the interests of the client?
Have you practiced your presentation with a recorder? Have you taped your calls to clients?.... No, No, No, No.

There were other points we discussed, but it was clear that his lack of planning was Quixotic, without the windmill.

Planning matters no quesition... :)

Aloha.... :cool: - by rattus58
Don't say that to Charlie Blueface. He is sure his phone will ring any moment.

LMAO - by rhinotel
cold calling is somewhat like playing the lottery.

If you never play, you will never win. - by salesfist
I think I actually disagree on this one. Worse than not making a call is being unprepared and "putting a bad taste" in your prospect's mouth.

In this case:
  • Not making the call = status quo (no sale, but possible future opportunity if approached well.
  • Making a bad call = a bad reputation with decreased chances of ever making a sale to that prospect.
This all stems from an absolute need to be well prepared. Don't just pick up the phone - think about your prospect, their industry, their needs, your solution, the fit between companies, questions you need to ask, establishing credibility, earning their trust, whetting their appetite for more information, etc.

Stephen

I agree. The biggest reason for failure is not making the call but the worst cold call is one where you make the call and forever ruin your chances of doing business with that person/comapany ever again. - by peter-odonoghue
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