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Cold Calling frustrations

Hi everyone,

I just came across this forum this evening (thank you, Google) and am excited to read through as much of it as possible. It's great to see some experts offering their assistance to newcomers, particularly those who are struggling. Like myself, for instance.

I've got a lot on my mind regarding all of this...

I took a sales job with an energy marketer this past summer. It's 100% commission based which is very new and completely scary to me. Especially now that I am now the closest I've ever been to being completely broke. I feel that I am putting in a lot of effort into the job but seeing very little results.

If anyone could help me with the following I would be very grateful. Forgive me if any of these questions or topics have been discussed before (they likely have), a fresh answer would be awesome but even just being directed to a relevant thread would be great too.

Some brief background. I work part time. Two 8 hour shifts a week plus a few extra hours here and there when I can fit them in. I make x amount of dollars per appointment I make, I am not the actual representative who goes to the appointment. I average about 50-60 calls a day.

1) Probably my biggest challenge is staying positive and motivated as perhaps 95% of my calls do not reach their destination. People are either in a meeting, out for lunch, gone for the day, voicemail, gatekeepers, etc etc etc.

I'd like to try and do at least 80 calls a day (10 calls/hr seems easy enough) but I'm already feeling so drained doing as many as I am so 80 feels like a lofty goal.

Is there any advice on staying energized and motivated to just keep going regardless of how many times people aren't available?

2) As I reach so few people, I'm not certain how effective my script is. Rejections are inevitable but when I add those to the number of people not available the total is much bigger than my number of actual appointments, even if the number of rejections rejections are quite low. I'll get anywhere from 1-5'ish rejections a day...but I've never made more than 3 appointments a day (usually zero, actually!).

I've conducted research on scripts and have written variation after variation. I believe it's a good script but the numbers don't seem to support it. Here is what I am currently using, please advise:

----

Hi, _______. This is Jon from *company name*. We work with organizations like yourself to simply help manage your energy budgets.


We offer a program thatís been proven to protect your natural gas rates from market volatility and eliminate the need to redo an energy budget every time the variable rates change.


We have done this with *company #1*, *company #2*, as well as *company #3*, among many others. Iíd like to have one of our consultants sit down with you briefly and allow you to see for yourself whether our service would be of interest to you.


Would _______ afternoon or ________ morning be satisfactory for you?

----

It should be noted that my industry unfortunately has a very bad stigma attached to it. I believe in my product and the company I work for. Yes, it had some problems in the past but I believe they have tried to refine what they offer to make it better than ever for customers but, despite this, that stigma obviously creates problems. Most of the rejections come from it actually.

I'll leave things here for now. There are other questions I'd like to ask but these are probably the most important. It would be nice to get a pay cheque this week. ;) - by crono_
Two quick questions...

Is there any advice on staying energized and motivated to just keep going regardless of how many times people aren't available?
If you really wanted something why would you stop before you got it?

We work with organizations like yourself to simply help manage your energy budgets.
What makes you believe the prospects you contact want help managing their energy budgets? - by Jeff Blackwell
If you really wanted something why would you stop before you got it?
Possibly because I see so few results despite putting in what I consider to be a fair amount of effort. Encountering this just about every day I'm on the phones leaves me feeling very low as I'm working for free.

What makes you believe the prospects you contact want help managing their energy budgets?
Another question I've asked myself is how do I even know they have an energy budget?

I'm not sure how energy rates work in other parts of the country, but I imagine they all work similarly in that they're volatile and impossible to predict. In my city, the rates change every 3 months so an effective budget can't really be made for any longer than that. What we offer is a way of securing the rate, without locking it, allowing the client to create a firm budget for up to 5 years.

So budgeting 5 years vs 3 months seems, to me (and clearly my company), like a great idea. So based on this, I believe they should at least consider our services. - by crono_
A brief addition to your second question...

I guess I don't know if the prospect wants help managing their budget, that's kind of the point of the call. To see if they would like some assistance and if we could be the ones to work with them. - by crono_
I'm not going to write your script for you but I will offer some solid suggestions. First and foremost, always talk in everyday language. "Volatile" is not everyday language.


So--let me "blue pencil" the script so that you can come up with something better:
Hi, _______. This is Jon (ALWAYS GIVE FIRST AND LAST NAME) from *company name*. We work with ( NEVER USE "WE WORK WITH" REGARDLESS OF HOW MANY PEOPLE SAY YOU SHOULD.) "organizations like yourself (NOBODY IS LIKE THEMSELF. DON'T IMPLY OTHERWISE.) to simply help manage your energy budgets. (AGAIN, DROP THE WORD "HELP". AND NOBODY INDICATED THAT THEY NEED SOMEBODY ELSE TO MANAGE ANYTHING)

We offer a program that’s been proven to protect your natural gas rates from market volatility and eliminate the need to redo an energy budget every time the variable rates change. (PUT THAT ENTIRE THOUGHT INTO PLAIN LANGUAGE)

We have done this with *company #1*, *company #2*, as well as *company #3*, among many others. I’d like (THEY DON'T CARE WHAT YOU WOULD "LIKE")to have one of our consultants sit down ("MEET WITH YOU"...not "SIT DOWN") with you briefly (ELIMINATE BRIEFLY) and allow you to see ("..SHOW YOU WHAT WE DO" is better.)for yourself whether our service would be of interest to you ("IS SOMETHING YOU WANT"--NOT "WOULD BE OF INTEREST TO YOU").

Would _______ afternoon or ________ morning be satisfactory for you?
----
- by Gary A Boye
Thanks for your suggestions, Gary.

Here is my attempt at implementing them along with some other suggestions I've read in a different thread on the forum.

---------

Hi, __________. This is *first & last name* from xyz.

We offer companies a way to take control of their natural gas bills that has never been offered before.

We have done this with *company #1*, *company #2*, and *company #3*, among others.

Admittedly, I donít know if our service would assist you as it is your decision. May I have a consultant meet with you ________ afternoon to show you what we do and see if it is something you would want?

---------

I'm curious if it would be a good idea to include "There is no cost to meet and no pressure" at the end.

Is this heading in the right direction?

Thanks. - by crono_
I'm curious if it would be a good idea to include "There is no cost to meet and no pressure" at the end.

Is this heading in the right direction?

Thanks.
Yes. Better!

No, don't use the disclaimers you mention. NEVER introduce the word "pressure." - by Gary A Boye
Yes. Better!

No, don't use the disclaimers you mention. NEVER introduce the word "pressure."
Great!

Anxious to give it a go on Monday. Next step is learning to effectively respond to objections. I may be back with more questions.

Thanks, again. - by crono_
Well, so far since implementing the change I've actually received more rejections and hang ups than ever. That and my boss feels the new script is too "wimpy" and that stating we don't know if our service would assist them suggests we don't know what we are talking about.

It seems like if I go to 10 different sources for advice (people, books, audio, Internet) I will get 10 different responses.

Back to the drawing board it seems... - by crono_

Back to the drawing board it seems...
Crono, one of the harsh realities in selling which escapes a lot of novices is sort of a Catch-22. The fact is that there is a huge amount of money that you can make in sales as guys like myself and others here have enjoyed. Now ask yourself WHY your boss, in light of that fact, is hiring novices (frustrated to boot) to do the sales work when he could be making that money himself. Now you might think he's working on a percentage of what the novices are selling, but if the novices aren't producing, he's not making squat.

Ask your boss to DEMONSTRATE all the non-wimpy stuff he's so good at for a whole day. He can keep all that money he makes and show you first hand that he can DO what he wants you to do which for some reason is giving you "cold calling frustrations."

Just hope that he doesn't get frustrated like you--otherwise he'll be joining you at the drawing board. In the meanwhile the producers here will continue to wet their pen without hiring others to do it for us. As I've said---there's an awful lot of money to be made. - by Gary A Boye
There are a number of things here but let me just suggest some things about your script...

Please don't take my too the point comments as demeaning or critical -- I used direct language to make the point and conserve space over a sugar coated version.

Hi, _______. This is Jon from *company name*. We work with organizations like yourself to simply help manage your energy budgets.

This sentence is of no interest to the prospect as they, at this point, don't care what you do. You should be talking about the prospect's problem not about your company.

We offer a program thatís been proven to protect your natural gas rates from market volatility and eliminate the need to redo an energy budget every time the variable rates change.

This sentence is a platitude -- any of your competitors are probably saying the exact same thing. And again you are talking about your company NOT the prospects problem.

We have done this with *company #1*, *company #2*, as well as *company #3*, among many others. Iíd like to have one of our consultants sit down with you briefly and allow you to see for yourself whether our service would be of interest to you.

This would be powerful if you had differentiated your solution over anyone else. The final sentence wording is also bad -- you are asking the prospect to "see if they are interested" -- they don't want see if they are interested, they want to investigate "interesting solutions."

Would _______ afternoon or ________ morning be satisfactory for you?

I would suggest to you that you are not starting your calls with a high powered unique selling proposition. And as I stated you are talking about you, your company, your program and NOT the prospect's problem. Thus you don't have and won't get their attention.

You should be saying something like (and I don't know your business so I am winging it here...):

"Hi, _______. This is Jon from *company name*. and our benchmarks show that companies like yours end up wasting 10-15% of there energy budgets because their programs have no mechanism to protect them from price volatility...."

This is a unique selling proposition, it's totally focused on the prospect's most likely problem and your solution. It will get attention because it is REAL to them where talking about you and your company is NOT. Or at least not until you've established what you can produces for the buyer.

I hope this helps
,

I did not mean the bold to be any kind of yelling -- I used it to clearly identify my comments form yours. The read was to highlight some key texts of yours. - by Flyn L. Penoyer
I'm currently (and successfully) in the last sales job of my career - I'm near retirement age, but I've been doing this particular work at this company now for over two years. It's a great gig because we help people grow their business.

When I'm done with this, I'll still work at something. I do love to work.

Anyway, I call for 8 hours a day and actually sell over the telephone...as in cement the commitment and get the payment. Some of these initial transactions entail a $1,000 or more initial commitment that will, ultimately turn into a life of service to our clients. I never would have imagined that I would ever do this or be any good at it.

Here's my 2 cents worth.

First, get a sanity check. Does your service produce tangible results and can you prove it (first to yourself!). Immerse yourself in the successes your company has. Get on fire about how your company changes lives. If it actually doesn't, time to move along.

Second, aim for 100+ dials a day. If I'm trying to locate a warm body at the other end of the telephone and not leaving messages, I can easily do 40 dials an hour. One of the most successful operatives in my company routinely makes over 200 dials a day.

It's not like this kind of work involves any heavy lifting!

Next, concentrate on just having a good, solid conversation centered around the client's needs and wants. Get interested in them. You're all wrapped up about what you need and want. Just get them talking about their experiences and feelings about energy and their biggest frustrations about it.

Get educated in your product's results. Get passionate about it. Start good conversations. Move the process forward. Then an appointment becomes the next logical step.

As mentioned, I'd also like to see your boss (or anyone else who is successful at it) doing it. Show beats tell anytime.

(On a break, find somebody who's successful and find out what they're doing. I still jump on a call with successful people at my firm at least once a week on my own to stay tuned up.)

I know it's not as easy as it sounds and some days I have a hard time with it as well. Just get moving and speed it up a little.

I wish you luck and success in this. If somebody else is doing it at your firm, you can do it, too. - Magicman - by magicman
Hi, _______. This is Jon from *company name*. We work with organizations like yourself to simply help manage your energy budgets.

We offer a program thatís been proven to protect your natural gas rates from market volatility and eliminate the need to redo an energy budget every time the variable rates change.
I want to be very clear about this. And before I am let me state I have not read the thread so if others have already drawn attention to what I am about to do, I apologize. It is not my intent to "steel thunder" ... just to help.

What I do not agree with in scripts is simple;
  1. The client cares about them, not you. At least not until they get to the point where your company and the provision of service/product may be a deterrent to business - this comes up only after or during a presentation, not while prospecting.
  2. FEATURES do not clearly communicate BENEFITS... !
... We work with organizations like yourself to simply help manage your energy budgets.
This is a statement about you, not about what the client "needs, wants or desires" ... and it is not a benefit but a feature.

We offer a program thatís been proven to protect your natural gas rates from market volatility and eliminate the need to redo an energy budget every time the variable rates change.
LET ME SPEAK AS IF I AM YOUR PROSPECTIVE CLIENT: If all I get from working with you is a reduction in future redoing of budgets as a potential benefit I am certainly not going to think of that as a MAJOR benefit ... "do people really think about how many times they redo their Natural gas budget? Really???

Can you state it like this ... (underline represents a certain emphasis in your voice - called inflection) ...

"There are several really powerful reason why you might like us to be your Natural Gas and Energy provider, including short term and long term savings, the first would be more than enough reason for you to consider a change while the long term benefits are even more powerful. The reason for the call today is to setup _______ (action plan; a meeting, a package sent with a f/up scheduled phone call , etc)."

In countless tracked GOLD CALLING situations (stop referring to what you do as COLD - the phrase is too negative), we have found a dramatic improvement by using GENERAL BENEFITS rather than specific ones. To be a little more on point about this; make it sound fantastic without telling them the specific benefit. Then, once you have their attention, find out what the client wants and emphasize that rather than what they would not personally consider a benefit.

Good luck,
Steve - by Gold Calling
Thank you, everyone, for your responses. Your input is extremely appreciated. While I have yet to find something that truly works for me, I believe my biggest issue these days is actually making the calls. That and accepting rejections as, admittedly, I let them affect me personally when I shouldn't. Each one feels like a big failure as it's so rare that I actually get through to someone so, when I do, it is that much more important that I do a good job.

This is nothing new for any of you with experience reading this (sounds like all of you). I've done a lot of reading and listening to audio books/lectures on the topic and the fears and challenges are usually the same.

I admire you all for your success and hope to find it for myself one day. :) - by crono_
I have read the threads.

You are getting good counsel from skilled sales pros.

But, let's back up a bit and find out for certain what your prospects' real interests are. Their interests may be different than what you think.

Do this - contact a few of your company's clients who are raving fans. Ask them: How does doing business with my company contribute to your bottom line? - and - Why should other companies do business with us? Then, be quiet, listen, write down the very words they say. Do not talk out of nervousness. Be quiet, listen, and write down the very words they say.

Then, post your findings and ask for ideas as to how to phrase a compelling benefit statement to include in your cold call script.

Best
The Top Dog - by The Top Dog
Thanks for that last bit. I will try to do that.

An open question to anyone - Would it be safe to say that the 'secret' of cold calling is just making the calls? No script is perfect as what works with one person may not work with another. So you just shoot until you hit something? Seems a little cumbersome. Hard not to consider this a waste of time most days and that 70-100 calls a day is expected? - by crono_
An open question to anyone - Would it be safe to say that the 'secret' of cold calling is just making the calls?
Out of curiosity, what gives you that impression? - by Jeff Blackwell
Out of curiosity, what gives you that impression?
There are no "secrets" in selling, although the term has popular usage.

Obviously if you don't make the calls you're not going to sell anything. That said, it pays to get better and better at making your calls more effective and more efficient. Effectiveness means finding ways to engage the person you are talking to. Efficiency means talking to the right people at the right time about the right things. - by Gary A Boye
Out of curiosity, what gives you that impression?
Just logic. Appointments obviously won't make themselves unless you make the calls, regardless of how effective your script is. You can get advice from a hundred professionals, books, etc, but it just boils down to one thing. Make the calls. - by crono_
Just logic. Appointments obviously won't make themselves unless you make the calls, regardless of how effective your script is. You can get advice from a hundred professionals, books, etc, but it just boils down to one thing. Make the calls.
As logical as "just making the calls" may seem in many sales situations that concept leads quickly to frustration and ultimately to a change in employment.

Given the discussion so far I would suggest further inquiry into the following areas:
  • self-motivation (belief, drive, etc.)
  • engagement (self-interest, trust, etc.)
  • rejection/indifference (causes, identification, etc. )
- by Jeff Blackwell
This has been noted before, but I would like to reinforce that you need to know what your prospect wants from your call.

In any business "Increased Revenue &/or Decreased Costs = More Profits."

You need to be dead certain what benefits your product/service offers to your clients before making your call.

Also, talk about their company THEN talk about your product/service. This is the only way to really get them into the conversation (unless they really enjoy chatting about energy).

One of the biggest hang-ups I had when I started selling was putting into action the following statement:

"It's not about you, it's about THEM."

We think it, but it has to be more than that. You have to DO it, which can be challenging when you feel the stress of the call, and your bank account is getting smaller.

It seems to me that you really want to be successful, and if you keep at it you inevitably will be. I've done a lot of things over the years and I keep coming back to sales because I really enjoy helping OTHERS. (there it is again)

So I ask you, why are YOU doing this? If you don't know this your motivation will suffer until you can quantify it in your own mind.

Cheers,

Kevin - by KTjia
As logical as "just making the calls" may seem in many sales situations that concept leads quickly to frustration and ultimately to a change in employment.
I think of sales as a way to make a living. Certainly there are lots of ways to make a living. Our line of work does not choose us. We choose it. And--if we find ourselves now engaged with the tasks that define that work, i.e., cold calling, what exactly are we doing if we are not performing the work?

Selling isn't for everybody. - by Gary A Boye
Selling isn't for everybody.
I believe that is what I'm discovering and will be talking to my boss today about moving on.

Thank you for your advice, everyone.

All the best! - by crono_
Listen to Gary, he knows what he's talking about. Find what works from pros such as himself and tweak it to your personality. "Wimpy" can work only if you employ confidence. Google "fummy curve" and read about it, it will steer you in the right direction. - by TSizzle
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