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Hiring on cold callers for your business

For all you business owners out there, have you ever considered hiring on a few qualified cold callers to generate leads for your business? If so, what kind of compensation would you offer? Has this proven effective for you?

How do you stick with the legal guidelines of being "the employer". I know it gets kind of sticky when it comes to hiring on Independent Contractors versus employees, because 80 % of the time, they end up being classified as an employee anyway and your stuck paying in taxes. - by wlctrent
For all you business owners out there, have you ever considered hiring on a few qualified cold callers to generate leads for your business? If so, what kind of compensation would you offer? Has this proven effective for you?
Personally I would never use the phone for first contact. Phones get screened and when the gatekeeper tells her boss that "Boss, a cold call is waiting for you on line 3", most bosses won't interrupt what they are doing, so the gatekeeper will get rid of the caller.

I would use direct mail. And not for soliciting business, but offering a free report or something valuable. We can't start a new relationship by asking for the money.

Compensation. Since I want this person to be included in the rest of the team, I would pay her the same way. I believe in teamwork, so I would pay the same base salary for everyone, and pay out a percentage of the gross sales as bonus. Equally for everyone of course. In my experience, this is the only environment in which everyone will work at his/her peak potential to make the team win. - by Bald Dog
For all you business owners out there, have you ever considered hiring on a few qualified cold callers to generate leads for your business? If so, what kind of compensation would you offer? Has this proven effective for you?

How do you stick with the legal guidelines of being "the employer". I know it gets kind of sticky when it comes to hiring on Independent Contractors versus employees, because 80 % of the time, they end up being classified as an employee anyway and your stuck paying in taxes.
This has been brought up a few times at our real estate brokerage. Paying taxes wasn't the issue but "licensed vs. unlicensed activity" was. Personally, I would support a base wage + bonus for contract as compensation. - by AZBroker
We have trained thousands of people to do their own "Telephone Prospecting" not "Cold Calling." Many of them have hired people to do the prospecting for them.

Those who were successful doing it themselves generally got good results from the people that they hired. Those that did not become skilled at Telephone Prospecting, seldom got satisfactory results from the people that they hired. - by JacquesWerth
Jacques,

You have a good point here. It doesn'[t have to be cold calling, but people must have good telephone manners and telephone skills. Even when they are following up on an enquiry, they must have the skills to define whether or not there is a basis for working together. Well, exactly as you explain it in your book. - by Bald Dog
We have trained thousands of people to do their own "Telephone Prospecting" not "Cold Calling." Many of them have hired people to do the prospecting for them.

Those who were successful doing it themselves generally got good results from the people that they hired. Those that did not become skilled at Telephone Prospecting, seldom got satisfactory results from the people that they hired.
Would there be a reason to expect anything different? If the people who did poorly trained others in their methods it stands to reason that the trainees would do poorly too. - by AZBroker
Would there be a reason to expect anything different? If the people who did poorly trained others in their methods it stands to reason that the trainees would do poorly too.
I think here Jacques means the specific high probability prospecting approach. Many salespeople jump in the car and drive to appointments even when there is only a tiny percent chance of having a sale. They spend a lot of time on tyre-kickers.

What Jacques's HPB selling has taught me is how to be a polite and courteous "hardarse" and request commitment from prospects. I don't even meet prospects unless they come to the meeting with a commitment cheque of $1-5,000. Bringing a filled in and signed cheque indicates that if we have a mutually beneficial basis for working together, they are ready, willing and able to proceed. And by the end of the meeting I expect a yes/no decision. These people donít need to ďthink about it.Ē They know that if they do, I take the cheque for wasting my time.

Some say this approach is arrogant. Maybe. I tell them everything upfront and I also put it in writing. There are no small prints and hidden agendas. They know what they are getting into when they decide to meet me. How can they expect to get respect from their own clients if they donít respect others?

I donít think itís about poorly trained people. Itís about being trained on the softer, more lenient approaches of having meeting after meeting with no progress. - by Bald Dog
Some say this approach is arrogant. Maybe. I tell them everything upfront and I also put it in writing. There are no small prints and hidden agendas. They know what they are getting into when they decide to meet me. How can they expect to get respect from their own clients if they donít respect others?
The no-nonsense approach you described not only makes sense but I think is a common approach among top performers. Arrogant? A person can present an arrogant attitude but an approach can't. ;sm - by AZBroker
The no-nonsense approach you described not only makes sense but I think is a common approach among top performers. Arrogant? A person can present an arrogant attitude but an approach can't. ;sm
I'm curious what you do if you have a secretary call you and request a meeting? She's calling on behalf of her boss. Very hard to prequalify if you can't speak directly with the prospect. The reason I raise this issue is because it happened to me. The Admin wouldn't give any info, other than "He (boss) wants to have a meeting.' He wouldn't get on the phone with me. I resisted a meeting for that reason. They called the VP of Sales and complained that I wouldn't schedule a meeting.

Susan - by susana
Susan,

I insist on talking to the decision maker and the "guardian of the purse". I do this for ethical reasons. As an engineer I learnt in amplifier design that the more stages there are in a system, the higher the overall distortion will be. Every stage brings in new distortion. The same is with humans. Every new messenger distorts the message. A secretary doesn't have the same skills and perspective as the CEO, thus she can't make strategic level decisions.

It's the same as being operated on by a nurse who relays her findings and questions for the next step to a surgeon. I'd prefer the surgeon.

Also, CEOs who show no interest in who they are meeting, who they are investing their times in, are not really smart CEOs. Although when we consider that the average corporate CEO spends only 28 minutes a day (Gartner Group survey, I believe) to do bottom line enhancing activities,
I'm not even surprised.

Of course, it's easy for me. No one can call my vice president for there is none.

Also, I think, using Susan's example, the lear jets are pretty expensive. Secretaries are not in the position of discussing those high-calibre deals.

He wouldn't get on the phone with me. I resisted a meeting for that reason.
And you did the right thing. - by Bald Dog
Bald Dogs got a lot of good / valid points.

You can do the hard bitten upfront/ approach in certain fields, real estate for one, when you know full well that your going to have people sleeping in their cars for that property. But most of us are not that lucky, we have to hunt, find, seek, outsmart, and juggle being part of the caring-sharing society, all accomplished with one eye on enhancing our reputation and protecting our image and getting the order.

I've tried being hard, or a hardened professional, and somehow it doesn't work for me, Can I admit something, I have been known to tell clients that I cannot sell, that I would be hopeless at selling them something, and if they want a sales rep then not to choose me. I've also walked out leaving them dumbfounded, you see my being HARD HEARTED is hidden in my behaviour, by walking out I'm saying goodbye timewaster, by saying this offer or property is NOT FOR YOU AND LEAVING it suits me fine, I've also closed many a sale by doing this, you see I'm bluffing, they're bluffing, its my job to call the shots, and I hope I am rarely wrong. So try being hard and hiding it from them. Have you ever seen a car kicker cry, regret losing a bargain, or pulling out a cheque book. They don't. - by Incidentally
I think that everyone is entitled to their style of communication. I for one am not happy with the hard approach as portrayed by Bald Dog.

I would also take issue with his comment that he would never use the phone for the first call. This is something that I have tested and tested over the years and to be honest the results are inconculsive.

I have worked for clients in the telecoms, software and high technology sectors and have found that direct mail just doesnt cut it, but a well thought out telephone approach often does get the desired result.

We are working on a project at the moment, here in the USA and we are again testing the email first then call and the simpler call only approach. The results, yet again are mixed. - by Julian
I think that everyone is entitled to their style of communication.
Totally agree. The methods we use highly depends on what we are good at.

I for one am not happy with the hard approach as portrayed by Bald Dog.
The good part of this approach is that I don't fall into the trap of chasing new clients at the expense of current clients. One of the main reasons companies lose clients is negligence. People get so busy chasing new business that but the maintenance of current business on the back burner.

I would also take issue with his comment that he would never use the phone for the first call.
I don't say I'm right or wrong. All I'm saying that I've found it hard to reach true economic buyers on the phone for their calls are screened. Not because they are hard to reach per se. No. It's because I don't have the telephone skills of reaching them on the phone. I can't think fast enough on my feet when talking on the phone the first tie and have a strong accent.

have found that direct mail just doesnt cut it
Again, the problem is not with direct mail. I send out a one-page letter and some 40% come to my site to download some valuable free stuff and then get into my lead nurturing funnel. The problem is not with the methodology but how we apply it. And we can always improve on that.

Or as the hooker said to the shy sailor, "It's not the size that counts, boy, but how you actually use it."

Except...

I choose not to improve my telephone skills because I have no intention to ever use except with paying clients. My first contact to signed contract process is 90% automated and 9% email. There is 1% on the phone but by then prospects are seriously committed. That's why I ask for the commitment cheque for the first meeting.

But also realise that we all have our own unique idiosyncrasies and we design our unique processes around them.

But I've also found that this hard-arse prospecting process creates truly committed clients, and fellow forum member, Jacques Werth, has taught me a lot about this.

Also, I think our processes are built on our personal values. I value spending time with friends, hiking and skydiving. I don't know why I should interrupt a chat with a friend when a prospect calls me. In that case, most people interrupt a personal conversation to answer a call from a stranger. I don't get that.

This is something interesting from Sales and Marketing Management Magazine

Survey among salespeople and sales managers

49% say their professions contributed to marital problem

44% say their professions contributed to for their failed relationships with colleagues and friends

18% say their professions preventing them from finding a spouse

72% say their professions prevent them from exercising.

69% say their professions undermined their health problems, like weight gain.

I don't say I'm doing the right thing. Far from it. I'm not that smart, and with age I'm just getting more and more senile (watch out! You'll see!). But if conventional sales wisdom creates these nasty statistics, maybe I can avoid falling into the same trap.

Cheers
PS: And thanks for everyone for the great debates. I think we all are learning here. - by Bald Dog
Hey, dont put yourself down. Who am i (or anyone else) to judge how smart you are!

My point is that Cold Calling works but it takes effort. Other methods work for others. Find what works for your style and business and improve and replicate it.

Although I would be the first to say that from time to time I have sufferred from cold call reluctance, I cannot get away from the fact that for my particular industry and business it works and works well. - by Julian
Julian,

It's great to have understanding peers with diverse views. I think this is why this forum is such a great learning platform.

Hey, dont put yourself down. Who am i (or anyone else) to judge how smart you are!
That's not serious. Luckily. - by Bald Dog
"Most Salespeople are Professional Wimps."
Great article, Jacques. And how true. Is it caused by the fact that salespeople are expected to close each and every deal? The other day I talked to a guy, the VP of something in a local technology company, and he said, "We tolerate any client for money." I remember how badly I was beaten up when I went back to the office and told the sales manager, "This prospect I've just met wasn't appropriate for us." Then he said, "Son, anyone with money is appropriate for us."

Brian Carroll in his book, Lead Generation for the Complex Sales, also mentions that most companies don't have "Ideal Client" profile. Anyone with money is good.

When salespeople get beaten up for not meeting quota, they do anything to close the deal even if it means to be less than a straightshooter. I believe this is a huge mistake.

We have to differentiate between harsh language and tough questions. Tough questions lead to great solutions.

Is the doctor harsh in asking, "madam, you have aids. Your husband doesn't. Who have you slept with in the last 6 months because I have to examine them."

Is this harsh or helpful. I think it's helpful. And if the prospect is not willing to answer the tough questions, we can't fulfil the prospect's buying criteria - as Jacques calls it in High Probability Selling - and there is no deal. We re called in because we're the experts. Then what gives the right to a layperson to question our diagnosis process? In that case, we'd better walk.

Thoughts? - by Bald Dog
He said in - small part:
Great article, Jacques. And how true. Is it caused by the fact that salespeople are expected to close each and every deal?
Actually, salespeople are expected to try to close each and every deal. Sales managers who track the actual closing rates of their salespeople know that on average, they close less than 17%.

Sales managers who don't know how to improve closing averages can only push for more appointments - and beat up her people for not trying harder.

What really works is fewer appointments, but with highly qualified prospects. That can easily result in an immediate 30 to 50 percent increase in total sales volume.
- by JacquesWerth
Is the doctor harsh in asking, "madam, you have aids. Your husband doesn't. Who have you slept with in the last 6 months because I have to examine them."

This sounds like House--one of my favorite shows!!

Straight forward is the best way to be.

Susan - by susana
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