The Queen of Cold Calling, Wendy Weiss, talks about why cold calling is not dead, how to overcome our fear of cold calling, how to overcoming the gatekeeper, and what to say on the phone to secure an appointment.
If you’re like most business owners, you dread cold calling. To make matters even more challenging, today it’s harder than ever to actually reach your prospects. Your clients are busy, don’t answer their phones, hide behind voice mail, and emails get lost in cyberspace. How do you actually reach your prospects, and once you do, how do you get them to give you the time of day?
Because I know so many people struggle with this, I invited Wendy Weiss on the show this week. Dubbed the “Queen of Cold Calling,” she is recognized as one of the leading authorities on lead generation, cold calling and new business development. Her clients include Avon Products, ADP, Sprint and thousands of entrepreneurs throughout the world. She is the author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors & Closing Sales and The Sales Winner’s Handbook, Essential Scripts and Strategies to Skyrocket Sales Performance. In short, she knows her stuff.
In this interview, I speak with Wendy about overcoming the fear of cold calling, why she doesn’t like the term “cold call,” how to get past the gatekeeper, and what to say once you’re finally speaking to a prospect. We also spoke about how “I’m already using someone” is actually one of the best things you can hear on a call with a potential client, and how to use a sales script the right way to get your foot in the door. This episode is full of practical tips; listen and enjoy.
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Cold Calling: How To Make That Introductory Call with Wendy Weiss [Transcript]
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Now to our episode. If you’re like most business owners, you hate cold calling. Why do you hate cold calling? You want to know, who do I call in the first place? How do I overcome the gatekeeper? When I get the person on the phone, what exactly do I say to that person? For that, I reached out to Wendy Weiss. She is known as the Queen of Cold Calling. She is an author, speaker, sales trainer and sales coach. Wendy and I know each other because we’re part of a mastermind group together. When I speak to salespeople or even business leaders looking to grow their sales, they’ll look for every type of new shiny object in order to be able to bring awareness to their product. They forget the good old fashioned concept of cold calling.
In this interview, we speak about the fear of cold calling, why not call it cold calling and rather call it an introductory call, how to overcome the gatekeeper, what to say on the phone, and ultimately how to walk away with that with an appointment. We also spoke about different objections that you could face on a call, such as, “I’m already using someone.” How to overcome that and how to use that to your advantage. We also spoke about the strategies of a script and why a script is important and even not to overcomplicate it, but ultimately use it to your advantage.
Wendy, thank you so much for being here.
It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much, Meny, for inviting me.
I’m very excited because the topic of cold calling is something that people say, “Meny, you’re putting up a blog about the topic of cold calling?” I say to myself and to everybody, absolutely! Because it’s such an important topic and because it’s a huge part of the success of a lot of companies regardless of size, and the leads coming in. Before we get into the details of it, and I have some solid questions that I would love to ask you and get your advice on, let me start with this. How does someone earn the title of The Queen of Cold Calling?
It’s a funny story. I was never ever supposed to be The Queen of Cold Calling. I was supposed to be a ballerina. I grew up in Pittsburgh and I moved to New York City, where I still live and work. I moved here when I was seventeen to dance. I studied at the Joffrey Ballet School. Eventually like every artist in New York City, I needed a day job. I got tired of waiting on tables and I got a job with a telemarketing agency that did business to business development. It turned out I was good at it, which was a complete surprise because ballet dancers, we don’t talk. We dance, we don’t talk. I did that day job for a while.
From there, I started my first business, which was I had clients that I would represent and I did business development for them. It was one of those first clients that dubbed me The Queen of Cold Calling because I found so many opportunities for him. From there I segued into the business that I have now, which is working with business owners, working with sales teams. People that need to develop new business and people that have gone through our programs are doubling and tripling their numbers because we teach a business development system that’s replicable and that works.
The point that I do want to make, because people say a lot of dumb things about this topic and one of the things people say is that people are born salespeople. This is not true. For anyone who’s reading that maybe is struggling with this or has a team that is struggling, I was really lucky because early in my career somebody taught me how to do this. Somebody taught me how to pick up the phone, reach the person I wanted to talk to, have a conversation that ended in a result and outcome that I was looking for. Somebody taught me how to do it and learning this skill enabled me to build a business. The good news for anybody that’s struggling or anybody that has a sales team that’s struggling with this, it’s a communication skill. It can be learned and it could be improved on. Working with my clients, I’ve seen so many of them learn new skills and then they’re thrilled to see the results change.
This is a very powerful opening statement you gave. I think people that read this know that so much talent gets wasted because at one point, they’re missing maybe 10% or 15% or 20% of that skill. Here you have somebody that went into sales, ambitious, excited about the industry and so on and so forth and they’re just not making it. All they’re missing is that 10%, 15% of that skillset. When that person, he or she could say, who has done it and what could I learn from that. Add the 10% to 50% and then everything works. If they don’t add that 10%, 15%, 20%, ultimately at one point they quit and so much time and energy and value is wasted because nobody gave them that 15% to 20%.
The reason why I brought you on and I said it in the introduction, we speak to so many business owners and they have great businesses, great ideas, great services. They have unique selling points, know why they’re different and what sets them apart. They have great people. But sometimes they’re missing the top of the funnel, which is to say, they’re used to inbound leads and that’s where they’re excited about and we all should be, but you can’t predict that. It’s not predictable.
Let me speak about “top of the funnel” for the listeners. Maybe it’s a terminology they’re not used to, it means: what you can do on an ongoing basis to constantly get leads? Yes, there is an email marketing and there is online marketing and there’s your website and so on and so forth, but there is the good old-fashioned phone where you build relationships and you introduce yourself and speak to business owners. That’s why I wanted to have you and I wanted to give that no-nonsense advice to our readers. With that said, let me ask you a question and I think we have spoken out for a few minutes and the people reading are like, “In this day and age, is cold calling not dead?”
Let’s address the elephant in the room. I’ve been in business for many years. People have been saying cold calling is dead for many years, but probably before I even started my business. People say so many dumb things about this topic but the definition so many people use for a cold call is you open up the phone book and you call anybody you say anything and you pound the phones and make hundreds of dials every day with your fingers crossed. That didn’t work so well 25 years ago, it certainly doesn’t work now. Cold calling is not dead. Cold calling works, it just doesn’t work the way it did twenty years ago, ten years ago or even five years ago. It is harder to reach people.
On the other hand, we have all sorts of tools that enable us. There’s sales intelligence and sales automation for calling. There are things that make our lives easier in terms of cold calling. This is how I think about it. I don’t even like the term cold call because people get very angst-ridden about it. Your cold call is your introduction. We get introduced to potential new clients in all sorts of ways. This is one of the ways that you can introduce yourself to a potential new client. I think of it as an introductory calling.
What I love about it is you get to choose. Many businesses are reactive that whatever is coming in the door, whether it’s from an email or somebody fills out a form on our website or however it is they’re getting their leads, they only react to what comes in the door, the inbound leads. Whether or not that inbound lead is a perfect fit for them, it doesn’t matter because the lead has come in and they’re going to try and work it. When you are cold calling or doing the introductory calling, you can make a wishlist, “Who are the clients that I’d like to introduce myself to and go and do it?” I think that’s very powerful.
This is a very important point that you just mentioned is that businesses, that’s where you start choosing the client persona. I think this is a very important point for salespeople in general to have that client persona in the first place. I love when I speak to a business owner and I ask them, “Who’s your target client?” Then they’ll answer, “Everybody.” I say, “Everybody might want to give you money to buy your product or service, but somebody has to be your ideal client.” When you do outbound or when you do introductory calling or whatever you do, you build a marketing initiative. That’s when you have to have that client persona. Otherwise, you get burnt out. I’ll start dialing numbers and getting the noes or then unreachable numbers and even if I get them on the phone, I don’t even know what to say to them that will make them want to hear more.
When you know your target market and to share with our readers, I had a story a couple of years ago. I met with a packaging company that came that they need advice. They need marketing because it’s not working for them. I asked them, “Who is your target market?” He says, “Everybody.” I said, “Stop, because if you say everybody, that means that you’re spending 70% of your day just knocking on different doors and calling different people and you’re getting frustrated.” I walked them through a simple exercise. I asked them the following, “Tell me one or two stories that you’re excited to share what you did for a client in the last one or two years.”
He shared with me the story and then I asked them, “Why are you so proud of the story?” He said, “Because no other packaging company would be able to provide that level of service.” I said, “Package that and go after people with it the same challenge and tell them that you have this solution.” This opened up a whole new door for him and the salesperson now when focusing on this industry and he’s seen a lot of success.” The point, what you opened up this conversation, which is that if you’re doing introductory calling just because of the phone book and just calling everybody, you’re not going to yield the proper results and you’re going to get frustrated versus when you have the target market and you’re going after those people. You might still get that no, but you might have way more of intelligent conversation in the introductory because you’re speaking to a person that’s is probably your target and probably is asking the right questions to enhance even if you use sales that your sales presentation. Is that correct?
Absolutely. One of the very first things that we do with clients at any of our coaching programs is we have them identify the target and you need to identify it narrowly. Once you know what the target is, then you can create messaging that is going to resonate with that target. A business can have multiple targets. You could work in different industries offering different services, but then you need to identify each of those targets and create messaging that’s going to resonate with that target. This is like real life. What you say has to be relevant to the person that you’re going to say it to. What happens when you have that very narrowly defined target? I’ll give you an example. We always have worked with a lot of people in insurance. I’ll say, “How large are the companies that you’re targeting?” They’ll say, “Anywhere from 5 to 5,000 employees.”
I say to them, “If you’re talking to a business owner that has five employees, do they have the same issues than let’s say a director of HR in a company that has 5,000 employees?” They always say no. “Let’s narrow it down.” That’s what you have to do. One of the exercises we take clients through is to simply pick out their best clients or their best customers. By best is like the most profitable and then pick out the top ten and profile them. What do they have in common? If your best customer is in a certain geographic location, in a certain industry, the revenue of a certain dollar amount, has a certain number of employees and the title of the decision-maker is usually one or two titles. If that’s the profile of your best customer, you are looking for other companies that match that profile. They will probably have a use for whatever it is you’re doing.
Let me ask you a question before we get to dive in a little bit more even details of what happens on that introductory call. What is the reason people fear doing cold calling? You spoke before about the elephant in the room. I think the elephant in the room is that people know that they need to do it, but they still have that and they don’t do it enough.If you believe in the value of what you are doing, then you are doing people a disservice if you do not introduce yourself. Click To Tweet
Any of you that are phobic about this, fearful of this, it’s not your fault. You have probably heard a lot of stupid things about this topic. One of the things people say is it’s about going through the noes and the hang-ups and the rejection until you get somebody to say yes to you. Who in their right mind wants to do that? You’ve probably heard that it’s a necessary evil. I have a colleague that teaches on this topic. He says, “Prospecting sucks. Get over it.” That’s a very macho stance. I don’t know that it’s a helpful one. If that’s what you’ve heard and on top of that you’ve heard that it’s dead, then you’re going to be uncomfortable.
The conversation around cold calling is often love or hate and people will say, “Everybody hates it and then there’s a handful of people that love it.” That to me is this silly conversation. The opposite of hating to make introductory calls is not that you now love it because I don’t think you need to love this. What we want for our clients is we want people to be neutral that you can do what you need to do and be effective and successful at it. This is a business process. It is not an emotional experience. It doesn’t have to be. Nobody has a nervous breakdown when they send an email. They’re probably being rejected too.
The idea, first of all or just the mind frame, is you have a perfect right to reach out to likely prospects for you in your business. There are very concrete reasons that people will indeed take your call because that’s the other thing. People always say, “Nobody’s going to take my phone call.” If you think about it, assuming you’ve done your homework. You’ve targeted and you’ve got some compelling messaging, which I know we’re going to talk about. You’re calling people that likely are already using one of your competitors. That’s something I know people are always, “What do I say when they say they’re working with someone?” That’s good news. What that means is they understand the value and it means they have a line in their budget to pay for it. One, they’re working with someone. It’s good news. That means they need someone just like you or conceivably, they need you. One of my very first clients, when I started my business, was a printer. I’ve worked a lot of printers, graphic designers and packaging folks. She used to say to me, “Wendy, get me appointments with all the people that are loyal to their printers because one of these days that printer is going to screw up and I’m going to be there,” and she was right.
I want to share with you a story because it’s so funny. One of our services at Ptex is printing services. I remember the earlier days, I went out and did like cold calling, I was knocking on doors. One day, I went to the office to office. I went to a neighborhood and knocked on doors, which is similar to cold calling, knowing that there are businesses in that area that fit the type of companies that we work with. I walked into an office and it was a very nice person. He gave me a few minutes and at the end of my sales presentation, speaking about my services in printing, he says, “To be honest with you, we’re very loyal to our printer because we have been in business for a lot of years and he’s almost part of our family. He does all of our printing.” That’s where a lot of those sales people make a mistake. The same thing happens on a call. What I answered at that point was, “I’m not here to take away business from the other printer. I’m here to leave you my card. If at one point that person cannot deliver or you have an emergency job and that person cannot turn around the right timing, here I am.”
Four or five weeks later, this person calls me up on a Friday and said, “Meny, I’m not even sure that this is what you guys do. I have something coming up and I need a hundred sets of copies of a bunch of pages that I need to outsource because our copying machine cannot do it in house. Do you guys do copies?” I said, “Yes.” I picked it up, made a copy, sent it back to him and then the rest is history. They are now one of our largest clients in the printing business. Because we proved to them at that point when they needed us and ultimately, they started giving us business more and more. For whatever reason, they felt more comfortable at one point to make that switch. The point that I’m trying to say is most people will walk out because, “They’re already using someone,” as you said. As soon as you know that they’re using someone, there’s potential down the line, down the road that for whatever reason, they’ll be able to make a switch. I do know that there’s that line item on their P&L for printing. This is such a valid point for sales people and people walk away from opportunities when they hear that one line.
They don’t know how to handle it. If you think of your cold call as an introduction and most people are looking to set up an appointment. I have a fairly loose definition of the word appointment, which is the prospect agrees to have an in-depth conversation with you. That could happen. You get your car and you see them or it could happen online or it might all happen over the phone, but they agree to engage. If you think of it as an introduction and your goal is to simply have a conversation, then the fact that they are working with someone is irrelevant to your goal other than, it’s just holding your bingo, you’re talking to a qualified prospect.
The way I think about it also is that if you’ve done your homework and you’re reaching out to that targeted list, you’re talking to people that part of their job is to know that they have the best resources available to them. However they define the word best, that they’re getting the best value, whether that’s in pricing or service or quality or whatever it is they’re looking for, however they define it. As far as I’m concerned, when you pick up the phone and you introduce yourself, you are helping them do their job. I would take it even a step further that if you believe in the value of whatever it is you’re doing and if you don’t find something else to do, but if you believe in the value of what you are doing, then you are doing them a disservice if you do not introduce yourself.
I want to go back to the point that you mentioned, which I want to make sure the readers took note of what you said because it shouldn’t go unnoticed. I think this is not only the answer to cold calling, but this is the answer to so many other functions in growing a business. You mentioned that people always look at it either you hate it or you love it and you teach people about the neutral functions of a business. As business owners, we always tend to the shiny object or the stuff that we love and we ignore the stuff that maybe we hate or neutral.
Once you understand that in order to have enough leads coming into your funnel, in order to have into the pipeline in order to have a value that you bring to people, you’re doing a disservice by not announcing it or not introducing yourself to more people. Even if you don’t love it, you’ve got to do it because it’s part of building your business. The same way that nobody loves covering the bank or sometimes it’s sweating hot to deliver goods or being on the road and servicing a client. However, you’ve got to do it because that’s part of your business processes. For salespeople, it’s always better and nicer to go on a networking event and drink a cold cup of coke or drinking a cold beer and schmoozing with people and then maybe make an introduction to someone what we do.
As the business needs to grow and you need to have more predictability of the leads they’re coming in, that’s a neutral process that the business has to have. I think this is not only for the sales person, but it also goes back to the leaders of a company and business owners of a company. I want to get your input on it. You know a lot of times business owners have sales people on their team, but they’re not yielding the right results. They never know if it is the salesperson not performing. Is it our service that’s not good, our pricing not aligned with the market, so on and so forth? Sometimes I sit with those people and say, “What is your process? How many people are coming into your sales pipeline?” They don’t even have those metrics. Why? Because most of those people are relying on inbound. They don’t have those processes for consistent outreach. I think that’s where cold calling comes in. I would love to get your take, what do you feel business owners have to demand or what is the process of putting in a cold calling system in place?Prospecting is getting someone to talk to you. Selling is having a conversation. You don't use the same tools. Click To Tweet
We teach a very step-by-step system. If you think about it, when you say to a salesperson, “Go make some phone calls,” there are so many questions that they need to answer in order to be able to do that. There are the basic, “Who am I calling? What am I saying? How many times am I going to reach out to any one contact? Am I going to leave a voicemail? If I can’t reach them, am I going to send an email? If I’m going to leave a voicemail or send an email, what do I say? How many voicemails or emails? How often? What do I do if I never reach them?” There are all these questions. What a lot of business owners do is they hire a salesperson, don’t really have a system in place for them, keep the salesperson around for a few years, because depending on how long the sales cycle is, it might take a few years to find out whether or not they’re going to be productive. If they’re not productive, they’ve been around for a few years and you’ve been paying them.
What we teach, and we have many business owners, small business owners will come to our courses, set up a system, a prospecting system that they are executing on. As their business grows, the really good news is once you have a system, you can plug somebody else into it. Having the numbers, the benchmarks and what we look at for prospecting is how many times did you dial the phone? How many conversations did you have with decision-makers, not with gatekeepers? How many appointments did you schedule and what’s the conversion of the dials into conversations and the conversations into appointments? Also, we looked at the number of returned phone calls because we do get folks to return phone calls and then people that are responding to email.
We look at all of those numbers and we benchmark it. Once you have the system and you know the numbers, then if you hire someone, you can plug them into the system. The system does include scripts. Everybody’s terrified of the words script, which I define as if you think before you speak, then that’s a script. What are the points you want people to be making? If you’ve got that system and you’ve got it benchmarked and you plug somebody new into it, you will know pretty quickly whether they’re going to be successful or not. You don’t need to keep them around for years.
I love the definition of a script thinks before you talk. This reminds me of another important element of it and I want to dive into the actual phone call and you mentioned, gatekeepers and so on and so forth. A lot of business owners in particular, and then salespeople, they’re used to the word sales process, which means what are the stages of your sale, your leads. We have the prospecting, we have qualified the lead and we have the proposal phase. We have the warm proposals and the closing proposals. You’re awarded the project and so on and so forth. They don’t understand that the same way they have that is selling a process, which is the script that you mentioned. That’s what sets you apart and that’s how you can start following that system in the same way. Which means is if you’re meeting someone in person or introducing yourself, is the process what you share? What are you asking the person and what are you responding to in order to be able to know where if it went good where you are able to learn from that and replicate it?
If it somehow did not go as planned, where you fell short and you could then fix it for next time. Versus if you don’t have a process, you don’t have a script and you don’t have a selling process, what I find is you wing it and when you wing it, you are dealing with so many different people and so many different stages and you cannot replicate what just happened. If you cannot replicate it, it’s not a system. I call a system something that you could replicate. When you can replicate, you could then replicate it for yourself. As you have more people coming into your company, now you have all the salespeople follow the same system. Is that correct?
That would be correct. Sometimes business owners and also the salespeople view this as a creative process or something. Prospecting is not when you’re expressing yourself, like get a hobby. Prospecting, it’s a business process and you want to be authentic. You want to be yourself in your scripting, but you need to be prepared. I wanted to say two things about what you said. Going back to the call reluctance that we discussed earlier, having a step-by-step system with all the questions’ answers goes a long way towards getting people over call reluctance because they know what they’re doing. The other thing I want to say is this is huge. Prospecting is not the same skill set as selling. Unfortunately, it is often taught as it’s all the same thing. Prospecting is getting someone to talk to you. Selling is having a conversation. You don’t use the same tools. This is related, but it’s not the same thing.
It’s a different stage in the process.
What we see a lot is people essentially shooting themselves in the foot because they’re trying to use their selling skills before the prospect has even agreed to talk to them. That then results in a big struggle.
I’ve heard it so many times from salespeople and I think for our readers, what you said is the gem. You have to know when you are reaching that person, what are you doing? Is this the prospecting stage which is I want to introduce myself and tell you a little bit more and then you raise your hand, tell me more, give me that meeting or just go on, I have the time now? Versus now is the official time where I need to tell you my full sales pitch or tell you my presentation and show you the demo of my product and then get you into the next stage. I think it’s a very important point, especially for junior salespeople that they thought they know they need to do cold calls and they get on the phone finally and they almost get numb. They don’t know what they want.
A good tip for people is just to how they divide prospecting from the selling process is when that phone rings, you need to know how do I need to put down the phone? What is the call to action asking this person and then walk backwards? Which means if all you need is that at the end of the phone, the person should say, “Send me an email. Let’s schedule an appointment.” That means I have to intrigue their interest, connect as a human and start building a relationship with. That’s all about what I need. If the call to action on the next call, let’s say, is to get them to ask for a proposal, now I need to show more value. I need to show him why we are the right fit. There’s a different process that needs to happen in the call because the outcome is different. I think once people identify it, I think you mentioned that so nicely, which is prospecting is not selling because the call to action has to be different, correct?You've got to ask and you might have to ask more than once. That's how you ask for an appointment. Click To Tweet
Exactly. The call to action is either to ask for an appointment or to ask to have a conversation if you’re doing everything over the phone. We were talking earlier about how people are scared of, “I’m already working with someone.” I said, “If you’ve targeted well and your prospect says, “I’m already working with someone, that is irrelevant if your goal is an appointment.” You could say, “That’s great. Right now I’d simply like to introduce myself.”
You want to build relationships and you want to get into conversations. I do want to get into a couple of questions that I know readers who are reading and say, “I want to start doing calls.” I’m not going to go through everything. You have a process that you might have a resource to share with the readers at the end that they can learn a lot more. The typical questions that everybody comes out with is I want to address two of them and then you’ll answer them in your order. One is how do I overcome the gatekeeper? That’s a very important question that people want to know. Just even tactical. What do I do in order to overcome that to even get to the right person?
The second question, which is related, once I get that person on the phone and this is what I hear so many times. A person will have a good conversation, but it’s not like the person just brushed them off, “Send me an email and we’ll follow up.” How can we make sure that those calls yield results? There’s the proper framework for you to walk away with something concrete. Those are the two questions, at the beginning of the call and the end of the call. In the middle of the call, we’ll leave for another time, but there’s so much to talk about.
Let’s talk about gatekeepers first. Let’s assume for a moment that Indra Nooyi is calling your prospect. Indra Nooyi used to be the CEO of PepsiCo and she’s now on the board of directors of Amazon. Let’s assume she’s calling your prospect and the gatekeeper says to her, “What is this in reference to?” I’m willing to bet that the answer is not going to be, “I used to be the CEO of PepsiCo. We make Pepsi Cola and also Tropicana, the orange juice and Quaker Oats, the oatmeal. Now, I’m on the board of directors of Amazon. We started out selling books, but now we sell everything. Jeff Bezos, maybe you’ve heard of us?” She’s probably going to say something like, “Please tell, whatever the prospect’s name is, it’s Indra Nooyi.” I know everybody’s going to say, “I’m not famous. I’m not on the board of directors of Amazon,” but it doesn’t matter. The answer is, “Please tell the prospect this is,” your name, from your company with a whole lot of confidence. Everyone is scared of the Dragon Lady gatekeeper, the secretary that’s been with the boss for 45 years. Those women don’t exist anymore. They’re the boss. Now. You are much more likely to encounter a temp than you are somebody that’s been with the boss for 45 years. Give them your name.
Do it straight up, “Here’s my name, here’s the company. I want to speak to this person.”
If I get a gatekeeper and I say, “Meny Hoffman, please,” and the gatekeeper says, “What’s this in reference to? “Please tell Meny it’s Wendy Weiss of Weiss Communications.” That’s what I say.
Most people over complicate things.
They spill their guts. You have a right to speak with the person you want to speak with. Sometimes people will say to me, “The gatekeeper’s job is to screen out calls.” I think the gatekeeper’s job is to put important calls through and that includes yours.
Once you speak to that person, then maybe sometimes you have a good conversation. How do you make sure that it yields proper results, what is this script or a piece of a script or a piece of a conversation that you could finish off a call, end the call with something that I know exactly where I stand with this prospect for now?
The first rule is nobody cares what you do. They don’t care. They care how they’re going to be better off after you finish. Talk about outcomes. Talk about results that you get for your customers or your clients, not about how you get those results. That can come later. To give you a specific example, I have a client that I’ve been working with who is a consultant, she works with nonprofit agencies and she helps them. They’re usually smaller to mid-sized nonprofit agencies. She helps them produce their fundraising events and she was getting nowhere. I said to her, “Why should a nonprofit agency be interested in working with you?” She said, “We have a very special proprietary process.” I said, “So what?” I relented and I said, “Tell me about your process.” She said, “We meet with the client.” I said, “So what?” She said, “We ask them a lot of questions.” I said, “So what?” “We analyze the answers.” I said, “So what?” “We make recommendations.” I said, “So what? How are they better off after you have done all these things?” She said, “Their events make money.” I said, “That’s what you need to talk about.”For the things that you want out of life, there's just no reason not to show up. Click To Tweet
We helped her create an introduction that started out, “We work with nonprofit agencies that are tired of losing their shirts on their fundraising events.” Nonprofit executive directors or development directors of nonprofit agencies that were struggling with fundraising events would stop what they were doing and talk to her. The other half of this question, there was some stuff in the middle, but the other half of this question is you’ve got ask for what you want. Interestingly enough, that is the part so many people leave out. I call it the appointment-setting mantra. It’s a mantra because you repeat it a lot. It goes like this. “I’d like to introduce myself and whatever the company name is personally. I need ten or fifteen minutes, any time that works for you. Can we carve out some time next week or is the week after better?” That’s how I asked for an appointment. You’ve got to ask and you might have to ask more than once.
It’s like the yes or yes type of setting, which means it’s not a question of yes or no. The question is the next week or two weeks from now.
Because if somebody says, “No, I’m busy for the next two weeks,” then you’re looking at, “No problem. Three weeks from now, is four weeks better?” We do teach a very step-by-step process for this. My eBook is The Cold Calling Survival Guide: Start Setting Appointments in the Next 24 Hours. If you’re looking to learn this system, The Cold Calling Survival Guide is a great starting place because it will start to lay out the process for you. It’s very easy to follow. If you manage your team, we have the Practical Guide to Getting Sales Teams to Prospect.
I appreciate your generosity on that because the reason that is going back to how we started is that cold calling is a business process that you need to put in place, so you have scalability and predictability. As business leaders or managers have a little larger sales team or even the salesperson directly, you cannot always control the output. You could control the inputs. Cold calling, getting in the habit of making those calls, having the script, understanding what you want to get out of the outcome, going from prospecting to lead generation, that’s the input that a salesperson has to do. If he or she does it in a consistent way, ultimately that you start learning those metrics, you start learning their metrics, it becomes predictable. That’s how you grow as a salesperson or as a team. That’s why it’s very important. Again, I know we could go on and on, but for our readers, I think we got a lot of value out. I encourage our readers to download them and study them a little closer and ultimately take some action. Let’s close with the four rapid-fire questions. A book that changed your life?
I don’t know if I could say a book that changed my life. I will tell you that everything I know in life I learned in ballet class. That changed my life.
I thought you’re going to say I could tell you a cold call that changed my life.
I will say that first job, it was an ad in the backstage. The telemarketing agency would hire actors because they could read the script. The ad in backstage certainly changed my life. Who knew?
A piece of advice you got that you’ll never forget?
I was dancing. This was before I started my business and I was going through a hard time and I stopped taking a class. I showed up in class one day because the ballet dancers, we take class every day without fail. My teacher wanted to know where I’d been and I started telling her a sob story about all the terrible things that were going on in my life. She said, “That’s no reason not to take a class. You need to be here every day.” She was right. For the things that you want out of life, there’s just no reason not to show up.
Anything you wish you could go back and do differently?
When I started my business because I was smart, I was well-educated. I was creative and I thought I knew everything I needed to know, and I did not. If I were going to go back to the Wendy that was starting her business, I probably would have hired a coach sooner, looked for more resources outside of my brain. I think that I made a lot of mistakes early on just because you don’t know what you don’t know.
Last question, what is still on your bucket list to achieve? Don’t tell me you want to go back to dancing.
I was about to say I want to take more dance classes. I still dance. I still take class, but I just don’t take a class every day.
Thank you so much, Wendy, for giving us your time. I know myself and in behalf of the Let’s Talk Business community, we’ll forever be grateful for sharing your time with us. Thank you so much.
It’s my pleasure. Thank you, Meny.
- Wendy Weiss
- Ptex Group
- The Cold Calling Survival Guide: Start Setting Appointments in the Next 24 Hours
- Practical Guide to Getting Sales Teams to Prospect
About Wendy Weiss
Wendy Weiss is known as The Queen of Cold Calling™. She is an author, speaker, sales trainer, and sales coach, and she is recognized as one of the leading authorities on lead generation, cold calling, and new business development. Her clients include Avon Products, ADP, Sprint, and thousands of entrepreneurs throughout the world.
Wendy has been featured in the New York Times, BusinessWeek, Entrepreneur Magazine, Selling Power, Inc, Forbes, and various other business and sales publications. She is the author of, Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors & Closing Sales and The Sales Winner’s Handbook, Essential Scripts and Strategies to Skyrocket Sales Performance.