About This Business of Cold Calling...

16 replies
Can we discuss the merits of cold calling? Can we step back to take an objective look at this?

Check out highlights from a Study Conducted By Baylor University.

6,264 Calls made and that yielded 30 appointments. There's a lot more information out there if you search Google; "cold calling success rates" "cold all conversion rates" etc. The numbers are staggering (in a bad way).

As for this Baylor Study, granted the list was generic (not targeted), and the 50 "seasoned sales people" could have been college interns... But still. Most Warriors are inexperienced sellers starting out...

Does this mean cold calling does not work? No. Zero effectiveness means it won't work. If you call all day every day all year, you're guaranteed to get at least one sale just function of math... Is it the best method to generate a lead if you're scraping the bucket? I'm not so sure...

Consider what other Warriors are doing to generate leads cheaply:
  1. Linked In - Pretty basic stuff that clearly just works. If you're flat broke, go there!
  2. Bob Ross M3 - Brilliance.
  3. Voice Mail Message Marketing - Simple, effective, cheap. Expect .004 response rate / 40 calls per 10,000 msgs.
  4. Direct Mail - If you hand write 100 letters per day, the data suggests you will have created 2 leads for yourself that day. 10 leads per week with a 10% close ratio = a sale a week.

I've been using cold calling lately. I haven't been using it to generate leads, rather, as a way to understand potential prospects and smoke test marketing strategies for clients.

Cold calling while either pretending to be a salesman, AND also to conduct surveys give you tons of info to inform your more scaleable marketing initiatives... The key is really listening...

You have to learn to listen to what they are not saying as well as what they are saying. Sometimes what they are not saying, is said more loudly than what they are saying but our ears are tuned out.
#bother #business #calling #cold
  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Most prospecting calls are begun so badly there is no rest of the call.

    Not surprising this study would get bad results. But these results are even worse than bad. An appointment ratio of less than one-half of one percent?? Awful. A child could do better. We can't hear these calls, so we have no idea what was said, how it was said, who it was said to...

    Yes, I looked at the article. Real estate agents calling a random geographic area. Well what great pre-qualification and niche selection. No wonder. The reason is right there: poor (non-existent) prospect targeting.

    No expertise + no practice = no skill.


    All prospects lie. And most will give you the knee-jerk reaction of "I'm not interested" or "We've got that taken care of" because they are scared you're going to make them buy something...or even something as simple as they're frightened you're going to trap them on the phone for some time.

    If you don't know how to get past these lies, it's going to be difficult to sell.

    You cannot just "dip your toe" into calling and expect it to work. It's a skill like any other. Would you expect to make a gourmet meal in your first two days of cooking? Would you expect to make a beautiful piece of furniture when you just started learning how to woodwork?

    The problem is lack of training and incorrect expectations. Note 55% were not answered. You've probably heard my numbers: half the people you dial, on average, won't be in. So no surprise from my side there. 17% non-working numbers. Poor list scrubbing. The author even says you can't take this B2C study and carry it over to B2B. The study had a poor script, lousy target market, didn't do anything to increase its odds of success like scrub the list, and didn't have the right expectations.

    ADDITION:

    My wife looked at this study and burst out laughing. She said "Can you see the big red flag?!"
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  • Profile picture of the author TheBigBee
    You make valid points. I started cold calling as a lead generator. My frist commission checks came from cold calling. Was it easy? No. 300 dials a day for 3 months consistently is what it takes to get to $6k a month or so....

    I think a lot of Warriors should do well by experimenting on what works well for them. If you do exceedingly well at cold calling, hire reps and deploy them via LiveOPS after you train them. If you are failing at cold calling, fail fast and move on.

    I think we may be inclined to talk about a math problem. By which method below, can you reach businesses owners the fastest. In other words, out of 100 attempts, which method will yield the most contact with a decision maker on the first try. Keep in mind, I am just talking about plain contact and not conversion.

    1. Linked In - I'd say you'll get through 90% of the time. Save the 10% for those weird cases where the office manager is running the dentists' Linked In account.

    2. Direct Mail - I'll let someone else chime in here, because I am no expert. I cannot find data on OPEN rates. But we know you can expect a 2% response rate - if you are offer and copy are attractive.

    3. Bob Ross M3 - A Warrior, if he is smart can actually use this method to pay himself to generate leads for himself.


    I think if Warriors looked at the math relative to the expected value of their time there are far more attractive options out there.

    We've heard cold calling success stories on WF.

    We've heard cold calling failure stories on WF.

    The folks who fail, need to fail fast and move on to the next method, or the method that best suits their style.

    As someone who knocked doors for 3 years of my life, 6 days a week, no days off I know that once you get into a rut, it can stick. It reflects itself subconsciously in every call you make. So if you come storming out of the gate running above average expectation on the phone, you may be inclined to think you're the man! Then that dry spell hits, you internalize it. Your feelings are hurt. It's poison.

    Consequently, if you just carbon copied that letter, e-mail, M3, or voicemail message marketing campaign you'd not have to worry about that stuff. You'll be working a system that works.


    Cold calling will always have value when used wisely. It's tough to scale a business on 300 dials a day while also worrying about fulfillment...

    My thing is this... If I were starving and had to eat right now... I'm going method 3 all day.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    I just disagree about failing quickly. Are you going to become an artist by quitting after your first attempt at painting something?

    The more skilled you get, the less time it takes. Most people never get any training, and don't commit. So is it any wonder they suck?

    Of course have multiple lead channels for your business. But prospecting calls is the quickest and cheapest thing you can start with.
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  • Profile picture of the author socialentry
    I believe that to do something scalable /w cold calling, one needs to have the time and money to develop a working script (and that means the possibility of no sales or at least inconsistent sales while testing the script).

    The study does beg the question:
    What exactly is the closing ratio for the appointments? 1 in 3? 5? 10? 15? 20?
    What does the distribution look like ?
    Any outliers (both good and bad?)

    It depends, even with those really bad numbers, it might have been worth it for them.

    The tricky thing is that some people stay in sales but never evolve.e.g. "did they repeat the first year 5 times"
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  • Profile picture of the author Rearden
    Another BS study/circle jerk to justify avoidance behavior.

    The sales are really just sitting out there, waiting to be closed, I promise you.

    And we don't need to develop a standard deviation, probability-model for cold calling.

    Just commit to 30, 40, 50 -- whatever -- calls a day, in addition to whatever appointments you book.

    Greet, introduce, state the reason for your call, a single benefit point, and close for the appointment.

    And HOW you sound is just as important as WHAT you say. Tonality is the lynchpin to successful cold calling.
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    David Duford -- Providing On-Going, Personalized Mentorship And Training From A Real Final Expense Producer To Agents New To The Final Expense Life Insurance Business.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Closing for an appointment? When I had people on the phone making appointments for me, it was one appointment for every six contacts.

      When I called, it was about one in five. The same with going door to door looking for presentations right then. About one presentation for every 5 people that came to the door.

      Of course, I didn't knock on the door if the car was gone, looked bad, looked like they had company (3 or more cars)..a few other things.

      But cold calling? You didn't know any of that. We offered a gift for a presentation. It would be impossible to go 200 calls before an appointment.

      I think the college example had people that weren't trying at all, and were just going through the motions.
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      One Call Closing book https://www.amazon.com/One-Call-Clos...=1527788418&sr

      "Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle".....Ian Maclaren
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      • Profile picture of the author TheBigBee
        Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

        I just disagree about failing quickly. Are you going to become an artist by quitting after your first attempt at painting something?

        The more skilled you get, the less time it takes. Most people never get any training, and don't commit. So is it any wonder they suck?
        I see how just saying "fail fast" can be misconstrued. Sounds kinda weak. Sorry for the lack of context. I'm a "Lean Start Up" guy. It teaches you to fail fast, but only after gathering enough data, through enough testing, and enough iterations. I don't want people to think that if they have a bad first day they should give up cold calling...

        If you are succeeding and you have all sorts of data on what you're succeeding, you're pretty much playing with an unfair advantage. You're armed with data that will allow you to quickly scale... The Lean Start Up teaches you that these are to be the outcomes. Fail fast, or win small - then scale big...


        Originally Posted by Rearden View Post


        And we don't need to develop a standard deviation, probability-model for cold calling.
        Why not know more about the subject / art / science? My thing is... marketing is just math with some pictures... I don't draw well, and I'm not that good at math, so I think I need both to have a prayer.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rearden
    Oh, I am a geek. I like philosophy, math, science. The whole bit.

    The problem is with sales, while thought is important, people tend to think WAY too much about the whole prospecting bit.

    I know this because I used to.

    If you should think about anything, it's your approach, your pitch, your selection of questions, rebuttals, and pushing yourself to ask for the business.

    As far as prospecting goes? It's as simple as walking in or picking up the phone, and doing it in mass numbers.

    All this "thinking" makes it a bigger deal than it needs to be.
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    David Duford -- Providing On-Going, Personalized Mentorship And Training From A Real Final Expense Producer To Agents New To The Final Expense Life Insurance Business.
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    • Profile picture of the author sitekrafters
      What is "Bob Ross M3" and where can I find more info about it?
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      • Profile picture of the author TheBigBee
        Originally Posted by sitekrafters View Post

        What is "Bob Ross M3" and where can I find more info about it?
        Send a pm to "bobross"
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    They conducted the survey during one of the worst housing markets in our history! What a laugh, what idiots.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    According to the Direct Marketing Association, telemarketing has the absolute highest response rate of any direct marketing method including email and direct mail. It also carries the highest cost per sale but that is irrelevant.

    Telemarketing averaged 10%, direct mail averaged 2.8%, email was down there somewhere but I can't remember the exact figure.

    The key is, the survey was conducted among business who use the prospecting methods on a daily basis and tracked the results. This university study was flawed from the very, very beginning.
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    Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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  • Profile picture of the author candycandy7
    This post is reassuring. In the back of my mind, I always thought if I just got the guts together to start cold calling I'd probably be okay, but I just don't really like it. I kept kicking myself that I just won't do it. The fact that you listed some other alternatives is really helpful.
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  • Profile picture of the author onthebox
    Surely, Offline Marketing is ALL about building relationships with people who want to buy your products and services. Most of us are not good at Cold Calling - but we are all social beings and as such can build relationships.

    Offline works by joining business networks like the Chamber and BNI or any local business networking group - or set one up yourself. There are hundreds of networks like this where local business owners socialise, share ideas and make sales. It's not "ear to ear" but "eyeball to eyeball" that works best.

    You can grow business fast this way - without trying to get past the gatekeeper!
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    Steve Flashman works on and offline as a Marketing Consultant with a unique edge! He is a published author & recording artist, broadcaster & communications expert and he runs a charity working in the developing world. He also bought a Double Decker Bus on Ebay, runs a number of Community Choirs and leads a church and community project. http://www.businessexpresscoaching.com

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  • Profile picture of the author ColdCallCommando
    I have to disagree with this statement.

    Cold calling does work...Is it the most efficient way of generating leads? No. But for someone that has 0 marketing budget and needs to generate a couple of thousand of dollars in the next couple of days for rent I don't know of a better way to generate that money than through cold calling.

    I recommend getting Phone Burner which will allow you to effortlessly cold call 300+ prospects per day from the comfort of your own home.

    The point of the call isn't to close a deal over the phone but it's to set up an appointment where you can further pitch your services.

    In my business I still cold call. I do rely on paid advertising as well but cold calling is still a very prominent function in my business.

    Check out the thread I posted a while back where I record me cold calling. This was a while ago and I sucked at it but I still made a couple of thousand of dollars from these calls:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...of-inside.html

    -The Cold Call Commando
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    • Profile picture of the author onthebox
      Originally Posted by ColdCallCommando View Post

      I have to disagree with this statement.

      Cold calling does work...Is it the most efficient way of generating leads? No. But for someone that has 0 marketing budget and needs to generate a couple of thousand of dollars in the next couple of days for rent I don't know of a better way to generate that money than through cold calling.

      I recommend getting Phone Burner which will allow you to effortlessly cold call 300+ prospects per day from the comfort of your own home.

      The point of the call isn't to close a deal over the phone but it's to set up an appointment where you can further pitch your services.

      In my business I still cold call. I do rely on paid advertising as well but cold calling is still a very prominent function in my business.

      Check out the thread I posted a while back where I record me cold calling. This was a while ago and I sucked at it but I still made a couple of thousand of dollars from these calls:

      http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...of-inside.html

      -The Cold Call Commando
      Point well made
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      Steve Flashman works on and offline as a Marketing Consultant with a unique edge! He is a published author & recording artist, broadcaster & communications expert and he runs a charity working in the developing world. He also bought a Double Decker Bus on Ebay, runs a number of Community Choirs and leads a church and community project. http://www.businessexpresscoaching.com

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