Cold Call Prospecting Question

15 replies
I'm doing a lot of calling and getting a decent amount of leads but I've got a question about prospecting over the phone.

One followup method I really like is creating videos for people showing them an updated website, search engine marketing results etc. A lot of the times what happens is the person on the phone will say something like "We're not really interested at the moment" - without much of a reason why.

If this is the case I usually say something like "Sure no problem, I'd just like to ask you something real quick..." then jump into asking about leads, getting them more sales. More often then not this opens the conversation right up again... it basically gives me something to work with.

After the conversation opens up a bit I offer to create them a video and send it to their email. A lot of the time they say yeah sure. Here's what I'm not sure of: I don't want this to be an easy way out for them off the phone. A lot of the time I'll try to schedule a call back on a specific day and time and if they agree then I know they're serious and I'll create the video (only takes 10 minutes to do one up).

Is there anything else I can do to tell me if this is a legit prospect? I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of this but still not quite there yet.
#call #cold #prospecting #question
  • Profile picture of the author kebertt
    You could ask them to send over a logo and more company information to incorporate in your video. Typically if they're willing to put in the effort to send over this information, they're interested in seeing more.
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  • Profile picture of the author PanteraIM
    You should have the expectation of closing on the first call and not putting emails and callbacks between you and your money. You are also wasting time and unnecessarily extending the buying cycle by doing work for FREE, this is madness to me and only cheapens your product and value in your prospect's eyes.

    Get them on the phone, ask them to buy, THEN do the work after its in your account.

    Are you asking for the sale at the end of the call? What commitment are you getting from them to buy? These two things will have more of an effect on your sales than a follow up method.
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    • Profile picture of the author thomharvey87
      Originally Posted by PanteraIM View Post

      You should have the expectation of closing on the first call and not putting emails and callbacks between you and your money. You are also wasting time and unnecessarily extending the buying cycle by doing work for FREE, this is madness to me and only cheapens your product and value in your prospect's eyes.

      Get them on the phone, ask them to buy, THEN do the work after its in your account.

      Are you asking for the sale at the end of the call? What commitment are you getting from them to buy? These two things will have more of an effect on your sales than a follow up method.
      I agree with you, I definitely have areas to improve in. I`m not trying to call you out but I read this post from you http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...ml#post7881091

      where you talk about doing free mockups and even a followup process where you`re not focusing on 1 call closes. Not really sure what to think, could you clarify what you meant in that post or if you changed your strategy since, why you`ve decided to change it and the results you`ve seen from the change.
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      • Profile picture of the author PanteraIM
        Originally Posted by thomharvey87 View Post

        I agree with you, I definitely have areas to improve in. I`m not trying to call you out but I read this post from you http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...ml#post7881091

        where you talk about doing free mockups and even a followup process where you`re not focusing on 1 call closes. Not really sure what to think, could you clarify what you meant in that post or if you changed your strategy since, why you`ve decided to change it and the results you`ve seen from the change.
        Hey. This is a good question!

        This is how I started my business from doing this, but once I changed strategies I found I actually closed more and made far more money by only dealing with serious prospects and not people that are halfway committed to getting their web design done.

        This method does work, but involves a lot of follow up work which gets more expensive the better you get on the phones.

        I would advise using Jason's advice or simply taking 50% as a deposit and the take the rest later once they are satisfied.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    You could charge a small fee for the mockup, and then deduct that from the total price if they move forward. They keep the mockup design if they don't.

    This is the best way to qualify out the tire-kickers.
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    • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      You could charge a small fee for the mockup, and then deduct that from the total price if they move forward. They keep the mockup design if they don't.

      This is the best way to qualify out the tire-kickers.
      Solid advice here.

      From the other side I never trust a company that gives things away for free. If what you do has value ask me to pay for it and I will be willing to. If you are using it to sell a bigger service Jason's tip here is perfect on how to do that.
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    • Profile picture of the author bsummers
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      You could charge a small fee for the mockup, and then deduct that from the total price if they move forward. They keep the mockup design if they don't.

      This is the best way to qualify out the tire-kickers.
      This is a great advice. Some prospects would want to see a sample of your work to see if you are really good. I agree with Pantera as well, to try to close on the first call. The best way to do so is to ask the right question and learn how to figure out interest. It is not worth your time to try to follow up on those who have no intention or need of your service.
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  • Profile picture of the author FF
    Before I try to approach business owners with my service I take a look at there current marketing and if I can find a weak area, I will let them know what they can do to strengthen that area.

    I find if you are willing to help them with their current situation it is much easier then to come in with whatever you are selling.
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  • Profile picture of the author J R Salem
    The one thing I disagree with is trying to "close" on the first call.

    This is more of a "warrior" phenomenon then real world strategy.

    These days our services are well-known for the most part, and a prospect is not going to buy a service, they are going to buy YOU.

    Sell yourself - be trustworthy, transparent and ethical.

    Some of the best clients I have I obtained by telling them, "sorry, but I can't help you. This isn't a good fit for your business."

    This is course leads them to want more help on what IS a good fit.

    So in short, do as others above said, ask for a logo or something, but don't hard sell on call #1. Think about if YOU would buy on the first call...
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    • Profile picture of the author PanteraIM
      Originally Posted by J R Salem View Post

      The one thing I disagree with is trying to "close" on the first call.

      This is more of a "warrior" phenomenon then real world strategy.

      These days our services are well-known for the most part, and a prospect is not going to buy a service, they are going to buy YOU.

      Sell yourself - be trustworthy, transparent and ethical.

      Some of the best clients I have I obtained by telling them, "sorry, but I can't help you. This isn't a good fit for your business."

      This is course leads them to want more help on what IS a good fit.

      So in short, do as others above said, ask for a logo or something, but don't hard sell on call #1. Think about if YOU would buy on the first call...
      This is really awful, dis-empowering advice. In almost all the cases I've seen of people advising against one call closing, it is almost always due to their own fears and prejudices that lead them to this bizarre conclusion.

      Is it always possible to close on the first call? Of course not. But it's far more effective to start at the assumption that every call CAN be closed on the first dial and work from there.

      It seems your argument against asking for the order on the first call is that it breaks the trust between you and the prospect. THIS is not reality. Asking for the order is not a quantum leap you ask the prospect to make, in reality they have agreed with you on lots of small details and specifications which add up at the end of the call to buying from you.

      You should be presenting a benefit or piece of information and getting feedback, present another benefit and ask how it sounds, tell them your price and ask how they feel about it. If they have agreed all the way up to now, buying from you then becomes the natural conclusion to the conversation. To NOT ask for the deal at the end of the call is showing incongruence between your words and your actions, if you truly believed that your product was the best fit for your prospect then why wouldn't you make a recommendation to buy?

      If you sell poorly however, then yes. You should send them that 27 page proposal which they probably won't even get anyway. Things move fast in business, you don't want your deal to be at the mercy of the undercurrent of problems and priorities your prospects face on the daily. Make it easy for them to buy by being fearless and expectant of making the sale.

      I read from a wise man here that the best follow up method is NOT to follow up, and that's to god the honest truth.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by J R Salem View Post

      The one thing I disagree with is trying to "close" on the first call.

      This is more of a "warrior" phenomenon then real world strategy.
      No. What amazed me, when I started reading posts on this forum, was that there were actually a few people who knew how to sell. Can you close every sale on the first call? No. I do, because I won't make follow up calls. But I know that isn't realistic for most people.

      I own a retail store. I get calls every day from salespeople. Usually I don't buy...but sometimes I do. Only on the first call. I'm busy. You have to think like a business owner. When someone calls, I want to know what it is, what it does, how much does it cost?

      if I salesman calls and doesn't ask for an order...I think there is something wrong. Business people ask for orders. Business is buying and selling. Half of business is buying...but I won't buy from you if you don't ask me to.
      When you call a prospect, the only way you can be of service to them is if they buy from you. If you call me, and I don't buy from you? You have wasted my time.

      Originally Posted by J R Salem View Post

      These days our services are well-known for the most part, and a prospect is not going to buy a service, they are going to buy YOU.
      I understand, Really I do. And you are right about the customer buying you.
      So I'm going to be direct.
      You want me to buy you? Don't waste my time. Get to the point. How do I benefit? How much does it cost? When can we get started? If you can help me, why are you beating around the bush? Why are you insisting on delaying my buying from you? What's wrong with your offer that you don't want me to buy it now?



      Originally Posted by J R Salem View Post

      Sell yourself - be trustworthy, transparent and ethical.
      Trustworthy? How do you prove that until I buy from you? A guarantee will help. Referrals help. Samples online, that you can point to while you have me on the phone can help.
      But building a relationship before you close? Isn't your offer good enough to stand on it's own? Do you know who builds relationships before they close? Con Men.
      Lawyers that have a weak case, use personalities...Lawyers with an iron tight case...just use the facts.

      Transparent? Nothing is more transparent that making an offer.
      When I call, they know I'm there for business, and that I intend on getting an order. Why else am I calling? Nothing has more clarity than a well described offer. Nothing is more sincere than coming out and just asking for the business.

      Ethical? "Here's my offer...Do you want it?" That's what I want to hear as a buyer. To me, trying to get someone to buy because they like you and not your offer is unethical. Because when you hang up...you are gone. All they have now is your offer. Your offer should be strong enough, and you explained it clearly enough...that they should not want to wait to get the advantages you offer.

      Unless you are selling in an environment where one call closing is impractical (committee meetings, 3 bids from competitors, not talking to the person who can say yes), you are showing a lack of confidence in your offer if you don't ask them to buy on the first all.

      In the last 5 years of selling offline marketing, I remember one instance of calling a second time. All other sales were made on the first call or the first visit. These number in the hundreds. It may take an hour or two...but they bought. If you have the ability to get someone excited about your offer (you know...selling), they are now in heat. Delaying simply kills the momentum of the sale.

      The reason you don't ask them to buy on the first call, is because you find it uncomfortable. That's understandable. Asking people to buy is counter-intuitive. And you can make sales by building a relationship first and then asking them to buy. (or making multiple calls giving more information).

      Some Gurus even teach that.
      But that isn't selling. That's accepting an order.
      And saying that one call closing isn't possible, sounds silly to those of us doing it.

      I don't mean this personally. I'm arguing with your assertion, I know you are giving sincere advice.
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    • Profile picture of the author Matt Lee
      Originally Posted by J R Salem View Post

      The one thing I disagree with is trying to "close" on the first call.

      This is more of a "warrior" phenomenon then real world strategy.

      These days our services are well-known for the most part, and a prospect is not going to buy a service, they are going to buy YOU.

      Sell yourself - be trustworthy, transparent and ethical.

      Some of the best clients I have I obtained by telling them, "sorry, but I can't help you. This isn't a good fit for your business."

      This is course leads them to want more help on what IS a good fit.

      So in short, do as others above said, ask for a logo or something, but don't hard sell on call #1. Think about if YOU would buy on the first call...
      Yeah, i take the same exact approach. Build that relationship first.
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    Originally Posted by thomharvey87 View Post

    One followup method I really like is creating videos for people showing them an updated website, search engine marketing results etc. A lot of the times what happens is the person on the phone will say something like "We're not really interested at the moment" - without much of a reason why.

    If this is the case I usually say something like "Sure no problem, I'd just like to ask you something real quick..." then jump into asking about leads, getting them more sales. More often then not this opens the conversation right up again... it basically gives me something to work with.

    After the conversation opens up a bit I offer to create them a video and send it to their email. A lot of the time they say yeah sure. Here's what I'm not sure of: I don't want this to be an easy way out for them off the phone. A lot of the time I'll try to schedule a call back on a specific day and time and if they agree then I know they're serious and I'll create the video (only takes 10 minutes to do one up).

    Is there anything else I can do to tell me if this is a legit prospect? I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of this but still not quite there yet.
    I'm going to take a wild stab at this and say that the first ""We're not really interested" is a knee jerk reaction but replying with "Sure no problem, I'd just like to ask you something" while I understand that as a mechanism to continue the conversation, I think a better response may be to be more direct about why they SHOULD be interested and tell them what it is. Maybe that's even why they're not responding positively from the get go. So I don't know what it is you're saying but it could probably stand to be improved by making it more about what's in it for them.

    And your offer to create a video: I assume it's limited in some ways if you're offering it for free. So can you make it a low sample price offer for which they'll get that video? Maybe you can test having them buy in at a lower tier and then up sell them now that they've qualified themselves somewhat by buying in. A word of caution: that doesn't qualify them however as to being the kind of people you want to work with or for being your best types of clients. But it does mean they're invested in you.

    If you do keep it as a freebie sample then other ways to qualify somewhat would be to set up a few slight hurdles to getting that freebie. This way they have to exert themselves a bit to get it and in that way they invest themselves.
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    • Profile picture of the author thomharvey87
      Originally Posted by misterme View Post

      I'm going to take a wild stab at this and say that the first ""We're not really interested" is a knee jerk reaction but replying with "Sure no problem, I'd just like to ask you something" while I understand that as a mechanism to continue the conversation, I think a better response may be to be more direct about why they SHOULD be interested and tell them what it is. Maybe that's even why they're not responding positively from the get go. So I don't know what it is you're saying but it could probably stand to be improved by making it more about what's in it for them.

      And your offer to create a video: I assume it's limited in some ways if you're offering it for free. So can you make it a low sample price offer for which they'll get that video? Maybe you can test having them buy in at a lower tier and then up sell them now that they've qualified themselves somewhat by buying in. A word of caution: that doesn't qualify them however as to being the kind of people you want to work with or for being your best types of clients. But it does mean they're invested in you.

      If you do keep it as a freebie sample then other ways to qualify somewhat would be to set up a few slight hurdles to getting that freebie. This way they have to exert themselves a bit to get it and in that way they invest themselves.
      Yeah I'm trying to come up with some more hurdles. At this point I only offer it to people who seem genuinely interested but didn't buy on the call. A lot of them will ask "can you send me some information on this"... which yes, could be a brush off. But I make sure I book a call back time... now I just have to find more ways for them to invest in the video, maybe a deposit that they'll get their money back with or something (might be extreme for a 5 minute vid but it's a thought). At the end of the day it's about giving myself the best chance to succeed, get on the phone with a decision maker and show them value.

      Also, for the bolded above.. that's basically what I do. In the OP I mention I ask a question to open up the conversation.. something like "can you handle more customers and leads at this time?" - if they say no, I know they're full of it most likely, however a lot say "yeah we probably could" and I then get into how I've been doing some research on the amount of local searches and try to get them to sell themselves on the value of it through amount of potential customers and amount of money each customer is worth.
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      • Profile picture of the author misterme
        Originally Posted by thomharvey87 View Post

        Yeah I'm trying to come up with some more hurdles. At this point I only offer it to people who seem genuinely interested but didn't buy on the call. A lot of them will ask "can you send me some information on this"... which yes, could be a brush off. But I make sure I book a call back time... now I just have to find more ways for them to invest in the video, maybe a deposit
        One of the "hurdles" or ways to get them to invest themselves into you is to take that "can you send me some information on this" and turn it around on them. "There's a deadline to get this information. And you have to go this site and click on this to download the information." Or fill out a form. Or write a short essay telling us why this is something you need so we have a better idea of how to take care of you. Or call this special number and leave this specific information.

        It doesn't always have to be about money.

        But maybe "can you send me some information on this" is a knee jerk response. "Do you have a brochure you can send me?" "Better. I have the real thing you can take a look at. When's good for you?" Then see what they say.
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