A Thought About Cold Calling To Sell Our Services...

30 replies
I just read a 32 page report about techniques used to 'get a foot in the door' with prospects. It turned out to be a report about COLD CALLING prospects via phone.

The thought occurred to me: If we're as good as we're telling our prospects we are within the realm of internet marketing, then WHY do so many of us use COLD CALLING as our primary means to drum up new business?

Shouldn't we become our own best customer and use the internet to drive in leads for ourselves, rather than cold calling?

It almost doesn't make sense to cold call if we're as good at driving leads and traffic as we're telling our customers we are.

Maybe, just maybe, before we run out and try to get any new customers, we should be our own best customer or treat our businesses as if it were a customer and employ some of these lead generation tactics for ourselves.

Just a thought...
#calling #cold #sell #services #thought
  • Profile picture of the author Ragz
    Like placing an ad in the yellow pages or passing out flyers, right?
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  • Profile picture of the author Sonny Am
    You raise a good point, but in many cases the very people we are approaching and trying to help don't have websites / or don't realize the huge benefit a proper web presence will have to their bottom line - so understandably these people arent heavy internet users ie. they are not the sort of people that are actively searching "web design agency "you town" online, so you would not be able to capture them online through inbound methods.

    This is why cold calling is the most effective method to engage with them and educate them.
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    • Profile picture of the author marketingrep4u
      Originally Posted by Sonny Am View Post

      You raise a good point, but in many cases the very people we are approaching and trying to help don't have websites / or don't realize the huge benefit a proper web presence will have to their bottom line - so understandably these people arent heavy internet users ie. they are not the sort of people that are actively searching "web design agency "you town" online, so you would not be able to capture them online through inbound methods.

      This is why cold calling is the most effective method to engage with them and educate them.
      I agree with you that this is probably the most effective method to reach that market. I've always found that the group of prospects you mentioned are harder sells.

      If they don't already recognize 'pain' in the area of all things web, then it would seem to me that it would require more effort to sell to them than those that do feel the pain of not utilizing the web for greater profit, more local leads, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by marketingrep4u View Post

    I just read a 32 page report about techniques used to 'get a foot in the door' with prospects. It turned out to be a report about COLD CALLING prospects via phone.

    The thought occurred to me: If we're as good as we're telling our prospects we are within the realm of internet marketing, then WHY do so many of us use COLD CALLING as our primary means to drum up new business?

    Shouldn't we become our own best customer and use the internet to drive in leads for ourselves, rather than cold calling?

    It almost doesn't make sense to cold call if we're as good at driving leads and traffic as we're telling our customers we are.

    Maybe, just maybe, before we run out and try to get any new customers, we should be our own best customer or treat our businesses as if it were a customer and employ some of these lead generation tactics for ourselves.

    Just a thought...
    It's a great question, and I have a great answer.

    I market the same way I show my clients how to market. And this is how I explain it to them if needed...

    "Local online marketing gets the low hanging fruit...the easy sales...the customers that are looking to buy now, or are looking to learn more before they buy. This is like manna from heaven. This is the cream. This is the customer you have to have.

    Referral selling gives us quality prospects who know someone ecstatic with our service.

    Cold calling on the phone brings in new clients that would have never seen my direct mail, and would have not gone online to find me. We cold call to find that perfect client that we are eager to please. And we work hard to earn referrals from cold called clients that we would never find otherwise."

    You should always have a rehearsed, answer to every possible question or objection that actually furthers the sale.
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    • Profile picture of the author marketingrep4u
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      It's a great question, and I have a great answer.

      I market the same way I show my clients how to market. And this is how I explain it to them if needed...

      "Local online marketing gets the low hanging fruit...the easy sales...the customers that are looking to buy now, or are looking to learn more before they buy. This is like manna from heaven. This is the cream. This is the customer you have to have.

      Referral selling gives us quality prospects who know someone ecstatic with our service.

      Cold calling on the phone brings in new clients that would have never seen my direct mail, and would have not gone online to find me. We cold call to find that perfect client that we are eager to please. And we work hard to earn referrals from cold called clients that we would never find otherwise."

      You should always have a rehearsed, answer to every possible question or objection that actually furthers the sale.
      This is great! I love your multiple approach strategy. Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author isosales
    They don't realize they need our services. Or they are set on the fact that they just don't need us. That's why its up to us to educate and inform them so they will understand exactly how they can benefit from what we offer. Cold calling them is just another way to reach those who realize they don't want to be reached, yet.
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    • Profile picture of the author marketingrep4u
      Originally Posted by isosales View Post

      They don't realize they need our services. Or they are set on the fact that they just don't need us. That's why its up to us to educate and inform them so they will understand exactly how they can benefit from what we offer. Cold calling them is just another way to reach those who realize they don't want to be reached, yet.
      I get your point. But, I would think it would be easier to sell to someone with 'pain' rather than selling to someone that I had to convince that they had 'pain'.

      This reminded me of a long time friend that used to sell Kirby vacuum cleaners. One time, he sold a Kirby vacuum to a lady that had hardwood floors throughout her entire home. She didn't really need a Kirby, but he convinced her that she did and she bought it.

      But I do understand where you're coming from. I'm just geared more toward those that have 'pain' rather than to those that don't know it yet.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Nguyen
    I disagree. My main service is SEO, but all clients I've gained were either cold call, referral, cold call email. I do have a freelancer website (my sig) but I haven't gotten one lead throught it because
    1. PPC didnt work - To be fair, I haven't invested enough
    2. SEO - I haven't had the time to SEO my own site to generate leads

    Yes I could be my own best customer but time is money and I don't need to prove to myself I can generate my own leads through my own service for the sake of it. That's just a waste of resource when I can chase new leads

    The bottom line matters more than how I gain my lead.

    BTW - I have people that send me lead regularly, now why would I waste my time on SEO'ing my site? I have enough proof on my client's site to do that job and that's all that matters.

    Good luck sir.
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    • Profile picture of the author ukcarl
      Just because people/businesses in this space are cold calling it doesnt mean they are not promoting via internet marketing methods also, I prospect with a number of different techniques:

      SEO
      PPC
      email
      telemarketing
      freelance sites
      Social media

      Also there are a few thing to consider when promoting IM related services via IM techniques:
      • SEO keywords can be extremely competative and this traffic is not usually a quick solution.
      • PPC is expensive, I sell PPC as a service via PPC and my average CPC on Adwords is £5+ thats for 1 click and thats with high quality scores in position 4-5 the top spot would be considerably more £10+.
      • Depending on the service you provide and the area you provide it to, traffic volume may be limited for people serching for you specific service.
      • Social media can be time consuming.
      I think the most important thing is to do what delivers the most leads, I dont really care how I get them I just want lots of them
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  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    Originally Posted by marketingrep4u View Post


    It almost doesn't make sense to cold call if we're as good at driving leads and traffic as we're telling our customers we are.
    You're almost right.

    SEO for certain keywords, brings in certain traffic... how well your site converts will show how many leads you get with that method.

    PPC, easy to scale up and bring in more traffic but people need to realize that they almost always take an initial loss in PPC in order to build a good campaign. A lot of people starting out, don't have time for PPC to learn the ins and outs and they don't have money to spend on it.

    Direct mail... if you have a good converting piece, then yeah, scale it up.

    The thing is, these methods cost a lot of money... they bring in a certain amount of leads, and certainly most can make a living with it. Heck, you can make 5K/mo with just linkedin, or email marketing, or craigslist, or any other method.

    What cold calling does, is it DOES get a foot in the door, it allows you to possibly get a sale from someone who is not actively looking for your services.

    When you're using JUST ONE form of marketing, you're really limiting yourself. That isn't marketing... that is just using one technique. Marketing should be an overall strategy with multiple techniques to drive leads and ultimately customers.

    You have to realize that sales, is not marketing and marketing is not sales.

    If you're generating:
    10k/mo with linkedin
    5k/mo with Craigslist

    and that is all you're doing... you're missing out on another 10k/mo from cold calling, another 5k/mo with direct mailing, and so on.

    You're limited with every form of marketing there is... Some people want to be called, others want to be emailed, others want to connect on linkedin, others google what they want, others search craigslist. Go where your customer is. If your potential customer isn't looking for your services, why don't you call them, see if they understand the value of what you have to offer?

    You can't just use one form of marketing, and you can't write off any other form... everything works, you just have to work it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonwebb
    Internet marketing costs money. Even SEO needs money now. Cold calling is cost effective in many ways.

    Direct mail is also a great way to drum up clients. Pretty much I am a fan of direct marketing. I want to reach my clients personally.
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  • Profile picture of the author cpoalmighty
    While I do agree that sometimes your target market is offline, I personally do not like cold calling to generate your sales. Their are more socially acceptable means to generate sales such as using Linkedin to meet and greet people. Even the good old fashion meeting people / business owners through your own associates. Yes this takes more time and effort to actually play "dress up" but you gain a more valuable client that way who can testify of your greatness when their friend requires services you offer. They can give a personal testimony of your character (since they would personally know you now) and a testimony of your company (since they are also a client)
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Oh boy, another "I hate cold calling thread".

    Whatever...


    (and most people here DON'T call...they look for every excuse NOT to do it...)

    If you don't like calling, don't do it. Nobody's forcing you to.

    But you know, in spite of your desire to hide behind your computer, eventually you're going to have to talk to somebody to make a sale.

    And what are you going to do then?
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    • Profile picture of the author marketingrep4u
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Oh boy, another "I hate cold calling thread".

      Whatever...


      (and most people here DON'T call...they look for every excuse NOT to do it...)

      If you don't like calling, don't do it. Nobody's forcing you to.

      But you know, in spite of your desire to hide behind your computer, eventually you're going to have to talk to somebody to make a sale.

      And what are you going to do then?
      Its interesting how you made so many ASSUMPTIONS from my post and even threw in your own accusations. :confused:

      I made a clear point based on the marketing training that I've received throughout my career and my personal business experience. After all, this is a forum for discussion. Far be it from me to criticize my fellow Warriors. There's a great book by Dale Carnagie, "How to Win Friends & Influence People" where he discusses criticism in great length and how unproductive it is.

      I never said I wanted to 'hide behind my computer' and for the record, I'm out and about talking with people/prospects/suspects/clients/customers every day.

      In regards to cold calling, in his book, "No BS Sales Success", Dan Kennedy outlines what he calls "The Dumbest Things" he catches sales managers telling their people. They are:
      1. The answer to your problem is simple: make more calls.
      2. Everybody's your prospect.
      3. It's easier to sell to someone who isn't interested than it is to find someone who is.
      4. Your problem is you're not motivated.
      5. It's just a numbers game. Keep at it.
      (#3 blows my mind!!!)

      Dan also wrote a book entitled, "Prospecting Sucks!". It's amazing. You should read it along with his foundational course, "Magnetic Marketing". You'll love both of them.

      I listen very closely to what he teaches, simply because he's been very successful at building million dollar businesses (without cold calling).

      Nobody's making excuses here about not wanting to cold call or how much they hate it, just stating that there seems to be a better way by finding those that are interested and marketing directly to your target market.

      If you're a phone expert and you're finding success on the phone, good for you. I wish you all the best in it and blessings on your business.
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  • Profile picture of the author PanteraIM
    The thing is with inbound leads is that they they are often in negotiation with 5+ other companies selling the same services as you.

    This is called a reactive strategy, whilst picking up the phone and making a call is being proactive, it gives you control over the sales cycle and makes your results far more predictable than sitting on your ass waiting for your phone to ring.

    It's better to go after the people who aren't aware of what your benefits are and selling to them. You go into the call and create the need first instead of the usual problem identification process we are taught to use. We get their attention, then curiosity then we can start selling.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    The problem is you think you should be doing ONE marketing push at a time.

    People who think this way never really grow the business like they want. The fact is, there is no magic bullet.

    If someone asks why you are not using your own techniques to market, your answer should instantly be "we are!"

    Any business that relies only on one kind of marketing is asking for trouble and limiting their growth. Your service is hopefully just ONE PIECE of your clients marketing efforts.

    My main product consists of four different types of marketing. They are all separate and unrelated. I help my clients reach out to their target in many ways. I use them all myself also. So if a prospect were to ask - the proof positive is that I am talking with them. I use my own system. It works.

    One of the four methods is why I am now sitting in front of you.
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    • Profile picture of the author marketingrep4u
      Originally Posted by Dan McCoy View Post

      The problem is you think you should be doing ONE marketing push at a time.

      People who think this way never really grow the business like they want. The fact is, there is no magic bullet.

      If someone asks why you are using your own techniques to market, your answer should instantly be "we are!"

      Any business that relies only on one kind of marketing is asking for trouble and limiting their growth. Your once set of services is hopefully just ONE PIECE of your clients marketing efforts.

      My main product consists of four different types of marketing. They are all separate and unrelated. I help my clients reach out to their target in many ways. I use them all myself also. So if a prospect were to ask - the proof positive is that I am talking with them. I use my own system. It works.

      One of the four methods is why I am now sitting in front of you.
      I'm not sure I'm following you on 'one marketing push at a time'. There are multiple ways to reach those that already have 'pain'.

      Could you elaborate on how you came to that conclusion?
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      • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
        Originally Posted by marketingrep4u View Post

        I'm not sure I'm following you on 'one marketing push at a time'. There are multiple ways to reach those that already have 'pain'.

        Could you elaborate on how you came to that conclusion?
        You should be advancing on many fronts at the same time.

        Cold Calling
        Warm Calling
        Internet Marketing
        Display Ads
        Direct Mail
        Newspapers
        Email Marketing
        Social Media Marketing

        The goal is to establish a process for doing all these things for your business. One at a time you push your way into them and become good at them.

        Your clients are everywhere and to think that one of the marketing methods is your magic bullet is a recipe for failure and limitation.

        You mentioned cold calling and internet marketing. Well, if internet marketing is what you do - then that seems like a natural fit. Of course your should be doing it.

        But does that mean you shouldn't cold call? Of course not.

        Presumably - you know how to market online. So, you define a process for that and then get other people to do that process for you. As long as you are bringing in more money than it costs to do the campaign - you can keep it going.

        Next, you start cold calling. You define a process for that and then get other people to do that process for you. As long as you are bringing in more money than it costs to do the campaign - you can keep it going.

        You should be doing the same for many different types of marketing. Don't get trapped in any one method. Your future clients are everywhere and can be reached in many different ways.
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        • Profile picture of the author marketingrep4u
          Originally Posted by Dan McCoy View Post

          Next, you start cold calling. You define a process for that and then get other people to do that process for you. As long as you are bringing in more money than it costs to do the campaign - you can keep it going.
          I get it Dan. The multi-method approach is great.

          In regards to cold calling, then, what do you suggest as a process?

          What is your main goal when cold calling? I would assume that it is to get the appointment. But, hiring others to do this seems like a no-win situation and very costly.

          When you say cold calling process, what works best for you?
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          • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
            Originally Posted by marketingrep4u View Post

            I get it Dan. The multi-method approach is great.

            In regards to cold calling, then, what do you suggest as a process?

            What is your main goal when cold calling? I would assume that it is to get the appointment. But, hiring others to do this seems like a no-win situation and very costly.

            When you say cold calling process, what works best for you?
            I'm not sure why you say hiring others to do the calling is a no-win. If your product cannot sustain the costs of marketing it, you must charge more. The only way you will ever grow is to leverage the work of others. If you try to do it all, you will be stuck at first base.

            Some people sell on the phone and close right there. That's not my thing.

            When we call we have two objectives:
            #1 - Appointment
            #2 - Warm Leads

            So, when we get the appointment - great!

            If we can't set the appointment, we then ask if they would like to see more info. When they say yes, I ask what email address I should send it to.

            This is a critical point that I forgot to mention above - When you have a lead, you start marketing directly to them with many different methods.

            So, when the person says I can send more info - I have just done something wonderful.

            First - I now know who the decision maker is. This is huge. When you know who the DM is - you have a real resource.

            Second - I have spoken to the DM. They know who I am!

            Third - We had a conversation. They weren't rude. They didn't interrupt me and hang up. They are open to hearing me out.

            Fourth - They said I could send more info. They know it's coming! This is a good lead.

            Fifth - They gave me their email address.

            Now - here is where the magic happens - I put them into my other marketing systems also.

            I send them an email. I send them a letter. I send them to a landing page and give them a free booklet. I hit them with display ads. I email them again. I call a month later looking for an appointment.

            Once they get into my funnels, they know who I am and I will continue to contact them and market to them until I get the appointment.

            Anybody who calls once and then goes away is really missing the boat. Unless they are rude or hang up on me, I don't give up on them. I can help them. They need to give me an appointment. I have a moral obligation to try and sell them my service.
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            • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
              Originally Posted by Dan McCoy View Post

              This is a critical point that I forgot to mention above - When you have a lead, you start marketing directly to them with many different methods.

              Now - here is where the magic happens - I put them into my other marketing systems also.

              I send them an email. I send them a letter. I send them to a landing page and give them a free booklet. I hit them with display ads. I email them again. I call a month later looking for an appointment.

              Once they get into my funnels, they know who I am and I will continue to contact them and market to them until I get the appointment.

              Anybody who calls once and then goes away is really missing the boat. Unless they are rude or hang up on me, I don't give up on them. I can help them. They need to give me an appointment. I have a moral obligation to try and sell them my service.
              WOW! Some real gold there.

              I only sell personally. I'm my only rep. And the majority of my calls are to set up a personal appointment, not sell on the phone (for long distance clients, I do sell them on he phone.)

              After I make an appointment, I do what you suggest, I market to them...
              before I show up for the appointment.

              If there is time, I send them at least one book (that I've written), a screen shot of their Google search results (showing that they are not there or just once)...a few screen shots of Google page one search results from other clients, a DVD of a presentation I've given, the URL of my website......

              I want them prepared when I show up. I want them impressed.

              80-90% of the sale is made before I walk in the door.

              I don't know how transferable that all is to cold calling, but Dan's post made me think of it.
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              • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
                Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

                After I make an appointment, I do what you suggest, I market to them...

                before I show up for the appointment...

                80-90% of the sale is made before I walk in the door.
                Whoa. I just had a moment where I smacked myself in the forehead. DOH!

                I make the appointment and just kind of forget about them until. How could I overlook the pre-appointment follow-up!

                Wow. I'm changing processes right now. Thanks Claude. You just made me more money.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Dan McCoy View Post

      "Any business that relies only on one kind of marketing is asking for trouble and limiting their growth. Your once set of services is hopefully just ONE PIECE of your clients marketing efforts.

      My main product consists of four different types of marketing. They are all separate and unrelated. I help my clients reach out to their target in many ways. I use them all myself also. So if a prospect were to ask - the proof positive is that I am talking with them. I use my own system. It works.

      One of the four methods is why I am now sitting in front of you."
      Dan; How Dare you give a slightly better answer than mine? From now on, just say "Whatever Claude said is right".

      "It's not enough that I am right...everyone else must be wrong" Claudius
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by marketingrep4u View Post

    The thought occurred to me: If we're as good as we're telling our prospects we are within the realm of internet marketing, then WHY do so many of us use COLD CALLING as our primary means to drum up new business?

    Shouldn't we become our own best customer and use the internet to drive in leads for ourselves, rather than cold calling?
    I'm going to give you a second answer. The first one is what I tell clients, this is what I really think.

    Cold calling is faster and cheaper than any other kind of marketing....assuming that you are good at it. And that's a huge assumption. Cold calling (to sell your own services) is selling. Some people are great at it, others not.
    Cold calling gets you business you would never get otherwise.
    And there is no waiting period. You can start getting results right away.

    Also, it's not an "either or" thing. You can cold call, while waiting for phone calls from your marketing efforts. If you are using advertising, it can be a long time between calls.

    Personally, I don't do it (except when showing off) anymore. But it takes some time to get all the other ways of marketing to pay off so well that cold calling would unprofitable.

    There are two ways to hunt. Beat the bushes or set traps.
    After you set all your traps..beat the bushes. there is always more business you can get.

    (For the "analogy challenged", Beating bushes means cold calling, Setting traps means inbound marketing.)

    Lots of good stuff here being shared, I think.

    Added after I read the last post.
    Jason Kanigan has a cold calling approach that is highly effective, and is different from what most think of as "cold calling". I've used it myself with improved success.
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  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    I have people in my office cold calling... commission only, and that is all they do. They also answer incoming calls from other marketing efforts like email marketing, CL, direct mail, etc. I go after all the inbound leads through the website and lead capture forms, sometimes I hand over leads that I just don't feel like following up with week after week.

    The cold calling, one of my sales people who probably is below average, now has 350 warm leads in the pipeline. About half the daily calls are to leads that have been warmed up, and we're furthering them in the sales process. The other half are completely cold. Each sales person is assigned one industry in one state. On average, there are 5-6,000 leads, or I should say prospects that a sales person targets before they move to either a new industry or a new state. By the end of this year, my below average sales person will likely have over 1,000 qualified, warm or hot leads in the pipeline.

    He isn't great at sales but he makes the calls. He isn't the smartest person, but he makes sales. He sometimes says things on the phone that makes me cringe... but he is still making sales. That is why cold calling is so easy to implement. Anybody can do it, because if there is a need or a want for what you're selling, you will generate sales. Your conversion rate may be low... but it is effective. The ROI is high.

    I agree with Claude, that cold calling generates sales you would never have otherwise.

    It would be stupid to eliminate cold calling from your marketing when you're growing a business.

    A lawn care company in my area, has 5 people cold calling residential and they've called me a few times. It surprised me, because you don't really think of lawn care companies in that light. I was talking to the owner of the company and he grew his business from 3 lawns, to 50 lawns in 2 months of cold calling from his house. He now has 780 lawns, 35 commercial contracts, and still hitting the phones hard. This year, is the first year he started other forms of marketing, like EDDM and moving things online.

    I don't really enjoy cold calling, unless I'm in a weird mood and I'll sit out there with my sales people and make some calls. You don't have to like cold calling... I understand why most will never like it or never try it, but you can not count it out and say that it isn't effective.

    In the past year, I've learned a lot about marketing. The number one thing I have learned, is that the more you diversify your marketing and scale up what is working for you, the better you will do. Like I said earlier.... everything works, you just have to work it.
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    • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
      Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

      He isn't great at sales but he makes the calls. He isn't the smartest person, but he makes sales. He sometimes says things on the phone that makes me cringe... but he is still making sales.
      Can I ask where you found this workhorse?

      I am of the mindset that I don't need superstar sellers - I need people who will just do it. Right now, all my callers are contractors.

      It's time for me to bring them in-house. Some have recommended timetohire.com but I haven't tried it yet.
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      • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
        Originally Posted by Dan McCoy View Post

        Can I ask where you found this workhorse?

        I am of the mindset that I don't need superstar sellers - I need people who will just do it. Right now, all my callers are contractors.

        It's time for me to bring them in-house. Some have recommended timetohire.com but I haven't tried it yet.
        Craigslist is big in my area... everytime I post I at least get 20 responses, but usually towards 50-100.

        My best sales person was a girl who lasted about 2 months, she was bringing home about 1,200/wk after taxes... left to go to the doctor one day and never came back.

        Its hard to get good people to stick around, they're so freakin flakey. This guy has been here for almost 5 months now.

        I have learned that good people don't stay long but bad people want to stay until you have to fire them lol.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

          Its hard to get good people to stick around, they're so freakin flakey. This guy has been here for almost 5 months now.

          I have learned that good people don't stay long but bad people want to stay until you have to fire them lol.
          I Know! I find that the great salespeople are either flaky or damaged in some way. The normal steady people just don't sell well (in my experience).Of course, in a regular techie job, it's the opposite...the steady guys make the best employees.

          Dan; Yeah, I don't know how you can train & supervise virtual employees.
          I've always had a phone room, with daily scores where everyone could see the good, bad, and ugly.
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  • Profile picture of the author RazorSharpSamurai
    Banned
    Very informative thread!
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  • Profile picture of the author hometutor
    The internet is a marketing tool, not a means to its own end. To ignore other marketing sources is to lose a lot of money.

    Rick
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