Stop Asking To Speak To The Owner

61 replies
I own a retail store. I'm the guy you guys call every day. So.....

It happened again, a few minutes ago.

Ring...ring...

"Hello, may I speak to the owner or manager?"

Me; "No". And I hung up.

If you don't know my name, don't call me.

Do you know who asks to speak to the owner? Solicitors who I don't want to talk to. Nobody else. Usually, I just hang up without saying a word. And you know what? You have already killed any chance of my listening to you.

In my retail store, we get dozens of calls a day.

About half of them have two things in common;

There is a 3 second delay, which means you are using an auto dialer...and we hang up. Or...

You ask to speak to the owner or manager...in which case..we hang up.

Want to talk to me? Ask for me by name. Do you know who knows my name? Friends, suppliers, people I like. At the very least, you'll have ten seconds to screw the call up. And if you aren't incompetent...I may buy something.

Do you know who just asks a question, without asking for the manager or owner? Customers. I am conditioned to take that call, and answer that question. And so is the owner of every other business. Maybe you should read that again.

I still cold call occasionally. And I always know the owner's name. And they nearly always take my call. (assuming they are there)

By asking for the owner...you are screaming at me..
"I'm a cold caller that knows nothing but the name of your business...and I don't know how to do this".

Ask for me by name, and then tell me what you can do for me. And you know what? I may buy. Because if you own a business...buying stuff is half of what you do..

Class dismissed.
#owner #speak #stop
  • Profile picture of the author dominodivine
    Great post Claude ... Question what is the best way to get the name of the biz owners.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

    Want to talk to me? Ask for me by name. Do you know who knows my name? Friends, suppliers, people I like.
    This is such an important point. Many people will think "Geez, how do I find the first names of the business owner? Is there a database or do I pay someone to look at the website when they are scraping leads of random businesses?"

    If those thoughts are going through your mind, I have just diagnosed one of your biggest problems in sales.

    Pay attention to what Claude says. People buy from people they know, like, and trust. If your goal is to sell to businesses, you simply must be out there getting to know your market. Networking, community, fundraising events are all great places to get to know people. These places are just teeming with your potential market. Most business people attend at least a few events of some type per year.

    To make a living from your social capital, you must build it up first. Sure, get on the phone to get a few clients. It is much, much more effective if you have actually met the person and pre-qualified them during a short talk at an event. You could be meeting 15-20 strong new leads per week. And once you get going, you will be invited to and introduced to many more groups.

    "Let me speak to the owner" is not a way to make friends. Getting out there and shaking hands is.
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      When you are going after bigger companies and don't know
      who the decision maker is, and it's probably not the owner,
      then this is what we did to land Puma, and 10 household name brands...

      We ask who we should speak to about a very brief
      advantage to the company.

      They give it out, or very occasionally say "it's me".

      So it bypasses having to get a name before you call..

      If you try this and it doesn't work,
      then what you say is the advantage needs to be looked at again.

      Best,
      Ewen
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    • Profile picture of the author ventureprofits
      Originally Posted by Dan McCoy View Post

      This is such an important point. Many people will think "Geez, how do I find the first names of the business owner? Is there a database or do I pay someone to look at the website when they are scraping leads of random businesses?"


      "Let me speak to the owner" is not a way to make friends. Getting out there and shaking hands is.
      That said, go out to local business chamber events and get to know people there
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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    #truth.

    I can tell you a couple of stories about how important getting a name was to me back in the day. Eighteen years ago I was hitting the phones and pounding the pavement doing sales... the Internet wasn't what it is today, few businesses had websites, most of the states didn't have their division of corporations online yet, and there weren't sites like LinkedIn or Facebook where you could look up who the owner of a business was and know everything you need to know to start a conversation. We had to be creative then.

    The one I used the most would probably get you arrested today.

    "Hey, this is Joe with [the phone company], this is just a courtesy call to let you know we'll be working on the pole in your area and your phone service may be down for a few minutes this afternoon. The cut-over is at 3pm and service should be back on by 3:02pm. Can you verify the name on the account so I can mark down in my system that you've been notified?"

    They always said the name. Then I'd repeat it back, and say "Thanks, is [he/she] the owner of the business?" Usually it was yes. The rest of the time it was "No, that's [the owners name]". Even if they only gave me a first name, that's all I needed.

    The next day I'd call back and ask for the owner by name.

    Oh, one other trick, when I was doing the door to door thing and selling more expensive items to larger companies, I would head over during business hours and check to see if there were any reserved spaces. If they had names on them, the best spot was always the person in charge. If there were no reserved or marked spaces and I couldn't get the front desk girl to give up the names, if it was a deal I really wanted a few times I wrote down the license plates of the most expensive cars in the parking lot and paid the $25 to look them up at the tag office. If it wasn't the person on top, it was usually one of the executives.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    Priceless and so true as well! HAHA

    At the very least, you'll have ten seconds to screw the call up. And if you aren't incompetent...I may buy something.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    Priceless and so true as well! HAHA

    At the very least, you'll have ten seconds to screw the call up. And if you aren't incompetent...I may buy something.
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  • Profile picture of the author FormerWageSlave
    Agreed. And it's not hard to find the owner's name for SMBs. Many times I find the owner's name on their website. If not there, then Manta.com or the local Chamber of Commerce site will have it.
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    grrr...

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  • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
    Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

    Want to talk to me? Ask for me by name. Do you know who knows my name? Friends,
    Whatever :rolleyes:

    I said "Hi Claude" ... and you almost hung up on me
    and you were expecting my call

    Having the proper name does help. No doubt about it.
    I agree with you with what your saying ... Mostly ... well sorta ... almost.

    You and I and people of our ilk have our own set of rules
    and things we look for when we answer the phone.

    Like a spidey sense, half the time we know it's a sales call before we
    answer the phone.

    So we cant honestly use our experiences in a situation like this
    and attach it to the masses.
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  • Profile picture of the author PapaPizza
    Also, as soon as you cold call someone and say, "how you doin today?" you're dead. As soon as I hear someone I don't know start with that, the first thing I think is how the hell am I going to get off this call.

    I've always instructed my callers to say,

    "Hello ________ , did I catch you a bad time?"

    Answer is usually, "Yes, I'm busy."

    "I understand, when is a good time to call back?"

    "Well, what is this about?"

    Then, you're in. A much better way to start off.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by PapaPizza View Post

      Also, as soon as you cold call someone and say, "how you doin today?" you're dead. As soon as I hear someone I don't know start with that, the first thing I think is how the hell am I going to get off this call.

      I've always instructed my callers to say,

      "Hello ________ , did I catch you a bad time?"

      Answer is usually, "Yes, I'm busy."

      "I understand, when is a good time to call back?"

      "Well, what is this about?"

      Then, you're in. A much better way to start off.
      Agreed. And here is why;

      Have you ever had a customer start out the call with "how are you?". Neither have I. How about a friend, or supplier that you know? Neither have I.

      It's another way of screaming "I'm cold calling, and I don't know how!"

      The "Is this a bad time?" is something I say. And you're right...they don't hang up. They ask "What's this about?"

      And you're already miles ahead of the vast ocean of bad cold callers.

      Ken: are they trained badly? Or are they just ignoring their trainer?
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      • Profile picture of the author Robert Domino
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Have you ever had a customer start out the call with "how are you?". Neither have I. How about a friend, or supplier that you know? Neither have I.
        Maybe it's a regional thing. Here people start conversations like this all the time.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by Robert Domino View Post

          Maybe it's a regional thing. Here people start conversations like this all the time.
          Robert; I didn't explain it well. I mean the first thing they say is "Hi, how are you?" without asking for you, or saying who they are.

          If someone calls and says "Hi, Claude? How are you?" I invariable say "Great. What can I do for you?"
          If you aren't already someone I know, or a customer...the call ends.
          I get 20 to 30 of these a day...I just can't engage with everyone.
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          • Great thread. In my experience, most sales people are more concerned with increasing their bank account, then what is in their prospects best interest.

            As a result, they fail to educate themselves on prospecting, and they don't put it in the time and effort to get to know all they can about the business owner, and the business, before reaching out.

            When you contact a business owner cold, you are contacting them to serve them, and enhance their bottom line, so it is a MUST that you take the initiative to research your prospect before hand, so you can know how to effectively influence them, which in turn will help them achieve their goals.

            And just food for thought, a business owner will be impressed more with the fact that you took the time and initiative to research as much as you can about them, then with what you say.
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  • Profile picture of the author AmericanMuscleTA
    "How many can I put ya' down for? A lot? Please say a lot. I need this..." -'Ol Gil (The Simpsons)
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  • Profile picture of the author Eddie Spangler
    Yeah that "How are you doing today" is so lame , even though I understand thats how so many were taught to start a conversation.

    It annoys me because if they have something good for me I would just prefer they let me know about it as soon as possible. No need to pretend to care how I am doing right now cuz if you got something that will help me Im doing great otherwise Im kinda ticked off that you are playing games.

    For fun sometimes, when a salesperson calls with this opening I like to say something like
    "Well my hemorrhoids are flaring up and Im coughing up blood"
    in a total deadpan way just to see how they react.
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  • Profile picture of the author joecarson1
    I was joking but realize that too many might think I was being serious...
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    • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
      Originally Posted by joecarson1 View Post

      "Hello, is this a bad time to talk"

      "Yes I am busy, but what is this about"

      "I need someone there to write me a check for $1000 and I am going to give them back $2000" "are you the person who can write me the check?"

      insert your check amounts for the service you are offering.

      "uh what?"

      "yes I need someone to write me a check for $1000 and in return I am going give them back double that amount in return"

      "I write the checks"

      " Great, I do this for my clients___________ and they save or earn double what they invest in me and often much more than double"
      If your joking that is pretty funny.

      If your serious ... Shame on you. Your breaking laws
      and part of the reason "sales" are associated with "scams"
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  • Profile picture of the author Arzak
    How do you know they aren't customers? I feel like I'm missing something here.
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  • Profile picture of the author seococonuts
    Very well put. I have been speaking to a few people I know who run their own businesses in Thailand. They all told me the same thing; the amount of cold calls they get and the same generic emails everyday is just tiring and pisses them off, so unless you know their name, they will just tell you to "f" off! (not my words).

    Pretty hard to stand out from the crowd when everyone is trying to sell something, but by knowing someone's name and changing your mentality to actually "helping" that person, you'll stand a much better chance of arranging a meeting or perhaps getting some work.

    At the end of the day, we're all in business to make money, and if you're into SEO like me, forget about building links (no business owner cares about your super-duper PR links), and let your client know that you can generate more business for them.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      My 3 cents:

      I don't care if they know a name. They have to have a good reason for me to stay on and it better be obvious quite fast.

      If you do ask for me by name, you better pronounce it well. If you're not sure, say something like: I'm not sure I'm pronouncing your name right, this is the first time I've come across it.

      Then go into the good reason you're calling me.

      Lately, I'm getting a bunch of robo calls: have I checked my Google ranking yet? Google requires me to claim...
      And live calls that says the same...

      Or worse, they say they're from Google.

      You don't have to sound polished, you can stumble... once or twice... too much stumbling and I lose interest... a bit of stumbling, I understand...

      If I give you a chance to tell me why I should listen to you and decide what you're selling it's not for me, or not at this time, be smart: accept.

      In the last year, out of some 100 calls, there's only one guy who did this well... I said, "Sorry, not interested."

      He said: "Now or never?"

      That stopped me, I said, the next time I might be buying something like that is about 6 months from now.

      He said: "Thanks for the info. I'll try again in a few months, then."

      And he did, and I'm not ready to buy... But, I got his info, and checked him and his outfit out. When I'm ready, I'll check them again and if nothing's changed with them, I'll try them out.

      Short of it:
      1. know for a fact that what you sell is something I'd benefit from if I did not have it.
      2. Be prepared to tell me why you (I got a lady who was smart enough to drop in. When I asked her why I should use the company she worked for, she said: "We're the best. We'll treat you well." And, since that's what 95 or so out of 100 say, I won't use her.
      2b. Since she dropped in, she's standing out... I know her name, I know her company name. She's ahead. Don't know if she's knowledgeable enough to reach to me again with more info... But, unlike people who call or email that I turn down, she's standing out.
      3. It helps if you know my name, IF you pronounce it right or know that you might not be.
      4. I don't remember being encouraging to one single person who started with anything like "How are you" except the guy who collects for the retired police and firefighters.
      5. It's a damn conversation. You can ask me questions if I turn you down, if they take into account what I said.
      6. Speaking faster or louder doesn't get you anywhere (I got a lot of people who're selling shares in oil rigs, movies, and large construction projects, or mines who do that).
      7. If I ask you to call me next Monday between 10 and 12, don't call me at 9:50 or at 12:05... Only between 10 and 12.

      My short of it is long. My excuse: I get a lot of people who call me and don't know basic rules of phone etiquette, let alone selling.

      To all of those: your goal should be to have a conversation with me!!!!!!! Not to talk at me.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        If you do ask for me by name, you better pronounce it well. If you're not sure, say something like: I'm not sure I'm pronouncing your name right, this is the first time I've come across it.
        First, thanks for the post from an obviously serious businessperson.
        I think people with hard to pronounce names, know they are hard to pronounce. "Claude" is sometimes pronounced "cloud" to me...and that's OK.

        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        Or worse, they say they're from Google.
        Yeah, worst thing to do is something we know is a lie. I also hate "This isn't a sales call". To which I sometimes say "Then how am I going to buy from you?"


        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        I said, "Sorry, not interested."

        He said: "Now or never?"

        That stopped me, I said, the next time I might be buying something like that is about 6 months from now.

        That one got my attention. I think it's because that's how a real player would ask it. And you are asked a question a business person would ask. In fact, if someone asked me that< I may be tempted to ask them about what they are selling, just because I can respect the no-nonsense approach.

        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        My short of it is long. My excuse: I get a lot of people who call me and don't know basic rules of phone etiquette, let alone selling.

        To all of those: your goal should be to have a conversation with me!!!!!!! Not to talk at me.
        Great stuff.

        My question to you and Ken...Hey Ken!

        Are people trained badly or are they trained well, and just revert to these stupid mistakes. I do get good telemarketer calls. Maybe one in 20 is good enough for me to at least be polite.
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        • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post


          My question to you and Ken...Hey Ken!
          .
          Who .... me?

          I will answer tomorrow ... I am in a weird mood tonight.
          Kinda goofy ... don't really want to be serious right now.
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        • Profile picture of the author DABK
          I've come to the conclusion that most of the telemarketers who've call me come in 2 sizes:

          those who were told that it's a good job for them because they're outgoing and all the training was: it's a number's game

          those who've started a business because they're good at some technical job and were told that cold calling is the way to go and all you have to keep in mind is: it's a number's game.

          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          First, thanks for the post from an obviously serious businessperson.

          My question to you and Ken...Hey Ken!

          Are people trained badly or are they trained well, and just revert to these stupid mistakes. I do get good telemarketer calls. Maybe one in 20 is good enough for me to at least be polite.
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  • Profile picture of the author Uirsesdig
    Nice job.. I want that too..
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  • Profile picture of the author xlfutur1
    This thread tells me that business owners are cold called on ALOT, and have have heard it all. It also seems to imply that cold calling is an uphill and difficult task and that most are unsuccessful at even getting a business owner to have a conversation.

    My question is this...

    what about a simple, non-hypey direct mail letter (or sequence of letters) that addresses your problem with a solution....??

    (The letter is hand addressed, and addresses you by name in the letter.)

    Would that get your attention and prompt you to take an action? (i.e. call the guy back) Do you get much direct mail like that?
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by xlfutur1 View Post

      This thread tells me that business owners are cold called on ALOT, and have have heard it all. It also seems to imply that cold calling is an uphill and difficult task and that most are unsuccessful at even getting a business owner to have a conversation.

      My question is this...

      what about a simple, non-hypey direct mail letter (or sequence of letters) that addresses your problem with a solution....??

      (The letter is hand addressed, and addresses you by name in the letter.)

      Would that get your attention and prompt you to take an action? (i.e. call the guy back) Do you get much direct mail like that?
      It's not that cold calling doesn't work. It's that terrible cold calling doesn't work. Direct mail works, in that you'll eventually get a response. But it can get very costly per call...maybe up to a few hundred dollars per inquiry.

      And I've tested mailing and then calling. The mailing didn't help at all. I can't imagine (for me anyway) going an hour of cold calling and not get an appointment with a qualified prospect. That time doesn't include putting together the list, and getting the owner's name (I always get the owner's name, and only call small businesses)

      Your experience may vary.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    How much do you and Ken pay someone to say "I'm sorry Mr. Riffle, I don't know when he will be back today."?




    --------------

    Getting the name right is a very good point. My last name consists of
    two very easy words and all my life people get it wrong. They
    always add an extra letter or syllable or two. While it only riffles me a
    little tiny bit, it did make me considerate about getting peoples' names right.

    Over the years I have noticed how much people appreciate the effort - actually
    the rare effort - to get their name correct. It's the only name they have and it is
    rude when the service person or sales person has a "whatever" attitude about
    somebody's name.

    It's led to conversations about their family history and name meaning and so on.
    It's goes especially well when you get the pronunciation and spelling right the first time.

    Dan Beizgrowerer

    (Sorry, long day here.)
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew North
    The easiest way to get the decision maker's name is using the who.is registry and looking at the 'Registrant Contact' field. (WHOIS Search, Domain Name, Website, and IP Tools - Who.is)

    9/10 that is the business owner's name.

    If the owner isn't in (which is often the case), move on as fast as possible.

    The less dead time you minimise waiting for the dial tone, dealing with gatekeepers, voicemails and disconnected numbers, the more productive 'selling' conversations you'll have by default. In a two or four hour calling session that compounds to be a significant time saving. It's also why I recommend that you NEVER dial manually. Why waste time? Time is SO precious. Aside from your skill in qualifying and selling, it is the only limiting factor to your income in sales. Use a 4 line predictive dialler or at the minimum use the Callfire autodialler.

    Easiest way to move on?

    'Okay then I'll call back later thank you bye *click*' (note the lack of commas. that's how you say it)

    Don't leave a message, don't answer their questions, just move on to the next dial. The longer the gatekeeper has you on the line the more opportunity she has to pigeon hole you and tell you that she doesn't think there's a fit and you shouldn't call back because the owner wouldn't be interested. She won't remember you when you call her back if you quickly excuse yourself like this either.
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  • Profile picture of the author JodyRossDeane
    Thanks Claude for this your perspective - It is a nice little insight for those of us who cold call.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    This makes me want to call your store and ask for the owner...

    ...soon.

    Edit: Great seeing you again, sir. (and Aaron and Tom and Jason)
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  • Profile picture of the author TrumpiaTim
    Or the other one that I would recommend is asking for someone responsible for marketing. We found out through many trials that the owner/manager may oversee the operation but they don't necessarily always handle the marketing aspect for their business.
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    • Profile picture of the author Huskerdarren
      Originally Posted by TrumpiaTim View Post

      Or the other one that I would recommend is asking for someone responsible for marketing. We found out through many trials that the owner/manager may oversee the operation but they don't necessarily always handle the marketing aspect for their business.
      It's an extra step, but you could always make a quick call at a time the owner OR marketing person is not likely to be there and ask for their name because you need to know who you should address a letter to. Then call back in a couple of days and ask for them by name.
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  • Profile picture of the author ddev
    Good post Claude. We live in a world where people have tons of channels to get what they're looking for (and where vendors should be).

    Still with that, some vendors they try to force things over and over.
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    This would work:

    "Hello. May I speak to that devilishly charming and handsome owner or manager?"
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  • Great thread! I learned a lot. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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    • Profile picture of the author Memetics
      Most small business owners work very long hours so ringing after 5 when the gatekeepers have gone home is a good bet. If the owner is the only person left they will answer the phone just in case it's a customer and humans are very much motivated by the trait of loss aversion.

      Another ploy is to research your prospect and find out which social media or forums they use and monitor them for activity. If the prospect is still at their business and using social media then they have wound down for the day and checking their posts and replies before they go home.

      This is the perfect time to call as they have relaxed and slipped into their real self and suspended their business persona. When you phone start with "Hi is that (prospects name)? By doing this you begin by setting off a "yes set" and gaining compliance momentum.

      Your next response is to ask a question which can also be only answered in the affirmative "Hello (prospects first name) it's (your name) from xyz marketing, we're researching potential customers in the area (you're filtering because your product/service is that good) and could you let me know if you use/sell service/product? (which you know full well they do)

      The prospect's mind is now on it's way to "yes mode".

      Reply "glad I've caught you" (prospect has business gravitas) then proceed into your pitch. Keep it conversational in tone then sign off with something personal about going home after a long day.
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      • Profile picture of the author misterme
        Your next response is to ask a question which can also be only answered in the affirmative "Hello (prospects first name) it's (your name) from xyz marketing, we're researching potential customers in the area (you're filtering because your product/service is that good) and could you let me know if you use/sell service/product? (which you know full well they do)
        Doesn't mean they can't lie and say "no."

        And summarily get you off the phone.

        Any more than Claude can tell them 'the owner isn't in' and hang up on them.

        The manner in which a question is phrased is going to prompt how the recipient responds.

        And here's what I've noticed throughout this thread so far:

        Do you all see the difference between...

        "could you let me know if you use/sell service/product?"

        and

        "Hello, may I speak to the owner or manager?"

        and

        "did I catch you a bad time?"

        versus:

        "who we should speak to about a very brief advantage to the company"?
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by misterme View Post

          Do you all see the difference between...

          "could you let me know if you use/sell service/product?"

          and

          "Hello, may I speak to the owner or manager?"

          and

          "did I catch you a bad time?"

          versus:

          "who we should speak to about a very brief advantage to the company"?
          Misterme; I really do like the last question. But even then, you would have to immediately interest me, or I would hang up.

          I just know that "May I speak to the owner or manager" will immediately be ignored, and I'll hang up.


          "could you let me know if you use/sell service/product?" at least gives me an opportunity to say "No" or ask what it's about.

          To be completely honest, if someone called me and said "Hi. I can get you 10 new customers a month, spending a total of $2,000 at least...for a cost of $500. Do you want to know more?"...

          I would want to know more. The call gives a big promise, gives a figure, and it's balsy.

          See, you are talking to engaged couples.... young, indecisive, nervous, maybe neurotic....civilians. I'm talking to business owners.

          When I'm selling in my store, people are impressed by a willingness to listen, an attempt to help, and a perfect fit of offer for their needs.

          But I'm impressed with getting to the point, and a big promise.

          The reason I like "Do you want to know more?" is that it gets them off the phone fast if they aren't someone I want to talk to. It also instantly conveys the idea that we are equals, and don't waste my time. It's almost rude. But not quite.

          I also very much like, when someone says "Not interested" you say "Not now, or not ever?". Man, that would snap me to attention. And I may even say "Wait, what's this about?

          It was first in the book High Probability Selling. And I think I read it somewhere in the thread, or at least on this forum.
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          • Profile picture of the author misterme
            you are talking to engaged couples.... young, indecisive, nervous, maybe neurotic....civilians. I'm talking to business owners.
            That may be their relationship status, but let's not portray them as naive young innocents living in the 1950's. In the past month alone three of my clients have been doctors. Besides medical workers, my clients right now are comprised of attorneys, media specialists, small business owners, small business managers, wall street financial hedge fund people, among others.

            Anyhow the comparison I was making was that most of the openers were yes/no questions which can invite a "no" as a response.

            The last one was the only one which prompts for an actual name.
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        • Profile picture of the author Memetics
          Originally Posted by misterme View Post

          Doesn't mean they can't lie and say "no."

          And summarily get you off the phone.

          Any more than Claude can tell them 'the owner isn't in' and hang up on them.

          The manner in which a question is phrased is going to prompt how the recipient responds.

          And here's what I've noticed throughout this thread so far:

          Do you all see the difference between...

          "could you let me know if you use/sell service/product?"

          and

          "Hello, may I speak to the owner or manager?"

          and

          "did I catch you a bad time?"

          versus:

          "who we should speak to about a very brief advantage to the company"?

          The whole point of "Could you let me know if you use/sell product service" is to increase compliance momentum and reinforce the yes set: true, you could lie and say you don't but you don't know who's calling at this time, it could be a customer with a $1,000,000 to spend. The guy's going to be curious why you ask. Bear in mind: You're asking a question you know the answer is yes to. It's what they do.

          Your goal is to keep the prospect in conversation so you can present your pitch.

          The method, bizarrely enough, was designed as a penetration test for organisations wishing to test their security systems against social engineering.

          It was picked up by the cold call industry and used to quite good effect.

          It's known as the "sunk cost fallacy elicitation method".
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarah Operman
    If someone calls and does not answer when I say hello I hang up right away. It is a dead sign it is someone trying to sell me something.
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

    I'm just saying that the appeal is different for business owners. At least some segment of business owners.
    Yes, it sounds like you're writing about a segment. A small segment. A very small segment.

    In fact, you wrote about how you'd respond. A segment of one.

    Regardless, isn't that newlywed who happens to be a small business owner, still the same small business owner getting pitched?
    Put another way: You'd hang up regardless if you were now a newlywed or divorced or married.
    It's about the person, not their relationship status.

    Which is why you could write about what you, the person, does.
    Whereas another person, another business owner, may respond differently. And they do, don't they?

    Originally Posted by Memetics View Post

    The whole point of "Could you let me know if you use/sell product service" is to increase compliance momentum and reinforce the yes set: true, you could lie
    Then a fence is only as good as its weakest link.

    Besides which that whole "yes momentum" is a crock. Saying 45 yesses in 45 seconds doesn't condition the recipient to more easily say yes to the close.

    The reason it's been observed that successful sales calls have a pattern of small yesses is because they were agreeable to buying.

    ... you could lie and say you don't but you don't know who's calling at this time, it could be a customer with a $1,000,000 to spend. The guy's going to be curious why you ask.
    You've just changed the scenario from what you presented it as previously. Previously you had the caller identifying themselves and the purpose of the call so the business owner could reasonably conclude this wasn't going to be a potential customer asking questions:

    "Hello (prospects first name) it's (your name) from xyz marketing, we're researching potential customers in the area (you're filtering because your product/service is that good) and could you let me know if you use/sell service/product?
    My new rule for myself this year is that I don't respond further to posts where the story changes or new facts are later introduced which changes everything, because it makes any previous thought and effort in replying a waste of time.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by misterme View Post

      Regardless, isn't that newlywed who happens to be a small business owner, still the same small business owner getting pitched?
      Put another way: You'd hang up regardless if you were now a newlywed or divorced or married.
      It's about the person, not their relationship status.

      Which is why you could write about what you, the person, does.
      Whereas another person, another business owner, may respond differently. And they do, don't they?
      Yes, of course they respond differently. My purpose in my posts was to say that business owners (who may also be newlyweds or engaged) are getting bombarded with cold calls. My viewpoint only applies to business owners (who are used to lots of bad cold calls a day), and not people who do not own a business, and are subject to few cold calls.

      Also, my experience is only with my own responses, and what happens when I call or get called.

      I'm interested in additional profit from more customers. Many business owners are interested in he same thing. But non-business owners are not interested in that.. So the appeals will be different.

      I'm a very impatient guy when getting calls. My response may even be unique.
      It may not be the best response. Everyone has a different personality. I'm far more transaction oriented than most. Most people are more relationship oriented.
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    • Profile picture of the author Memetics
      Originally Posted by misterme View Post

      My new rule for myself this year is that I don't respond further to posts where the story changes or new facts are later introduced which changes everything, because it makes any previous thought and effort in replying a waste of time.
      For clarity; Just because someone introduces themselves doesn't mean you know what their intentions are. You HAVE to introduce yourself at first -there's no getting round that - or the prospect will hang up. Perhaps I should have phrased it "why they are calling" instead of "who is calling"

      What we are doing in this case is setting a familiarity frame to engage the prospect's curiosity (should they know you?- Do they know you?) as a way of softening the yes set.

      You only need three yeses in the first forty five seconds for the set to work.

      Humans like the word "yes", we actually get a reward in a part of the brain called the Nucleus Accumbens which mediates access to the part of the limbic brain which deals with decisions.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mwind076
        Just to add an idea. When we don't know the owner/DM's name I have a few tricks. It depends on the mood I'm in, or who I'm talking to, or how they are acting, but you can usually get the name out of whoever it is that answers.

        If you know you aren't talking to the owner, just throw out a name "Hey, is James still there?" "James? No, no one named James" "Oh, ok, who's the owner/manager/shipping manager now?" Works most of the time as long as you don't have the owner on the line.

        Most of the time, if I know I'm calling retail I do ask for the manager or whoever is making the decisions on _____ item/service.

        No offense, but as we all know, one hang up or one DM/manager that doesn't want to talk to you because you don't know their name won't make or break any cold caller that knows what they are doing. So, if I only called Claude, then I'd have a bad day. Since I call about 4-600 Claude's a day, it's not a big issue.

        Stop stressing and dial more. Oh, and DON'T use a dialer, that was probably the best part (to me) of Claude's post.
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        • Profile picture of the author ventureprofits
          Originally Posted by Mwind076 View Post

          Just to add an idea. When we don't know the owner/DM's name I have a few tricks. It depends on the mood I'm in, or who I'm talking to, or how they are acting, but you can usually get the name out of whoever it is that answers.

          If you know you aren't talking to the owner, just throw out a name "Hey, is James still there?" "James? No, no one named James" "Oh, ok, who's the owner/manager/shipping manager now?" Works most of the time as long as you don't have the owner on the line.

          Most of the time, if I know I'm calling retail I do ask for the manager or whoever is making the decisions on _____ item/service.

          No offense, but as we all know, one hang up or one DM/manager that doesn't want to talk to you because you don't know their name won't make or break any cold caller that knows what they are doing. So, if I only called Claude, then I'd have a bad day. Since I call about 4-600 Claude's a day, it's not a big issue.

          Stop stressing and dial more. Oh, and DON'T use a dialer, that was probably the best part (to me) of Claude's post.
          That's a good plan but I think it would be better to stick to research first, then call. When I say research, I'm not talking about days-without-end research but a simple Google search here and there. Social media also does a good job nowadays.
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  • Profile picture of the author FormerWageSlave
    Hey Claude - just wanted to pop in and say that I bought and read your Selling Local Advertising book and I appreciated what it taught me. I'm a new salesperson selling 12x9 postcard ad spots right now, so I need all the education I can get. Thanks for sharing.


    Now back to your regularly scheduled Warrior Forum disagreement, er, I mean thread.
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    grrr...

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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    My biggest peeve as a business owner was tech people calling me to sell me tech stuff and using acronyms for everything to sound smart.

    ERP, CRM, SAAS, MRP, CMS, etc.... they try and sell me technology vs. benefits of technology.

    I usually responded with GTFO.
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    • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
      Originally Posted by NewParadigm View Post

      My biggest peeve as a business owner was tech people calling me to sell me tech stuff and using acronyms for everything to sound smart.

      ERP, CRM, SAAS, MRP, CMS, etc.... they try and sell me technology vs. benefits of technology.

      I usually responded with GTFO.
      That is more then a pet peeve, it is a real issue that I see often.

      I also see tech illiterate sales reps attempt to use them
      because they have heard others use them and
      think it makes them sound smart.

      All around fail.

      The K.I.S.S. method is extremely important when dealing in the tech industry.
      ... well it is, if you want to make sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Every ERP website I've seen does not even explain what ERP means.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Lee
    It's so simple to find a business owner's name nowadays, anyone who's asking for the "owner" is just lazy and in-effective.

    LinkedIn,
    Google +,
    Local Chamber of Commerce
    Secretary of state website
    Or if all else fails - Googling "who owns______"
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    • Profile picture of the author ventureprofits
      Originally Posted by Matt Lee View Post

      It's so simple to find a business owner's name nowadays, anyone who's asking for the "owner" is just lazy and in-effective.

      LinkedIn,
      Google +,
      Local Chamber of Commerce
      Secretary of state website
      Or if all else fails - Googling "who owns______"
      Well said.
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  • Profile picture of the author socialentry
    *misconfigured dialers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Justin Says
    Hey Claude,

    Solid advise.

    We haven't started cold calling just yet, but we have an objective to be able to create a base website design on our own servers that we will then present to business owners as an introduction.

    I knew from experiences with other business owners they hated when someone asked for the manager. Having an actual name changes everything, especially when you say it politely and don't act too macho.

    Justin Lewis
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  • It's been a while since I cold called.

    And I hated any subterfuge ("Hi, how are you?", "Can I have 2 minutes of your time?" "Would you be interested in increasing your number of new clients?" blah...blah..blah...).

    So I had a brainwave and just started asking...

    "Would you like to buy some advertising?"

    Sometimes I turbo charged it and said...

    "Would you like to buy some very cost effective advertising?"

    And yes, with both questions I got a lots of F*** off's.

    But a surprising number of "Tell me more..."

    And when that happened 8 out of 10 bought.


    Steve


    P.S. The only snag was I was actually selling washing machines - only joking.

    Another interesting thing happened with my infamous questions.

    I should have, but didn't always know the name of the business owner.

    But when I asked my questions, if it wasn't the owner who answered the person who did would normally say -

    "No I can't buy any advertising, you need to speak to (name of owner)" and if they were available they would normally put me through.
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  • Profile picture of the author djjackyb
    Great thread! thanks guys and girls for all the great stuff
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  • Profile picture of the author marc7
    This is some great info guys. I'm not a professional cold caller (if there is such a title) but with these tips I'm definitely more prepared.
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    Marc Bell Marketing.com | Branding. Selling. Networking
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