Over on Paul Castain’s sales blog, there was a lively discussion yesterday about “cold
calling” and it’s place in today’s sales process. You already know that I don’t do cold calling, and I shared my reasons why on Paul’s blog. It is always interesting to see how others respond to a differing point of view. For example, the guy who posted his comments after me starts by saying the following…”When I hear cold calling is dead, I usually see a group of lazy sales people nearby.” I choose not to cold call, so how exactly does that make me lazy? I’ve sold $1B in products and services during the past 29 years as a sales professional. And, I did it without cold calling. I think Paul makes a point when he suggests that we think bigger than is cold calling alive or dead.
It is about the approach.
When you call me or send me email that isn’t relevant to me or my business, in my book, THAT is lazy. I can call 100 people a day and rattle off a pitch in the hopes that maybe someone will take a meeting with me. Is that effective? As Rick Page would say, hope is not a strategy!
What takes work is creating a target list of accounts, uncovering the right decision maker to get to, doing research to learn about them and their business initiatives, looking for common connections who could potentially introduce me and crafting a message that is relevant and focused on the needs of my prospect. That’s work people. I have no doubt that there are salespeople out there who have mastered the art of the cold call by focusing their attention on the value they bring to the prospect they want to close. And, that’s the rub. Most don’t bother.
Today, like every other day, I have at least 15 messages in my email inbox that are unsolicited sales spam. The message that I’m about to highlight below is indicative of why I get up on my soapbox to talk about why buyers have had enough. Though it is better written than most, it is still why buyers are screaming at the top of their lungs…enough. Oh, baby, did I ever want to call out this salesperson, but to tell you the truth, I decided that I don’t want to look like an ass. I can showcase the message with my thoughts about a better way and still make my point.
More than receiving spam from people I don’t know, I am really fed up with the cheesy sales tactics that I know someone trained them to use to provoke a reaction. Today, one salesperson got one, and me, well, I get a blog post in the process.
Subject Line: I have tried to reach you…
(Total lie by the way. I’ve not received a prior email or phone call)
I have tried to reach you several times regarding how XYZ video company has been able to help organizations like Talent Builders, Inc. by providing a feature rich online video presentation platform that allows you to quickly and easily assemble video content that works. There is a reason Bain Capital, Progress Software, McKesson, Genzyme, PGA, Callaway Golf, and many others are using our XYZ solution.”
Barb says: I have to ask you, does this message strike you as being personalized for Barb? Telling me that there is a reason why the companies he noted use the service doesn’t really impress me. What might have impressed me is if he had told me how using his video service would bring revenue into my company.
The email goes on…
“Although I was looking forward to speaking with you, I certainly don’t want to be a nuisance or waste your time. To help me understand your situation, it would be helpful if you would respond with one of the following:
1. ” Hey, XYZ sales rep I’m just not interested (so you can stop calling and emailing me). Thanks just the same.”
2. “I’m not the person with whom you should be talking. I’d like for you to discuss this with ___________________. ”
3. “I’m interested, but really busy at this time. Please call me on this specific date __________ and this time ___________.”
I appreciate your response, as it will help me save you some time and effort.
Sales Spammer at XYZ company”
Barb says: Geez, where do I begin? He says that he doesn’t want to be a nuisance or waste my time? Dude, you’ve already done both! But I just love the worn out approach he uses to try and get me to take some action. More time wasting. He wants to understand my situation? Uh, did you review my LinkedIn profile, review the information on my website and blog, check me out on Twitter? Clearly not. If he had, he might have already had some sense of my “situation”. And, isn’t it grand that he “appreciates my response, as it will help him save me time and effort”. Really? How exactly does that work? In particular, it is #2, that gets me. He should already know if I’m the person to talk to, which, by the way, I am. If he had bothered to look at any of my online profiles, the answer would have been obvious!
Listen, beat the drum of… “cold calling and sending email spam works”…all day long. That’s fine by me. As long as I continue to receive emails like the one I’ve shared today (and believe me, I’ve received others far more lame), I will stand firm in my belief that both approaches are ineffective and outdated.
That is all.