Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cold calling jerks

20 calls a week.  No lie.  Probably more that don't leave messages.  Tactics that include:

  • "Gene" told me to give you a call == I got Gene on the phone and he said he didn't make those decisions you did (or worse, they just know Gene's name).
  • I wanted to finish up our conversation last week = Your so busy you don't remember we didn't talk so I'll play the guilt card.
  • Unsolicited LinkedIn invitations followed up by an email to my personal email.
I know, cold calling is a part of the job.  And if you want to succeed, you've got to bang on some doors.  But unless you have something SO unique, I'm not going to have time for your call.  And if you do have something unique, I'll probably find it if I need it.

The worst cold caller is the one that acts like my friend.  I immediately get rude when you try this tactic with me. 

As someone who has been responsible for sales much of my career, I'm NOT advocating that you stop making cold calls completely.  Instead, just recognize more what is happening to your prospect.  They can't possibly get their job done.

Instead, warm up your cold calls.  If you really want to reach someone, find a connection FIRST.  I've had several people succeed in reaching me that I would have completely turned down had they cold call me.  How?  Through existing personal relationships (sometimes evidenced through LinkedIn), trade shows and even well placed advertising (online or direct mail usually but also magazine ads).

One of the easiest ways to warm up your cold call is to follow people on twitter.  First of all, following them usually alerts them to who you are.  Second, you can see what they are facing.  If you retweet their posts or reply to their posts, you get further exposure to them.  Once you have made a connection, you can try connecting on LinkedIn or perhaps an email to them further introducing yourself.

The best cold calls are warm and the people most likely to get my business usually earn it over time through a series of steps, not a cold call.