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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Ask Questions - Getting Better Results from Cold Calls, Part II

Last week, FEI sales leader Zoot gave young salesman Ganymede a tip for more effective cold calling. This week, Zoot advises his apprentice on another cold calling strategy. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot and Ganymede were dining on a delicious gyro lunch at Demeter’s Café.

“Loved your tip about researching a prospect before cold calling,” Ganymede said. “What else you got?”

Zoot finished off the last of his gyro and wiped his face with a napkin. “Today, I’ll show you how to get from cold call to appointment in just a few questions. Let’s do another dummy call. I’ll be the cold caller, you be Helios from Helios’ Farm.”

“OK,” Zoot said, clearing his voice, holding his hairy thumb and pinky finger to his ear like a phone. “Helios, last week I left you an Ophone message about how Fire Enterprises helps farmers like you,” Zoot started.

“I don’t have time to meet,” Helios (Ganymede) responded. “The cows ran off last night and I’m behind schedule.”

“Sorry to hear about that,” Zoot said empathetically. “I don’t want to take up yours or anyone else’s time unless there’s a real reason to meet. Everybody in Olympus is busy these days.”

“I’ve never heard a salesperson say he doesn’t want to meet,” Helios (Ganymede) said, wrinkling his brow.

“Do you have the time to answer a few short questions?” Zoot said confidently. “If the answer is no, I’ll gladly let you go.”

“Sure,” Helios (Ganymede) replied.

“What's working well with your current fire vendor, and what would you improve or change?” Zoot began.

“I’m using Flintstone,” Helios (Ganymede) said. “Its prices are fair, the company delivers on time, and its torches and matches usually stay lit.”

“Usually?” Zoot asked, pouncing on this sales opening. “If I could offer you an alternative solution that’s more dependable, at a fair price, delivered on time, would you want to talk to me?”

“Yes,” Helios (Ganymede) deadpanned.

“What happens when fire goes out?” Zoot asked innocently.

“Sometimes my oxen run off at night. When they do and my outside torches are out, I lose them for days, weeks, or sometimes forever. When inside torches are out, I can’t tabulate the day’s milk production. All of these problems cause me stress and loss of sleep,” Helios (Ganymede)

“And I bet a lot of money,” Zoot commiserated.

”Yep,” Ganymede quickly agreed, almost forgetting he was playing the part of a busy prospect.

Zoot paused for emphasis. Finally, he said, in a voice barely above a whisper, “I can solve your problems at a fair price and deliver on time.”

After another pause, he added, “What are you doing next Tuesday?”

“Meeting you!” Ganymede nearly shouted, his path to better telesales results becoming clear.

The next time Ganymede made a cold call, he used Zoot’s lessons, making them his own. Before long, prospect hesitations melted away like butter in the sun and his meeting schedule was full once more.

FIRE! Point
Studies have shown that successful salespeople ask 20 times more questions than unsuccessful ones. The same idea holds true for cold calling. Unsure what to say to cold prospects once they pick up the phone? Simply ask a few questions to discover what they need in a commercial printing services provider.

FIRE! in Action: Cold Calling Helps Comm-works Grow
In 2003 and 2004, the Minneapolis-based telecom services firm added hundreds of new customers via cold calling alone. 

Next week: Zoot gives Ganymede another tip for effective cold calling.

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