I have had a very humbling past few weeks. I found myself in a situation where I needed to cold call (after cold e-mailing), a significant amount of people who had no idea I existed prior, and essentially asked them for money to partner with me at the upcoming Graphics Of The Americas.
What did I learn? I am NOT a closer. I won’t get the Glengarry leads, or win a Cadillac Eldorado, or the set of steak knives for that matter. Luckily I work for myself, or third prize would have been mine! Closers know what I’m talking about.
It wasn’t shocking to me that I had no sales technique because I am a buyer and used to being on the easy side where I control things. Once that flipped, not only did my world fall apart, but I also realized I had no idea about the art of sales, or any style.A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action.
I honestly think my biggest problem was confidence. I believed in the Print Media Centr partnership package I was offering, but not so much in how to make it happen. I was uncomfortable and I’m pretty sure I made a few people equally as uncomfortable. At one point I even stopped my spiel and asked for feedback. Awkward.
Then I decided I needed to first tell people who I was, and what Print Media Centr is, and why that should matter to them. So I tried that a few times but found myself rolling my own eyes about halfway through and wishing I would get to my own point.
About 15 calls in, I changed tactics again. This time I would just assume that the person had read my e-mail, and that I was calling to follow up and see if they had any questions. This went a little smoother, and I think it’s because I sounded confident. A few people even found the e-mail in their inbox and reviewed it with me. Then I got the “ok, well now I need to pass it along to the real person who makes such decisions,” but that was certainly better than crickets.
After a few of the pass-it-along situations, I started the call by asking the person if they were the decision maker, and if not could they connect me with someone who was. Two lessons here: 1. This technique sent me straight to voicemail each time, and 2. Voicemail is where cold calls go to die, like the elephant graveyard. Not one person called me back.I used to be a salesperson. It's a tough racket.
I’m sure some of you are having a nice chuckle at this, and I don’t blame you. This experience has opened my eyes to how difficult it can be to break through that first wall. Some people refer to that as “getting your foot in the door,” but now I realize there is a wall you have to get through before you can even approach the door sometimes! I definitely have a newfound respect for what it takes to hone all those no’s into a few yeses, and keep going back for more.
By the way, it all worked out for me in the end. I have great partners and GOA is going to be awesome. Even though I probably wouldn’t have lasted too long at Mitch & Murray’s, I think I earned a cup of coffee, at least for now.
Ps… if you don’t recognize any of my references, check this out
but be warned it’s not work appropriate!