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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.
 

Want Better Cold Calling Results? Do Some Homework First

 
Over the past few weeks, FEI sales leader Zoot has given young salesman Ganymede some valuable tips for winning back customers who have left. This week, Zoot shares a tip for effective cold calling. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot was working in his office one afternoon when a loud, repeating thump grabbed his attention. Concerned, he followed the noise to its source—Ganymede’s office. Here, the young salesperson was banging his head against the wall.

“If you’re trying to break down that wall to remodel your office, I’d suggest using a sledgehammer,” Zoot said in jest.

Ganymede looked surprised and embarrassed. “Oh, hi Zoot. This cold calling is driving me nuts!” He sat down at his desk and offered Zoot a seat. “I’ve spent all day fishing on the phone without a single nibble to show for the effort. People just don’t seem interested after I give them my pitch.”

“Maybe I can help,” Zoot said. “Give me a sample pitch.”

“Hi, this is Ganymede calling with Fire Enterprises, Inc. Can I have a moment of your time?”

“OK,” Zoot said.

“I’d like to talk to you today about how FEI’s fire solutions can reduce your organization’s heating costs by 15 percent.”

“That’s a passable opener,” Zoot began, “but you’re not addressing the prospect personally. Your message may be compelling, but it sounds like the same thing you’ll say to the next 49 prospects you call—because it is.”

“How do I make it better?” Ganymede asked with concern.

“If you do a little research before dialing, you can personalize each call based on the prospect at the other end. People are more likely to listen when what you’re saying has to do with them. A few minutes of ‘O-Google’ searching is sometimes the only thing separating cold callers with full appointment books from cold callers who, um...” Zoot gestured to the small dent in Ganymede’s wall.

“What kind of research?” Ganymede asked.

“The O-web is a cold caller’s best friend,” Zoot explained. “Get O-line and research your prospect’s company, the industry its in, even the prospect personally. Gather information that would make sense for you to mention during your call. Then, make the call, ready to insert personal touches at the right time. ”

“That sounds hard,” Ganymede said.

“It isn’t. Let’s do a dummy call and I’ll show you. Ring, ring...”

“Hera’s Bakery, Hera speaking,” Ganymede said.

“Good morning, Hera. Zoot calling from FEI Enterprises. We offer fire solutions that can help your company reduce its heating costs by 15 percent. By the way, I noticed an article in Olympian Entrepreneur this month about small businesses in West Saracens. Part of the article spotlighted a bakery that has managed to grow by 300 percent over the past two years.”
 
“Oh, really?” Ganymede said. “I didn’t see that one.”

“The article mentioned that, a few years ago, this bakery decided to outsource its kiln- and oven-lighting to a fire-specialist and focus on what it does best: baking delicious food. Tell you what, I wanted to get together with you anyway to demonstrate some of FEI’s customized oven-lighting solutions, so why don’t I drop by and bring along a copy of the article. Would tomorrow afternoon work?”

“Sure!” Ganymede said excitedly.

“You won’t always be able to make a slam-dunk connection like that,” Zoot added. “But any time you can demonstrate you know and understand the prospect and his or her business, you’ll distinguish yourself from the other cold callers. Taking the time to do some research also lets prospects know you’re serious about getting their business.”

Ganymede already felt like cold calling took up too much of his day, but he soon realized the extra few minutes spent doing research was well worth it. Otto of Otto’s Olympian Chariots, impressed by Ganymede’s knowledge of his company’s recent “Golden Chariot” award, took Ganymede up on his offer to meet for lunch. While enjoying a scrumptious plate of grape leaves and gyros at Demeter’s Café the next day, Ganymede closed his first sale from a cold call.

When Ganymede returned to the office, he lugged a pail of plaster out of the storage room and began fixing the dent he’d made. “Good bye, old friend,” he said.

FIRE! Point
If you do a little research before dialing, you can personalize each call based on the prospect at the other end. People are more likely to listen when what you’re saying has to do with them. Five minutes of Google searching is sometimes the only thing separating cold callers with full appointment books from cold callers who bang their heads against the wall.

Any time you can demonstrate you know and understand the prospect and his or her business, you’ll help distinguish yourself from the other cold callers. Taking the time to do some research also lets prospects know you’re serious about getting their business.

FIRE! in Action: Telesales Program Contributes to Bindery’s Success
Blatant self-promo alert: About 18 months ago, a well-known trade bindery and finishing company enlisted Grow Sales to identify and qualify new prospects via cold calling. These activities have led to hundreds of job quoting opportunities from dozens of new or reactivated companies, which has led to profitable, repeatable work.
 
Next week: Zoot gives Ganymede another tip for effective cold calling.

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