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Calling Cell Numbers: Part Two

Frustrated CallerSome people become irate over prospecting calls on their cell phone. How dare someone call this very special o-so-private number! In part one I explained why that’s kinda silly. This article covers how to handle it. But first let’s deal with the risk of calling cell numbers.

The Risk in Calling Cell Phones

Part of what inspired this article are the posts in LinkedIn sales groups asking whether it’s okay to call cell numbers. There are no regulations prohibiting you from calling cell phone numbers simply because it’s a cell phone. However…

Unless your situation meets the exceptions, you may not call consumers on a number listed on the Do Not Call list, whether that’s attached to a cell phone, landline, voIP, etc..

In addition: Some people erroneously believe calling cell numbers is prohibited, and may react badly. Some people do not understand the exceptions to Do Not Call, and may react badly. Some people don’t differentiate B2C from B2B and may react badly. Some people believe it’s rude or unprofessional to call a cell phone number, and may react badly. Some people simply do not like receiving phone calls, and may react badly. All people are sometimes illogical, moody, unreasonable, rude, dismissive, impatient…and may react badly to your call.

So the question is this: Are lots of people likely to react badly if you call their cell phone? (more…)

The Wrong Way to Warm Calls Up

The most common way people try to warm calls up is by mailing or emailing first. This common effort comes with common errors. This article covers the errors, how to avoid them, and how to successfully blend letters/emails with calling. (more…)

Why B2B and B2C are (not) Different

(Excerpt from book)

My favorite cold calling myth is this one: calling B2B is different from calling B2C. The idea behind this myth is when calling business owners, C-suite, and other executives we need to use a sophisticated approach because these guys are intelligent. We need to get right to the point because these guys are busy (and impatient). If we do not quickly meet their standards they will shut us down.

All of that is absolutely true: these prospects are busy, intelligent, and will not put up with calls that do not show respect. Now… what on earth happens to these people when they go home and become consumers? Are they suddenly less sophisticated or less intelligent? Does their time magically expand to allow for callers to impose on it?

That’s why this myth is so special — it’s just plain silly. Calls to businesses and calls to consumers are the same. The rest of this article highlights two common errors with both “types” of prospects, and how to avoid them. (The book provides details using full script examples.) (more…)

Shout Out for Dudley and Goodson

I am careful about using the phrase “call reluctance” and you may need to be, too. Here’s why.

Shannon L. Goodson and George W. Dudley are the authors of The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance: Earning What You’re Worth in Sales. This is an appreciation for Dudley in particular, who coined the phrase “call reluctance” maybe as far back as 1943. Call reluctance is a beautiful phrase. It’s also trademarked.

Some years ago, I was asked to observe their training program (delivered by someone else, not Dudley or Goodson) and was given a copy of their book. The goal was to bring me up to speed because I’d deliver my cold calling workshop to the same group the next day. As I sat quietly in the back of the room, I naturally critiqued the training and looked through the book.

I have some education in psychology (completed a BA) and love to rip apart research and its results. I thought the research portions of the book were very well-done and relevant to some concerns people sometimes have about making calls. However, I do not recommend or support the depth of the effects the authors describe, much less the methods presented in training to address the issues. But that’s not the point of this article.

We Are Warned

Not sure what current editions of the book show, but at that time there were many pages on which the authors emphasized their ownership of “call reluctance,” including stern warnings about using it. Those warnings primarily apply to people like me, who may make money using the phrase. At that time I poo-pooed the warnings because the phrase was so commonly used — surely the authors weren’t serious about keeping people from using it, right? Wrong.

Luckily, it wasn’t legal action that changed my use of the phrase. My attitude changed as more and more of my own copyrighted material and trademarks were ripped off… I wasn’t going to go as far as to sprinkle multiple warnings throughout my own books, but I understood why Dudley and Goodson did and wanted to respect that.

Since then, I’ve made efforts to avoid the phrase “call reluctance,” including removing it from articles, training materials and my own books. This has proved tough to do for one reason: it’s a perfect phrase. And that is the point of this article.

Well Done, Dudley

So here’s a shout-out to George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson. “Call reluctance” is concise, evocative, and clear without demeaning. Others may use it with no thought to the artistry that created it, but I think of that every time. The phrase is as elegant as e = mc squared, as beautiful as any of Da Vinci’s sculptures.

(And if you catch me using the phrase in other articles, please let me know.)

Rating Prospects: Marketing

Rate Marketing ProspectsMarketing and selling are related but different. Accordingly, when it comes to complex products or services, we usually need two rating systems. The rating system for marketing-prospects is simple but you may need some background to understand why it’s effective, starting with the difference between marketing and selling.

Marketing vs. Selling

Marketing is what we do to gain prospects’ attention and regain customers’ attention. Marketing tools include calling, mail, email, and web-based marketing. Selling begins after a prospect has agreed to explore the fit—we’re not selling unless and until we have that agreement.

The rating system described here focuses on marketing (see this one for selling). It can be applied to:

  • Prospects you have not yet connected with.
  • Prospects you’ve connected with and that’s about it.
  • Prospects who said they may be open to exploring the fit but not now.
  • Prospects who have agreed to have a sales conversation but that has not yet occurred.

There are four things to note before I cover the rating system itself. (more…)

Mind Control: Why Some Calls to Action Work and Some Don’t

Mind control“Register”
“Buy Now”
“If you’re interested, call me back.”

Those are examples of a marketing call to action — a term and practice that’s been around for over 100 years. The first two work, the third doesn’t. This article tells you why. (more…)

How to Shop for Lists

Where Lists Come From

The types of data available is absolutely mind-boggling. We’re talking anything from what kinds of soup people in Oregon buy, to web-traffic habits of male executives who buy soup, to all soup can manufacturers in Ohio with between 501 and 723 employees.

There is tons of data, but there are only a handful of organizations that gather and compile data. (Dun and Bradstreet is one compiler you might have heard of.) Compilers organize the data in lists; anything from generic lists, to lists based on very specific requests.

Some Lists Are Like Beer

You need to know that in many cases you don’t buy lists, you rent access to the data on them. Keep your ears and eyes open for the phrases “single use” and “multiple use.”  Single-use means you get to use it once. Multiple-use means you can use it as often as you want over a period of time (e.g., a year).

Marketing pros will tell you that you usually need to market more than once for best results. So single-use is cheaper but also a big gamble. Now, I can hear the wheels turning…how will they know if you use it more than once? Well, the list-compilers salt the lists so they know when you use the data more than once. Remember that the data-compilers own the data. They have the right to bill you for multiple-use and they will. (more…)

Liability Insurance Primer

Got any “errors and omissions” insurance? Do you really need that? (Does it actually exist?)

Whether you need or “should” have liability insurance becomes a sales issue for many consultants, in particular. Since I often provide training to commercial insurance brokers I have access to pros who can answer that question.  This Primer was created with their help — and includes sales tips related to the issue. The primer was recently updated. Feel free to pass it on.

Liability Insurance Guide

Tips for Using the Rating System

Read “Rating Prospects” first. Otherwise these tips will make no sense. (more…)

Is “social” networking networking?

The short answer is yes, of course! As much as some may say it’s different, the new wave, will supplant in-person networking… The interactions you have on LinkedIn, specific listserves, Twitter, and even Facebook are indeed networking. Include these activities in your networking analysis, giving them their own rows. (See “Is your networking working?” for more on analysis.) (more…)

Is Your Networking Working?

Networking can be an excellent marketing tool to include in the mix. Because networking is often a favorite, it’s also easy to spend more time, money, and effort than it’s worth. Here’s how to use a simple matrix to make informed decisions. (more…)

Prospects’ reaction, and motivation

Tania asked:

I get motivated when I feel I am making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. I think this could hurt me because of how I perceive negative reactions on the phone. Any suggestions for people like me to remain motivated when cold calling? (more…)

New Phone Problems for Old Pros?

Dear Shawn:

Ever heard of anyone who has been in sales forever suddenly catching call reluctance? I used to make hundreds of cold calls each week, but that was years ago. Now I’m struggling to pick up the phone.

Shawn says:

Yes, I have heard of successful, experienced sales reps suddenly experiencing a strong desire to do anything but cold call. In fact, there are two ways that experienced reps can have even more trouble than rookies. (more…)

Not Enough Appointments

Dear Shawn:

After reading your book (great book, by the way), I have been cold calling every day and tracking results. I’m not getting the appointments I need. I’m calling homes during the day. My best day, I called 87 people and connected with 16 and got 2 appointments. But on the other days I made almost 150 calls and only connected with maybe 35 people, and got only one appointment. I don’t want to call during the evening. Am I doing something wrong?

Shawn says: (more…)

Selling versus Marketing

A Definition: Selling versus Marketing

Many people use “marketing” as a euphemism for selling but they’re really two different things. Understanding the difference helps set appropriate expectations, which helps prevent frustration. Understanding the difference also helps focus your efforts. Last but not least, understanding the difference prevents behaviors that send prospects running in the other direction. (more…)