When it comes to business, there is a big difference between being an expert and being an entrepreneur. Experts come up with great ideas, products, and solutions, and that's fantastic, but entrepreneurs know how to sell, and without sales, you have no business.
As an expert, this has been a painful, and at times, very costly lesson.
In an effort to make this transition from expert to sales expert to entrepreneur I have read dozens of books on the art of selling, listened to some of the top podcast by sales experts. But you can only learn so much from studying, at some point if you want to learn to swim you have to get into the water.
So when CEO of Connect and Sell, launched a challenge for people to make 3000 cold calls in April, using his companies software for free I jumped at the chance.Chris Beall,
As someone who was making on average three calls a day, this was going to a baptism of fire. An opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, and do three times as many calls in one month than I would probably do in an entire year.
At the start of the Cold Call Challenge, there were 13 of us who agreed to participate. We were all given free access to the Connect and Sell tool for a month, and we were trained in the Noah Blumenthal Breakthrough Script, which is just five sentences, to help those of us who had limited cold calling sales experience.
This was the script.
Hi, I'm Gordon Tredgold CEO of Leadership Principles. I know I'm an interruption; can I have 27 seconds to tell you why I called?
I believe we have discovered a breakthrough in unleashing the innovation power of frontline employees.
The reason I reached out to you today is to get 15 minutes on your calendar to share that breakthrough with you.
Do you happen to have your calendar available?"
It was a great learning experience, and here are the top 30 things I learned from making 3000 calls in one month.
First the numbers
- With the right tool, you can make 150 cold calls in just one hour.
- 50% of calls go through to voicemail.
- On average it takes 17 cold calls before you are connected to a live person and can have a conversion.
- 3025 calls, led to 178 conversations which resulted in 18 follow-up meetings.
- One in ten initial conversations led to a follow-up meeting.
- To make 3025 calls, you need a list of around 600 people to call, any less and the call to connect ratio starts to drop significantly.
- Even though 12 people signed up for the challenge, which was an amazing opportunity, only three people completed it.
So I guess not everyone who is in business is serious about sales.
- Senior people will pick up the phone and speak with you.
My call lists were all CEOs, SVPs, VPs and Directors.
- If it takes 17 calls before you get to speak to someone, then you need a tool to do that leg work otherwise cold calling is going to be very frustrating and not very productive.
- Even though I have a business, my sales approach is random and based more on hope than a clearly defined sales strategy, and I need to address that and address it quickly. Create a robust sales approach.
- Do the follow-up immediately, don't leave it for tomorrow or a later date as things build up and it might not get done.
- When you take massive action, things start to happen, either directly or indirectly.
- When I am, relaxed on the phone, the prospects tend to be relaxed on the phone.
- The quality of contact list has a major impact on the quality of the call to conversation conversion ratio, and when you're doing 3000 calls you need a big contact list.
- Only 6 percent of calls lead to a conversation, so perseverance and persistence are key attributes of being successful at sales.
- You need to have a voicemail strategy, as half the calls go to voice mail.
- Time of day, mid-morning or mid-afternoon didn't really make a difference. Although calling during the lunchtime period doesn't help get conversations.
- My most successful day for calls to conversations was a bank holiday, as most senior managers were in the office, but not in meetings and therefore available. So take advantage of bank holidays.
- Attitude is everything.
- 1000+ sales calls per weeks is possible.
- Anyone hiring sales people should look to use Connect And Sell within the interview process to get a first-hand impression of how the prospective salesperson sells.
- Trust in the process, especially the breakthrough conversation approach. I got away from that a little bit, and I think it impacted the results for the call to meeting conversations.
- Pick Up The Phone with everyone: cold calls; warm leads; people in your network; and get into more conversations. You pick up more information from conversations than you ever will from email.
- Asking for meetings helps to get them, as does following Noah's script.
- You need to have a script, you don't always need to follow it 100%, but it does help you to be prepared and give you a fall back
- A great start builds great confidence, and I should look to see if I can engineer that before I get into full swing.
- The more calls you make, the more resilient you become.
- If you're in doubt as to whether it's a good time to call, just call anyway. Don't just weasel out at the first excuse.
- Make time for the calling and Focus 100% on that. Multitasking while calling just means you're doing two things badly.
- And lastly, sales is crucial to your business, and if it's not your forte then you need to hire someone to do it for you, it will be the best investment that you can make.
Business is all about sales. No sales, no business it's as simple as that.