I love my job today I worked with a client who wanted to understand in detail what was happening when he made cold calls at his best. We spent the day together breaking the process down step by step, hence the name…Infact I think we have a few more steps to explore but today we were looking at the pre call and the call.
I have for the past few hours spent time in the head of one of the most amazing Sales and Management Development Trainers. I have learned so much and so has he.
When we work in this way with our clients it is like slowing down a movie. We look at each scene in detail, really understanding what is happening in each snap shot. We work out what happens in between and what happens just before. Fully understanding the complete sequence of events.
You might be thinking why bother?
Well the truth is often the leaders of a family or a company do things almost on auto pilot, they have done it for years and forgotten the process. Yet they want the next generation to learn from them. The trouble is they have lost sight of what is really happening, the small details of information and knowledge they have accumulated over the years and now take for granted. They often get into to trouble when they want to hand over responsibility, they hand over the outcome but invariable miss out the vital steps or strategies required to make that happen just the way they would like it to. Simply because they can’t remember themselves. They think from the outside it is obvious. If you find yourself saying it is obvious then the chances are, that it’s not so obvious to everyone else.
When you model your own performance and look at what you are doing when you are at your best you can really begin to:
- value the knowledge and skills you have
- recognise any areas for improvements
- develop greater understanding of what is needed to duplicate the same results in someone else who has not had 20 plus year experience and more to the point has not been in your head for the last 40 plus years.
Please let me introduce you to:
Tony Armstrong Managing Director –BMD Global.
The objective of the session was for Tony to recognise what is happening so that he could share it with me as part of my learning and so that he can ensure that he recruits the right people to take over from him as his business continues to expand. Tony has had some experience in the past where he has bought lists and hired telemarketing sales people to help his business grow only to be left feeling like he had thrown his money away. The results were shocking. Even more frustrating if you are really good at the getting the sales yourself and are left thinking I should have done it myself. But then you just can’t do it all.
Ever been in that situation?
It is essential as Tony take his business to the next level to find the right person to take over from him. Today we were looking at the small part of step 1. They are all very much connected and as one step finishes the next has already begun to take shape.
Step 1 Establish what is happening when making cold calls at his best
Step 2 Develop the handover system for someone else
Step 3 Find the right person
Qualifying the List
We started with a list of 4000 names that he had paid a tidy sum of money for that had ‘supposedly’ been screened and sorted. It turned out that not all the information was accurate and therefore everything had to be checked.
Then the work began, it was all about relationship building and I was amazed how much work Tony did before picking up the phone to understand the business. (Funny enough he was listening first, he was being interested in them.) I know you might think that sounds mad, but from reading up about the company history, recent news articles he did his homework. He got himself to a place where he felt he knew a little about them. Numbers were checked, calls were made to check the name, he written down was correct. He was looking for companies he would like working with, the kind that would ensure he was able to work at his best and therefore produce the best results for them. He was also able to identify that if he sorted the list into counties and made a priority to call those nearer the office he would also perform at his best with less fuel and being less tired with travel.
When he discovered that the information was wrong he would collect as much data on the call and diarise to call this company another day. It was all about listening and reacting differently to each piece of information.
This process he called ‘qualifying’ we managed to qualify 8 companies in the time we were together bearing in mind Tony was explaining what he was looking for and why in between. Which does not sound a lot but in terms of what we both learned about calling at your best and the potential clients will be invaluable. Of course that is only if Tony now ensures he follows up as promised which I know he will do.
There were all kinds of techniques used to ensure that he was able to open those doors I won’t give all his trade secrets away here you will have to call him if you want to know more. But the biggest learning for me was, every time I thought we had done as much as we could with a client, he did more. He would put the call down after discovering that the person has since left the company and would start to search for another name another door to open ready for the next time he would try.
Tony was relaxed and saw this not as a list of people to call but a list of companies to get to know.
It reminded me a bit of dating, taking your time, playing it cool. Being sure you are maintaining a level of dignity and you don’t cross the line between keen and desperate. There was not an ounce of desperate in the air today.
By the end of the session this is what I had learned:
- That you have to take the time to build a relationship even if it is a cold calling list, you have to take the time and be interested.
- That every call is unique and there is no real right or wrong you have to go with what feels right.
- To respect the people you are talking to, honour and understand that their time is valuable
- invest time in qualifying your list even if you are working with a list of your existing contacts.
- invest time to keep that list up to date and diarise to follow-up or your time is wasted
- keep your promises
- that each call teaches you something and that is a nugget for the future, either about how to open the conversation or about the client. No call is a failed call.
- the detail and examples Tony gave you sensed they had come from numerous times when someone had shut the door in his face. All that had brought him to where he is today, great at getting the doors open to decision makers
What Tony learned is:
- he now knows why his outsourcing to telemarketing did not work and what he would need to do to make it happen next time
- he recognised that his own process was in fact very sophisticated, created over a number of years and it is no wonder someone else can’t pick it up in an hour
- that he should value his skills and that should be reflected more in his day rate.
What difference will that make to him moving forward, I don’t know yet perhaps he can let us know.
Thanks for listening
ps if you want to learn what is happening when you are at your best then feel free to call us now.