I have never met anyone that truly enjoys making cold calls. They are rarely productive, typically between 2 to 4% successful. Even if the call is successful the next steps are always awkward and a bit uncomfortable for both sides. The customer is wondering why they agreed to meet with you and you are not sure exactly what direction the call will go. You do them to appease someone who told you that you need to fill the funnel.
Contrast that to what I refer to as FirstCalls, which have the following characteristics:
- Comfortable to make
- Outcome is predictable
- Preparation is required
- Results are more positive
- They are repeatable
Look at a FirstCall as a cold call that includes the three P’s of Purpose, Preparation and Process.
- Purpose will determine the focus of the call.
- Preparation will determine the quality of the call.
- Process will determine the consistency and predictability of the outcome of the call.
If you are expected to gain net new customers, you cannot afford to spend time “dialing for dollars”. Customers do not appreciate being “hunted”. They don’t have time for the traditional 30 or 60 second “elevator pitch” on the phone or in person. These approaches have made an impact in the past. But it is a rare event today when these approaches result in success. These focused on you and your company, not on the customer and their need. How can your elevator pitch that you have polished and refined over months and years fit the needs of each of your prospective customers? How do you even now what a particular customer’s needs are?
In a sequence of four blog posts we will dive into each of the three P’s and wrap up with the eventual outcomes. We will explore how to discover, in advance of your FirstCall, what your prospective customer’s business goals are, who is driving those goals, who is accountable for meeting those goals, which of your competitors, if any, are currently working with them in pursuit of those goals, and when and how you can insert yourself into the process. If you are interested in filling the funnel and learning how you accomplish these things and develop great business relationships in the process, follow along. Contribute along the way, add your comments and perspective. We all come out better informed in the end.