September 2009


by Sheryl Tuttle

Does this sound familiar? A new marketer or business development professional is brought on-board to fill up the sales pipeline. A large part of their efforts will be reaching out to prospects, a.k.a. cold-calling. They quickly learn the business. They’ve nailed down the pitch and the value-proposition. They are enthused and they are good at closing sales.

But the pipeline doesn’t fill.

Often it’s the result of not enough effort made in cold-calling. And let’s face it… cold calling isn’t for everyone. There is a great deal of rejection with cold calling, and I previously posted about handling that rejection here. The fact is, the most successful campaigns run about an 85% rejection!

So then, what are your options?

The way I see it there are two options. Option 1 is to keep looking until you find a person that “gets” your business and one that is also good at cold-calling. The upside is that they become fully immersed in your company and its culture. After all, they are an employee. The downside is that they may not have other business development skill sets you seek. Sometimes you get an either/or, but not a both – you find someone with good business acumen, strong business development skills, or someone successful with cold-calling, but oftentimes it is not someone skilled all around. Also, keep in mind that a person spending a large amount of their time on the phone daily calling the same targets with the same message may burn out quickly. Some variation in the day-to-day is welcomed for even the most seasoned of cold-callers. Finally, this option can be expensive as not only do you have the employee salary to consider, but the cost of other employee benefits as well.

Option 2 is to outsource your cold-calling efforts. This option enables you to keep your in-house talent, and frees them to spend more time focused on servicing customers and landing new business. Another upside is that your cold-calling efforts can be utilized when most needed, then turned off when resources become too stretched. In other words, if your pipeline becomes sufficiently full and you want to take a break from those efforts, you can, and without having to worry about laying someone off or assigning them new responsibilities. The downside is finding the right talent. Hiring the cheapest isn’t the right solution as you want to be sure to hire professionals that are comfortable talking to your target prospects on a peer-to-peer basis, and that are skilled specialists that can quickly immerse themselves in your company and integrate fully.

As you can see, both options have benefits and drawbacks. Your company resources, size, budget and culture will often determine what’s right for you.

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by Sheryl Tuttle

I love my job and at times I feel like the luckiest person alive. I get to work from my home office, pitch the services of some top-notch companies, and talk to all kinds of interesting people. And what a charge I get when I set an appointment, especially when I obtain lots of detail that will help the Sales Executive win the business! It’s exciting, I’m enthused, the client is happy, everything is upbeat!

But sometimes, I just don’t feel like calling prospects.

Not to worry – it happens to even the most seasoned of rainmakers. Here are some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned to help get me out of this funk and to recharge myself. This list is not even close to all-inclusive, so I’d appreciate hearing your ideas in the comments section.

  • Warm it up – Like a car that needs to run awhile to warm in the winter, calling prospects can also require a warm-up. And it’s simple. Review your pitch points, even practice out-loud, then tackle your easy calls first. By the time you get to the more challenging calls, the pitch and ensuing conversation flows naturally.
  • Put on a smile – even if you don’t feel like making calls. Your tone and enthusiasm carry over into your message, whether to a human or voicemail. A smile makes your voice sound more warm and friendly. Plus, you just naturally feel better when you smile.
  • Mix it up – In times that your pitch begins to feel stale, even rehearsed, change it up. Add new or updated information, use the latest industry jargon, say what you need to say in a different order.
  • Enjoy a cup of java – or tea, or whatever your favorite caffeinated beverage.
  • And finally…Maybe you’re talking too much. If you’re really tired of the “same ole same ole,” then perhaps you’re talking too much and not listening enough.