I was inspired to write this after having an interesting conversation with a friend of mine. This was a classic case of cold calling to the right people. That said, “Does cold calling really work?”
Well, you can safely answer this question with a lawyer’s default response, “It depends.”
COLD CALLING – THE PYRAMID: A Case Study
A friend of mine, Director of Sales was trying to break into a company, legally of course. He was trying to find out who the decision makers were. His company offered what could be termed an Asset Management Reduction Strategy. In simple layman terms, he helped track company assets and re-appraise them in order to reduce their overall tax base.
Who to contact? He thought the best place to start was with the legal and finance department. So he called and gave them his sales pitch; but he met with resistance. He kept sending them the documentation they requested and would follow-up, but with little success.
He couldn’t understand it. He knew, based on his assessment of the company’s asset structure and tax base that he could save the company over $1 million dollars. He just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t able to drive this point home.
This is where I come into the story. The Director tells me this whole story. He shows me how he’s done his research, the documents he’s prepared and specifically how the company could save a load of money.
It was then that I pointed out the obvious to him. I said, “Why would a department that’s in charge of helping the company save money hire you if you’re going to do their job better than they are?” I continued, “By hiring you as a financial consultant, they are in affect admitting to their own inadequacy.”
I could tell he was stunned by the remark. He nodded his head. It was a cross between you’re right and, why didn’t I think of that.
I said, “What you need to do is start calling on the top of the pyramid, not the bottom. The people at the top are VERY concerned with the bottom-line where the salaried employees at the bottom may be more concerned with keeping their job.”
He said, “You know, you’re right. I bet if I showed the CEO these numbers, he’d listen to me.” I agreed.
About two weeks later he called to thank me and give me an update. His comments were something along these lines:
“Wade, it was incredible. I spoke with the CEO of the company after seven attempts to get his assistant to put me through. I gave him my three minute sales pitch on what I knew I could do to save his company money. He liked what he heard and directed me to speak with his CFO. He personally called the CFO to make sure he took my call. And guess what? I didn’t have to call him, he called me. After giving him the same spiel, guess what? He said, “Your timing is impeccable. I am in the process of putting together a finance review for our board and I needed to bring to the table some cost saving measures; when can I see your proposal?””
He was one happy salesman. About two months later, after all the terms and conditions were agreed to, he was awarded the business. His commission for the deal after it was completed in 5 months, $45,000. How do I know? He showed me the check over a $7 breakfast he bought me. What a friend 🙂
Cold Calling Rules of Engagement:
Cold Calling works when you know who your company/customer is.
Cold calling is effective if you talk to the right person. The higher you aim, the higher the accountability.
Cold calling uncovers hidden opportunities (e.g., cost saving measures needed by the CFO).
Finally, my friend called 7 times before the assistant put him through. His persistence was driven by the fact that he KNEW he had something good to offer the company. He was so sold on his idea that he couldn’t keep himself from trying to sell it to someone else. That’s passion! That’s selling!
R. Wade Younger, CSP
401 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, North Carolina, 28202, U.S.A
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