Archive for May, 2011

To Cold Call or Not to Cold Call?

Cold Calling or ProspectingThe subject of cold calling raised its head again recently. This time it was over at Birds on the Blog where regular visitors here will know I’m a contributing author.

The whole post made almost my blood boil, yet again. Not because of the stance Tessa (the post’s author) took or the content of the post, which I felt was well reasoned. What came across to me, in both the post and the comments, was the fact that it is somehow felt to be more personally offensive when these calls are made to small companies or sole traders by small companies or sole traders – to the likes of you and me by us.

Let’s separate the “offenders” out into two groups:

  1. Sole Traders/ independent consultants or Owners of micro or small businesses who are currently the main (or only) person responsible for bringing in and growing the business
  2. Micro or small businesses where there’s one or more dedicated sales or telephone sales persons

In either case, if the task is being handled successfully, it’s probably also being carried out reasonably professionally so there’s no problem. If it’s not, the best solutions are likely to be very different in scenarios 1 and 2.

Scenario 1
There are many ways to bring in profitable new business – none “right” or “wrong” – and it’s often down to a certain amount of trial and error to find what mix works best in each company, economic situation and industry, to name but three likely contributing factors.

Do you know what activities work best for you?

  • What are they?
  • What have you tried so far?
  • How regularly do you do them?
  • How good are you at doing them?
  • How do their results compare?
  • Do they include cold calling?

If your answer is “I don’t really know” then you need to take a deep breath and start finding out – fast.

Your choice regarding cold calling is DIY or get someone else to do it.

I know you have all aspects of the business to run and might well be tempted to go for the second option but be aware that you cannot expect to successfully employ someone either in-house or as an outsourced resource for cold calling without having researched your potential market sufficiently to have at least established your actual target market, the decision makers within it and their hot buttons.

If you know what works and feel your value is now best focused on prospect and customer meetings and delivery of offer, then you should be in a position to set fair and reasonable targets for someone else to do the cold calling bit.

Scenario 2
A dedicated telesales or sales person who isn’t reaching target.

Firstly you, the boss, have to take responsibility for whether your company’s service(s) and/ or product(s)

  • Have a market that needs and appreciates them
  • Are fairly and competitively priced for that market
  • Deliver on your promise

If the answer is “yes” the next questions are:

  • Does the employee have the necessary product service knowledge to do the job?
  • Does the employee know how/ where to access the target market (company & / or individual contact details)?
  • Does the employee have the skills to get through to decision makers and make effective calls?
  • Does the employee know the “hot buttons”?
  • Does the employee have the will to make the calls? (I’m not being funny here, I remember a client whose “keen as mustard” employee was actually using every excuse in the book not to even try because he was actually useless and bone idle!

Let’s put this in perspective
The telephone is just a tool. It’s neutral. As with any tool it’s the skill of the operator/ user that makes the crucial difference. If you’re one who thinks that all cold calling is bad cold calling, have you ever entertained the thought that it could actually be quite pleasurable once you know how? 😉

Linda Mattacks - Small Business Training

PS If your business is struggling, why not pick up the phone for a chat on how we can help you turn that around?

What does success mean to you and are you getting it?

Is it living a good life? Is part of it income? Is part of it financial independence? Is part of it objectives that you achieve,
dreams coming true, family, children, grandchildren, good friends,

In the words of Jim Rohn:

“It’s a wide range. It’s all encompassing, the word “success”.

It’s not just your job, your income, your fortune. Not just your
paycheck or your bank account. But everything. From all of your
achievements during your life to trying your best to design a way to
make it all give you a good life.”

A nationwide survey by Orange back in 2007 discovered that “Almost half of all UK adults have thought about acting on their entrepreneurial impulses, but one in two of them are too scared to do anything about it” so, by taking that leap from thought to actually setting up a business, you’re already in the bravest (or nuttiest :-) ) 25% of the population!

If you’re still in the early years of your business, the chances are you’re working harder than you ever did as an employee. So the question is: Is that work paying off or are you struggling to make ends meet?

If it’s the latter, there are five very simple, seemingly small things you can put into practice that will get you improvements fast. The first four are free and the fifth should pay for itself.

  1. Decide when you wake up in the morning to have a great day. Okay, you can’t say for sure that nothing bad’s going to happen but you can take responsibility for your mood, your attitude and how you respond. Take the word responsible and tweak it to response-able: That’s 100% within your capability to decide… 😉
  2. Whenever you catch yourself whingeing about how bad things are, just stop: This isn’t the same as going into lala land and pretending everything is brilliant – it’s common sense to prevent you getting totally depressed! Besides which, who wants to be around a misery?
  3. On that subject and by the same token, don’t hang around with unsuccessful people or those who whinge and bring you down. Did you know that your income is likely to mirror that of those people you spend most time with? I don’t know whether that’s down to like attracting like but it’s been proven many times…
  4. Invest your time whenever possible with people you’ve identified as successful on your terms. Ask even three of them what they believe are the top three things that have contributed to their success – you might be surprised at their answers and how, with some more thought, you might be able to apply them to yourself
  5. Get yourself a mentor. I hadn’t realised that Jim Rohn was smart enough to get himself a mentor at just 25 years of age. While many people just drift through life, accepting the good things that happen as good luck and railing against the bad as bad luck, Jim, like most successful people, made his own ‘luck’.

Just adopt these 5 simple tips and see what happens differently and hopefully better over the next 30 days…

Linda Mattacks - Small Business Training

+44 (0)20 7209 1284

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"I was very impressed by Linda's determination to help and the constructive, but persistent, manner in which she identified issues and then tried to resolve them. After recent progress I was again reaching a stage where I seemed to be spinning my wheels, and she has given me fresh impetus to start moving forward again."