Cold calling is a powerful tool to grow your business. Done correctly, cold calling will allow you to build rapport and trust, to display authority, and to increase the desire for your product or service.
Learn from a cold calling pro what the #1 cold calling mistake is, how you’re losing prospects at hello, how to recognize when your cold calling campaign is dead in the water, and more!
All right. So we are officially recording right now. I’m going to start sharing my screen. Very good. I’m going to welcome all of you again. All right. Sorry for complaining or whining. All right. So welcome everybody to this special webinar today, “Cold Calling Mastery”. You are my people, the kind of people that have joined this webinar early on a Wednesday morning to learn more about cold calling and how to master the art of cold calling.
My name is Steli Efti. I’m going to tell you guys a little bit about my background, even though I think many of you might know a thing or two about me. But just right—setting the context:
Why do I care about cold calling? Why do I think it’s effective? And what’s my experience in it? And then I’m going to share the basics, as well as best practices, to really elevate your game.
Throughout the webinar, please feel free to ask questions and make comments in the chat and whenever I cannot respond to either immediately, at the end we’re going to have a nice Q&A session. I’m going to go through all of the questions there. So whenever you have a question, get it out of your system, put it in chat. It’s going to make this a lot smooth of an operation.
The truth about cold calling
All right. So first of all, let me say that I’m not dogmatic about cold calling. I don’t think cold calling is the best thing in the universe. I don’t think every company has to do cold calling. A lot of people ask me, “Steli, why do you love cold calling so much?” Like motherfuckers, it’s not like I love it. It’s that sometimes, it’s a powerful tool to grow your business and when it is the right tool to grow your business, I use it. And because I have to use it a lot, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. That’s pretty much it.
I have a business right now actually at Close.io and I’ll get to this in a second, we do zero cold calling. It’s all inbound leads. We are doing lots of sales calls where we call all our incoming leads for our content marketing. We don’t do any cold calling. But for Elastic Sales—I’ll tell you guys a little bit that in a second—we did hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of cold calls.
So, it’s not about good or bad. It’s about practical. When it works, it works. And if it works for your business, you want to make use of it and make it work for your business.
Pivoting from an outsourced sales startup to a sales CRM startup
All right. Having said and having that out of the way, let me give you a little bit of relevant context. So I’m originally Greek, grew up in Germany. I used to say I have the best that Europe has to offer. I’m not sure about that anymore. But I’ve been a serial entrepreneur my entire life and my entrepreneurial superpower has always been the hustle in sales in one way or another.
Eight years ago, I sold everything I had. I bought a one-way ticket. I came to Silicon Valley to start my first technology company. That company turned out to be a catastrophe. It didn’t work out. It was a soul-crushing failure and defeat. But five years into that defeat, I started another business and that business is what we are running today.
And originally, we started that business with the concept of running an outsourced sales team on demand for venture-backed startups. It was called ElasticSales. It was in the heart of Silicon Valley and we did sales for about 200 venture-backed startups, helping them scale their sales operations.
And the vast majority of what we were doing was SaaS sales and it was all outbound. So as I said, we did hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of cold calls during the time that we were running ElasticSales.
Kevin Monk, yes, you are supposed to be able to hear something. I think that it’s indicated through chat that other people can’t hear me. So guys, just do me a favor. If somebody can just maybe give Kevin a little bit of tech support in the chat, maybe he doesn’t have the speakers on or something else is going on. If you guys can hear me, I’m pretty sure that the audio problem is probably on his side, unfortunately. And let him know that we’re recording this webinar so if it can’t be resolved, he still is going to be able to watch it later.
All right. So ElasticSales, we were doing sales for other companies, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of cold calls and we learned a shit ton during that experience. As part of running ElasticSales, we built a little tool called Close.io. The core emphasis of building our own sales technology during Elastic time was to have sales software that doesn’t suck and to build a sales software that would truly empower salespeople to crush it out there. And our real focus was inside sales.
And from day one, the very first thing we did with Close.io was integrating voice over IP. So we wanted to have a CRM system or sales software system that allowed us to call leads right from the app and to receive calls right through the app, because we thought it’s stupid and inefficient to have sales reps using a separate phone application to make calls and then having to use the CRM to report what they just did. So we built a beautifully integrated system where today Close.io is probably the most powerful CRM out there if you are doing cold calls.
You can do one-click calls right out of the system. You can do, you know—we have customers that do 400, 500 cold calls per rep per day in Close.io. You can record all your calls in the system. You can pre-record voicemails and drop them. You can do call transferring. There are a million features and functionalities in Close.io that makes it a really powerful tool. So if you are into cold calling, you might want to check it out.
All right. We know a shit ton about cold calls. We’ve done millions of them ourselves. We care deeply about it. And today, I’m going to teach you everything I know about it. All right. So let’s get started.
How the phone transformed sales
So first, let me take just one moment to highlight why the phone is such a beautiful device and why it is such a powerful device in order to grow your business. So first of all, think about it. The phone was probably one of the most transformative sales technologies ever invented. Probably the only one that’s one the same level is email. But what the phone did is prior to the phone, salespeople were always local and local only. It was the time where as a salesperson, you would have to go in your regional area and go knocking on doors, door to door to door, selling one person or one business at a time.
The phone changed all that. The phone made it possible for you, as one single human being, to transform the confines of your location and be able to reach anyone and everyone around the world. And that made a massive boost in sales productivity. both in reach and time because there are two things.
Number one is transforming your physical location and being able to talk to people that are not in your immediate environment. But the second thing was also time, because the biggest waste of sales productivity prior to the phone was actually the distance between one prospect and the other.
So, all the time that was wasted driving to a business or walking to a business, pitching them, and then having to go to the next business. That was all a complete waste of time. Today, you can pick up the phone, call a business, hang up, and be on the next call with the next business within seconds.
The next thing is that, and this is something very powerful to be reminded of as a startup, is that there is something powerful in this human connection and social connection. And no matter how beautiful websites are, and social applications, and email, and all kinds of other tools that we’re using today—and I want you to use all of them—there’s nothing that trumps a human-to human-interaction to build rapport, trust to display authority and to increase desire. Really, humans like to interact with other humans. Humans like to be influenced by humans. And humans build the strongest relationships one-on-one with another human being.
If you do cold calling, you probably do that most of the time in the B2B sector and you probably are not in transactional sales, but in transformative sales instead. So transactional sales is where you go to your fucking bakery and you go, “Hey, I want to have a pretzel.” It is like a dollar and they just—the person takes the money and gives you the goods. Sales at the end of the day is nothing else than a transactional value. You give the money. They give you the goods or services.
The cold call, and using the phone to do sales, typically involves transformative sales. That means you’re going out there in the world. You’re reaching somebody that didn’t think about you, didn’t have you as a top priority and you start a human connection. You make them aware that you exist. You learn about them to figure out what they need and what their desires are and then you transform their day and their life, in many cases, by making the sale if it is the right fit and if you can truly help them solve a problem or create real value.
And the last, but not the least, is a last kind of foundational thing about the phone and why it’s a beautiful device is that it’s a great equalizer. I’m not a great fan of The Wolf of Wall Street. I love the book. The book is entertaining as fuck. I don’t think—that’s not my type of sales, going out there and being like a fucking scam artist and whatever you want to call it, like a super uber-aggressive bull room type of an energy, of a person. It’s not me.
But the one beautiful line in that movie, if you’ve watched The Wolf of Wall Street, was when he explains to these morons, these idiots, the phone is the great equalizer. And it’s true. The phone strips away a lot of the superficial shit, and all that is left is your voice and the content of what you’re delivering. And that’s all the other person has to create an image and an imagery of like who you are and to be influenced or create a relationship around you.
So, I mean back in the day, that guy was able to take a bunch of like 17, 18 19-year-old uneducated idiots and train them in selling top CEOs in the US on buying millions worth of penny stocks. So they would call CEOs, cold call CEOs, and get them to buy stocks:
From a broker they’ve never heard of? From a brokerage firm they’ve never heard of In a stock of a company they’ve never heard of In a Penny stock which is something they have never invested in and not just do that with like a few hundred dollars or a thousand bucks, [but] millions of dollars.
So, the phone truly is the great equalizer. It can make an 18-year-old kid that’s uneducated stay in the same level ground as a top CEO that’s a millionaire and have the kid influence the CEO. Just keep that in mind. It’s a beautiful device.
The basics of cold calls
All right. Let’s talk about the basics of cold calls, and the basics of cold calling if you decode it and you break it down in its single elements is very simple steps. The very first step and the most important step, is you need to be able to reach people. I know this sounds simple folks, but that’s why it’s so important. This is the number one mistake most people make when they do cold calls.
Most businesses, cold calling campaigns are dead in the water at that very first step. They’re not reaching enough people. They haven’t thought about how to reach enough people and they don’t even consider that as a part of the things they are tracking. We’ll talk about that a lot more later. I will run through these really quickly and then we’re going to go through them one by one and really go deep.
The very first thing you need to do if a tree falls in a fucking forest and nobody is around, it’s the same principle. If a cold call is made and nobody picked up, what was the fucking point? There was no cold call made, right? All you did is you waste the time. And that’s probably one of the reasons, not the only reason, but one of the reasons why people and many companies hate doing cold calls because today, most of the cold calls you make, you’ll be listening dial tones, voicemails, and you’ll talk to gatekeepers or secretaries, people that are not the decision-maker. So you’ll waste a significant amount of your time.
There are lot of tricks on how to increase your reach rate and we’ll talk about that but there’s also a baseline that you need to understand which means, if you call 100 people and you don’t reach at least 10, you’re dead in the water. You’re fucked. You need to improve the quality of the phone numbers that you have, the leads that you have, the time that you call, or something else. We’ll talk about that in a second. So reaching people is fucking crucial and you are underestimating it and I urge you not to anymore.
The next thing you need to do, once you reached somebody and they pick up the phone and it’s the right person and you have their ear now, you have their attention, what you need to do is you need to sound good. Again, something people completely dismiss, don’t pay attention to, “Sound good? I don’t know. I’m just going to focus on like pitching them on my shit.” Fuck you!
All I have on the phone in order to determine who you are and if I want to be influenced by you, if I want to listen to you, is your voice, is the way you sound, is the way you deliver the words and the content, not the content itself. We’ll talk about that a lot more.
So first, you reach people, basics people. Then you need to sound good. And again, a little bit of a chat. Richard is asking a question. Folks, let me know if anybody is experiencing any issues. If not, please jump in and support the little community in chat and help out Richard. Before I move forward, I just want to make sure that all of you guys are taken care of.
All right. So first, you reach people. Second, you need to sound good. And then you need to ask questions. And I saw that there’s a question about what comes first, the cold call or the cold email? We’ll talk about that a little bit but it’s an excellent question so I want to comment on it really quickly.
Oh Kelly, if you’re in a webinar with me, you’ll have to live with F bombs and foul language. It’s just the way I express myself so you’ll have to deal with that or find another place to get more clean information. It’s just the passion that I have. It’s just the way that I communicate. If I want to be authentic, there’s going to be a little bit of that in there. Get used to it.
What comes first, the cold email or the cold call?
All right. So what comes first, the cold email or the cold call? It depends. There is not a singular answer to this, “All businesses should do cold emails first or all businesses should do cold calls first.” It depends on who you’re trying to reach. It depends on who’s your target audience. And ultimately, I would always test both and see just what works. Be practical and be pragmatic. Whatever works, try it out. Don’t be dogmatic. Be pragmatic about this.
I know that typically when you want to call professionals, if you’re selling to professionals like doctors, lawyers, accountants, coaches, teachers, whatever it is, you can probably get a really high success rate —or restaurants owners, you might get a really good success rate with just cold calling the person directly rather than cold emailing.
If you’re selling to high executives and large Fortune 500 companies, cold calls will probably not get you anywhere. So you might have to master the art of cold emailing. It depends on your market.
The next question. You guys are great with the questions. So have I seen Jordan Belfort’s sales scripts? Yes, I’ve seen his sales scripts, his sales training. There are a few gold nuggets here and there. It’s entertaining. But I’m not a huge fan of all his stuff, to be honest.
All right. So I’m going to keep going with the webinar. I’m going to be answering the questions. You guys keep putting the questions in and at the end when we do the Q&A, I’ll scroll back and I’ll make sure to answer every single one of them.
How to qualify leads
All right. So, going back to the basics. We need to reach people. We need to sound good. We need to ask questions. This is something that’s so crucial that everybody is messing up. People think that cold calling and sales pitching on the phone is all about you talking. It’s not. You’re calling someone not to just sell them on your shit but you’re calling someone to learn about them and figure out if they are qualified, if they’re a good fit and if you can truly help them. What I call selfless and selfish qualification.
First, you figure out. You get the answer to the question, can I help them? And then you get the answer to the question, can they help me? And only if the answer to both of these questions is yes, then you are trying to sell. So you need to master the art. If you want to be good at sales, you need to master the art of asking questions. She who asked the question is leading the conversation and getting all the information. You need to get the information before you try to sell anything.
Managing objections and making the close
So you reach people. You sound good. You ask questions. And you manage objections. So people are going to have some objections for you and typically, these objections are going to be recurring, so they’re going to be the same kind of top 5, top 10 objections and you need to learn how master them, how to manage them and how to be proactive about them. Then you go for the close. And the close does not necessarily mean they buy your software or your product or the services, whatever it is that you’re trying to sell.
The close can be any conversation that you’re setting, any call-to-action, anything that you want them to take as an action after your call. Maybe it’s signing up for a free trial. Maybe it’s scheduling a demo. Maybe it’s, you know, coming to an event or whatever the hell it is. But make sure that you are clear on what you want them to do and make sure you go for that close at the end of the conversation.
Should you do a round of calls just to get the right number?
All right. So there’s another question here that’s excellent. So when you’re selling B2B, doing a round of calls just to get the right number, is that a good idea? Kevin. So Kevin is asking that.
Kevin, again, you rarely hear me say, “Yes, this is a good idea. This is a bad idea.” It depends. Is it working? And if it’s working, I would step back and I would say, “Well, if we do a hundred calls to get the right number, how many times do we convert in getting the right number?” Again, if it’s like 20% or 30% of the time out of 100 calls, you get 20 to 30 good numbers and those calls into the good numbers result into a really high reach rate, so if you call these 20 or 30 people, you reach half of them, it might be worth it depending on what your customer lifetime value is.
But if you’re calling a hundred people and you get one number and when you call that number, you never reached anyone, it’s not fucking working. So you might as well do something else or try a different way to get the right number.
I’m just getting the signal that my battery is low. Let me quickly actually plug my laptop just to make sure that this webinar is not going to die immediately. All right. So this is what happens when you’re doing it live. You have to work. And so, I’m just grabbing the mic, leaning down and grabbing charger and we’re good to go. All right. So let me make sure that we’re going to be powered throughout the entire webinar.
All right. So yes, it depends. Try it out. See what the metrics look like. It might make sense. It might not make sense. It might make more sense to do a better job on the lead generation part or sending cold emails first to get to the right decision-maker. There’s an excellent book called Predictable Revenue that talks about kind of a cold email to get to the cold call approach. It’s an excellent book. Make sure to check it out.
Accents and cold calling
All right. The next question that’s excellent, Richard, is does voice accent play a role in cold call? Again, can you guys guess what I’m going to say? It depends. It depends. It depends on two things. Who is your target customer? Who are you selling to and what’s their response to somebody that has an accent and is clearly a foreigner? And it depends on what kind of an accent you have. I know this sucks but it’s reality.
There are certain accents for certain eras and cultures that are perceived as sexy and sophisticated or at least OK and there are certain accents that people will equate with not such good things, like “Oh, you are probably an outsourced person. You’re probably somewhere in a very cheap area in the world calling”, that they’ll think some bad things about you.
So, is having an accent for cold calls bad or good? It depends on the market you call. If you call into a very traditional and conservative audience, it might be bad. If you’re calling to startups, it typically doesn’t fucking matter. And then, again, what kind of an accent do you have? Can people not understand you or do you just have like a nice little charming French accent? I mean no matter how you stand with the French, you like them or not, in most cultures, a French accent is perceived to be sexy. Don’t ask me why but it is the way it is. So if you have a slight French accent, it might be sexy. If you have a heavy French accent, I might not understand what you’re saying and that’s always a problem.
So, it depends. You should just base—if it’s working or not, if having an accent is a good thing or bad thing. Just based on the results, does this person—if you hear the person getting, or if you yourself hear a lot of people going “Uhm, what did you just say? Can you repeat this? I can’t understand.” If you get the sense that they don’t understand you or if you get the sense that they are hypercritical at you, then you might have a problem. So you just might be cognizant of it.
The "gatekeeper" isn't your enemy
So how do you get past the gatekeeper when making a cold call? You guys have such great questions. I don’t even have to go with my slides. All right. So let’s go to that question, Donna. It’s an excellent one. How do you get past the gatekeeper when you’re doing a cold call?
Well first, honestly, I don’t really like the term gatekeeper. It just dehumanizes a person. And also, they’re not like in front of a fucking gate, keeping it. It’s not like that. They are a human being and they have a job and one part of that job is usually to protect the time of their boss. So protect the time of the decision-maker, making sure that that decision-maker is deploying their time in meaningful and useful ways.
So, the number one thing that you need to do to get past the gatekeeper is not wanting to get passed them, but actually wanting to stay with them for a moment. Just ask yourself:
What are the goals that this person has? What are their incentives? What’s their day like? How many calls do they get in a day?
And just display some empathy and display some care when you call them. Just spend a moment with them. Maybe you change your cold calling script to first sell the gatekeeper [on] why it’s a good idea to connect you with the decision-maker. How about that? How about making a sales pitch that sells that person on why it’s a good idea for their career and their boss for them to let you through.
And how about building a little bit of rapport and being maybe a little charming, spending a little time with them going, “Hey, how was your day? How many calls do you get?” And if you get a sense that they are super busy, just being very dry and going, “Listen. I know that you are super busy. You have a million things on your plate and you get tons of these calls, here’s the thing. I have to offer X, Y, and Z. Here is why I think it’s going to be relevant for you. Here is what I need. I know that you typically don’t do this but let’s talk about it. Help me out here. What would it take for you to let me through and let me talk to person X, Y, and Z.” Just display some empathy and put yourself in their shoes and sell them on why they should let you through. Don’t just try to get [or] trick them into letting you through.
So, Adam, you have a really good point. So typically, I actually just let all the questions keep piling up and then we just do the question at the end. Today, I’m free styling it a little bit more. Also, I’m having a bit of a go-to training, a challenge that I haven’t told you guys about which is that I can’t scroll in the chat right now. So, that created the anxiety and the initial response for me to just go and respond to the questions immediately.
All right. So let’s rock and roll and keep on with the webinar. So the basics, you reach people, you sound good, you ask question, you manage their objections, and you go for the close. Let’s dive into another foundational fundamental thing before we go into each and every one of them and I’ll share some more tactics with you.
The 3 questions you need to ask yourself before picking up the phone
There are three simple questions that I want you guys to ask before making any cold calling. You need to understand that cold calling is a full contact sport. Cold calling is a performance art. You need to think of yourself as, like, the Beyoncé or the Michael Jordan of sales and you need to show up every day and every call is another shot you throw. And you’re going to miss a ton of shots.
And the question is, can you just fundamentally and from a mindset perspective, keep your energy level up, keep your mindset sharp and keep your focus and your clarity level really high? So to me, it’s really important to have clarity before you go into any cold call. And a powerful way to create clarity is to ask yourself some basic questions.
Before you start doing cold calls, ask yourself, why am I doing cold calls to begin with? Like why am I calling these people?
And you go with the lean production and lean startup philosophy of asking the five whys and you could go, Why am I doing cold calls today? Well, because I want to get customers. Why do I want to get customers? Because I want my business to succeed. Why do I want my business to succeed? Because I want to get a million dollars. Why do I want to get a million dollars? Because I want to help my mother and my family out and I want to have financial stability for my wife and my little baby.
Now, that’s a fucking good reason to do cold calls.
Do you see what I’m saying? And not to say that everybody needs to have like a wife or a husband, children, and things like that. Your why, your motivations, your motives for taking action are going to be different. But the important thing is that you understand why am I doing this? Because it is going to be painful. It’s going to be hard work and you’re going to need all the motivation, all the internal resourcefulness you can get when you get started.
So make sure that yourself, as well as all your sales people, that you take a moment before you jump into action and you create a level of clarity and understanding, why am I doing this? What are my higher motivational reasons? And if you have those, you’re going to be able to get a lot more resourcefulness from it and a lot more energy when you snap into action.
Know your objective
Next question you want to ask yourself is what do I want to accomplish in this very next call? So it might be that you say, “I want to reach the decision-maker and then what? Well, I want to help them. I want them to know that our product exists. So, is that the number one thing that I want to accomplish? Not really. I want them to know they exist and I also want them to experience it so they can make a decision if they want to—if it can help their business.”
All right. So that is the core goal of the cold call, how am I going to accomplish it? What’s our game plan to get to that desired result? And then you snap into the cold call and you take a little bit of time to ask some fundamental questions, create clarity and focus, create some motivation and inspiration in yourself and then you go and snap into action. Don’t just walk into the office and start cold calling while you’re still half asleep, thinking about like the last argument you had with a friend of yours. You need to have all the energy, all the focus, all the clarity you need before you do cold calls.
How to reach prospects and the ideal reach rate
Let’s go through the five steps that we talked about earlier. Let’s start what the fundamental step of reaching people. So there’s one step that’s not even on the slide which is you have to spend a lot of time on the lead generation part to get really high quality leads, high quality phone numbers, make sure that your reach rates are really high.
You need to take into consideration what time zones you are calling. What is the ideal time to reach that customer persona that I’m trying to sell to? Is it better for us to call them really early in the morning? Is it better to call them right after lunch? Is it better to call them really in the afternoon or in the evening? Depending on who you are calling, you are selling, the timezone and the day and time that’s most optimal to reach them is going to be different.
Sometimes, companies have discovered that it’s really effective to call, cold call their customers on Sunday mornings because that’s typically where those executives are going to be in the office and nobody else is there. Sometimes, they discover that it’s really great to call them really late in the afternoon, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 PM. Everybody else is gone. When the phone rings, that executive will pick up.
I don’t know what the ideal time is. If you cold call coaches, you might want to be aware of like the time they are coaching the team, or teachers when they have classes. Like you just need to be aware of time zones and ideal times, kind of “What’s the life of this person, what will be a good time for that person to pick up the phone when there is a ring, and then to give me a few minutes of their time?”
We discussed this early, that in some cases, the ideal strategy and tactic is to go right to the cold call and in some cases depending on who you are selling to, you want to send a cold email asking for an introduction to the right person first. So I’ll give you the rundown. There’s a book called Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross. Go and get it and read it if you haven’t yet. Aaron is a really good friend of mine.
And the philosophy that I’ll share—the core nugget I can share with you right now, the core philosophy is that when you sell to high level executives or when you sell to the enterprise a lot of times, larger companies, it’s very hard to make cold calling work. So instead of cold calling thousands and thousands of people to reach a few, a handful of people, what he developed was this process where he would send cold emails, but not to the person that he wanted to sell to, but like one or two executive levels higher. So he would send an email really high up the ladder and then ask that person for a referral down.
So the email would typically have a subject line that’s like, “Quick question” or “The right person to talk to” or something along those lines. And when you open that email, he would say something along the lines of, “Hey John, here is what we do in a sentence. Here is why I think it might be relevant for you guys. Can you do me the favor and point me to the right person in the organization? Who is right person for me to have a quick conversation about this?”
And a lot of times, he found success 20, 30, 40% of the times. If you write that email in the right way, you’ll get a response. And he found that high-level executives will actually be pretty open to going, “Oh, you want to do some—you have this marketing technology? Yeah, our marketing person is this guy.” And then send an introduction for that email to the right person.
And then you will get the—if you get an introduction from a high-level person down in the org, you will get the call. It doesn’t mean that the person wants to talk to you. Again, it doesn’t mean that the person is sold on you just because the CEO introduced you, but they will take the call and it might be a pretty powerful tool for you, especially if you sell to the large organizations.
All right. There’s a lot of like detailed nuance in terms of reach rates. Once you get to a point where you have a larger team, like 5 or 10 people, and you really know what you’re doing, you could do a shit ton of work on the cold calling side of things with using predictive—power dialers and predictive dialers.
So I don’t want you to worry about that too much, but once you’re like a ten people and your reach rates are at 15%, 20% when you do cold calling, if you want to squeeze another 5 or 10% productivity out of what you’re doing, maybe even 15%, you might want to look into power dialers or predictive dialers. Predictive dialers are technologies, pretty standard. What it does is it’s dialing multiple numbers at once and then it drops all the numbers that are going to voicemail and it just connects the sales rep when a connection happens.
And so let’s say there are five sales reps, the software will call 10 or 20 or 30 numbers at the same time, drop a number of calls and just give you the connection when a human being picks up. So in essence, the workflow looks like this. You, as a salesperson, go “Yes, let’s get started.” And you have somebody go, “Hello?” And you start doing your sales pitch. You have your cold call. And the moment you hang up, the next person goes, “Hello?” And it’s really beautiful and magical. It just cuts out a lot of the waste. But you need to have a ton of people to make this work and it’s like second-level optimization.
When you want to look at your reach rate, just as a rule of thumb, you’re looking for 10 to 15% on cold calling on reach rate to make cold calling works. If you’re below 15% on reach rate when you do cold calls, you have to get back to the drawing board and do something else.
When you have like 20%, 25%, 30%, you’re killing it. There’s almost nobody that does cold calls that reaches 50% or 60% of the people. But if you are, amazing! But if you’re below 10% when you’re doing cold calls, you’re fucked. You’re dead in the water. There’s nothing that you can do to make your cold calling campaign works. So you need to fix that first.
Why you already lost the prospect at hello
A lot of time, a cold call is lost at the low-level. It’s really like very first few—the very first sentence you say is where you have lost the call. You just messed it up. You don’t realize it. You might be on the phone for another 5 to 10 minutes, but you already lost at the hello.
And here is why. Here is how most cold calls sound like at the beginning. Somebody picks up the phone and they go, “Hey, this is John.” And you go [in a really rushed voice], “Hey, John. This is Pop. I’m calling from Close.io. What we offer is sales software for inside sales teams. Is this a good time to talk?”
The problem is that you spoke way too fucking fast, way too nervously. And here’s what was going on in my mind. As you were talking, like I’m picking up the phone, you need to realize that the first thing that people think when they pick up the phone and there’s a voice they don’t recognize is they’re asking themselves, “Who is this? What is this about? And is this a sales call?”
So while you’re blabbering on, you’re like “da, da, da, da”, the person is like, “Wait. Who is this? What is this about?” And you keep talking. People are not paying attention. They are not listening, so they cannot compute what you’re telling them. So all they’ll know is, “Oh God! There’s a person that speaks really fast. I don’t know what the fact they are trying to sell me. This is probably a sales call. I want to get off this call.”
This is where most cold calls are lost. So you want to train for that. You want to make sure that when you cold call somebody, you speak slowly, with high energy though. You don’t call me as if you’re like depressed. I don’t want to talk to a depressed person. You call me and you go, “Hey, this is Steli. John, the reason why I’m calling you today in a simple sentence is—what we do in a sentence is—we offer sales teams a powerful set of inside sales tools. Is this a bad time to have a quick chat?”
Now again, this doesn’t mean that he wants to talk to me. But I spoke slowly with high energy. I gave the different sections of my introduction space so they can breathe. I say, “Hey, my name is Steli Efti.” Give it a little bit of pause so they can go, “Oh, I don’t know this person.” “You don’t know me but the reason I am calling is because what we do in a sentence is X, Y, and Z.” Now, the person is, “Oh, they’re doing X, Y, Z. I don’t want this.” And then I go, “Is this a bad time or does this, in general, sound interesting to you?”
I space it out. So I allow the person to give me a little bit of attention. I use up that attention. I’m going to give them another space, a breathing ground to give me another little bit of attention and step-by-step, we’re building rapport and we’re actually able to make this work.
But if the first sentence that you speak is too fast, too nervous, and I don’t hear what you are saying, all I can say is no. And I don’t know like literally at the end of the cold call, the end of the first two or three sentences, I still don’t know what the hell you are doing. I can’t recite anything you said.
So make sure to make your hello strong. Come out swinging.
Speak clearly. Speak loudly with energy. Speak slowly and give your different sections of your introductory cold calls space so the person can catch up with you.
Sounding good. The way you sound would create an image, an impression. We as human beings, the way our brain works is that we need to create an image. We are very visual, even if we don’t realize that. We need to create an image to be able to compute what’s going on. So if you realize that while you’re talking to people, they will have to create an image of who you are in order to be able to determine how they feel about you.
If you sound like you’re super low energy, if you sound like you’re nervous, they’re going to imagine somebody nervous, somebody junior, somebody that’s depressed, and that will influence the way they feel about this call and you and wanting to talk to you.
If you sound like you’re an authority, if you sound like you have energy, you’re smart, you’re enthusiastic, you know what you’re talking about, if you sound like you’re smiling and enjoying yourself, it’s going to create a different image. It’s going to create a different impression on who you are. And that image is going to make a dramatic difference in the influence.
It sucks. And I know that people don’t like that especially rational people. But tonality is really 70% and what you’re saying is really just 30%. You don’t realize, if you sound amazing, if you have an amazing energy on the phone, it’s going to make a much bigger difference than if you say amazing things.
If I call you right now, if somebody cold calls you right now, somebody you don’t know, the first that they tell you is, “Hey, congratulation Kevin. You won a million dollars!” What do you think? Do you think, “Oh amazing! I won a million dollars?” Do you drop the phone and go high-five to everybody at the office? No! You think this is a scam and you hang up.
Well, the content of what they said, wasn’t that amazing? What is a better content than “You won a million-freaking-dollars”? Nothing. The problem is that the content is not the problem. The problem is I don’t trust you. The problem is that I don’t believe you. The problem is that you sounded like you’re lying. That’s the problem.
So you need to make sure that you train yourself and your team to sound smart, enthusiastic, and like an authority. How do you do that? You want to have—you want to speak clearly. You want to speak loudly. You want to smile.
Smiling is an old sales hack. Put a little—buy a little mirror and put it right next to you when you do sales calls. Use a Sharpie to put a smiley and remind yourself to smile. If you smile, it comes through in the energy and the way you talk. And you want to speak with enthusiasm because if you’re not enthusiastic about talking to me, why should I care about talking to you?
How to stay motivated
To do that, to have great energy, great tonality and sound great, you need to be able to control your state. So, find out what helps you to control your own state. For some people, it’s music and listening to a certain kind of music. For other people, it’s listening to watching a motivational speaker video. For some people, it’s looking at a picture of their family, of their last vacation, or the car they want to buy. Whatever it is that motivates you, whatever it is that puts you in the right state, you need to utilize that every single day when you’re doing cold calls.
If you go to salesmotivation.close.io, you can subscribe and get a daily morning video from me, a 1-minute video that shares a motivational quote and an action item to help you crush your day. Thousands of people on that list and they enjoy [it]. Whatever it is that helps you be motivated and control your state, use that every day to make sure that you sound good and you’re in a great state when you do these cold calls. It really, really fundamentally will make a massive difference.
Why selling is easy
So, now that we reached people, we sound good, we need to ask question. We need to qualify people. And really, we need to learn as salespeople to listen more than we speak, to ask the right questions. And to go about selling and the approach of saying, “Well first, let me figure out. Can I truly help them? Are we the right company to serve this business or this customer? And if we can help them, can they help us?”
And only when the answer to these questions is yes, then I’m going to try to sell. But the beauty is if you know enough about your prospects, selling is easy. If you know and care deeply about them, selling is easy.
And also, if you paid attention and you truly cared and you asked the right question, when you tell them that they are the right fit, when you tell them you think you can help them, they will believe you.
Think about it. Did you ever have somebody on the phone that was like asking you questions but you could tell that they’re just running through a list of questions. They don’t even fucking care what the answer is. They just want to get to the next question.
Whatever the hell you are saying, they just, “Yeah, yeah, oh great!”
They ask you, “Hey, let me ask you John. How many people do you guys have at your business?”
“Oh, we’re about eight people.”
“Oh, great! And then let me ask you, are you using other software right?”
“Yeah, we’re using this.”
“Oh, great, great. And then can you ask—John, can I ask you last question? What’s your budget right now for this?”
“Well, it’s about…”
“All right. Great. Great. I think that we’re the perfect software for you.”
What the fuck, right? Do you believe that person? No! That person didn’t pay attention. He said just great, great to everything you said. But what about that person that actually listens? That goes, “Oh, so you’re 8 to 10 people. Interesting. Tell me. Are you guys understaffed? Are you happy with it? How many people were you last year? How many people are you going to be a year from now? Interesting. Listen John, the reason why I asked about the size is because honestly, if you are like thousands of employees, we would not be able to help you. Most of our customers are about 5 to 15 people. So you are hitting that sweet spot. That’s great to hear. All right. So let me ask you the next question, John. What software do you guys use right now and why? How did you get to that software?”
If you pay attention, if you listen, if you take the time, if a person gets the feeling that you truly care, at the end of the conversation when you go, “You know what John? I think we’re a perfect fit. I think that we can truly help you.” How likely is it that they’re going to believe you? A lot more. So learn to ask questions and truly care about the answers, please. Pay attention to really qualify people before you’re trying to sell them anything and see if there are some red flags or some things that will point out that it’s not going to be a good thing.
And then try to figure out on the cold call:
Is this the decision-maker? Who is the decision-maker? What’s the budget? What’s the timing? What’s the competition? Who is this? What is this company all about?
Try to learn more than you teach. It needs to be given a go and there needs to be balanced. You can’t just ask a million questions and not tell them anything. But you want to make sure that you learn more than you try to teach because at this point, you don’t know what to sell and teach them if you don’t know who they are.
The best way to manage objections
The next thing you need to do is you need to learn to manage objections. This is simplest thing to prepare and something that everybody is missing out on. Like there’s going to be top five—there’s going to be a top whatever it is, 10, 20 questions people have when you do cold calls. There’s going to be a bunch of objection that they have. “I don’t have time. We don’t care about this. We already have software. This is too expensive for us.“ Whatever it is, take a moment to write an FAQ and objection management document. You write down the top 10, top 20, whatever it is questions that people ask or objections that people have when you do cold calls. And then write down a succinct answer in one or two sentences. That’s it.
And then you don’t have to—you want to learn these answers but it doesn’t have to be word by word. You don’t have to be a robot and be, like, reading off a script. But you want to be able to respond to an objection in a clear and concise format. You don’t want to compute your answer in real time every single time because it’s going to make you ramble. It’s going to make you go, “Ahh, yeah, it’s a good question. But you know…” and by that time, they’ve hung up already on you.
You’re going to be able to go when they say, “I don’t have time”, go, “Good! I only want to talk to people that are busy. And more of my customers didn’t have time. Most of my customers that I have right now told me the exact same thing as you. Listen, I don’t want to waste your time. I need another two minutes. We already talked for a minute. Let’s spend another two minutes together to make this worthwhile and make sure that we’re making the right decision either way. Yes or no? Let me ask you. What are you guys doing right now for software?”
That’s it. Like a lot of times when you manage an objection, the way that you respond is more important, again, than what you’re saying. I was proving this to people. We were doing cold calls back in the day. This is ten years ago. We had a cold calling trip and we would call professionals and it was like a product that would help them save $5,000 in five years. And the cold call, just to prove my team that it didn’t fucking matter what you said. It mattered a lot more how you delivered it, I would actually call people and go, “We can help you save $5 in 5,000 years. The next thing that we need to know, John, is ….”
I would tell people we would save them $5 in 5,000 years and they stayed on the line with me and they answered all my questions. They laughed and they cried. And I closed them. And my team was like amazed by that. It’s not that I’m that amazing. It’s that if you know that the way you deliver something is more important that you what you deliver, even if it sucks.
And I’m not saying call people and tell them bullshit but realize that how you sound is more important than what you say. When somebody brings up an objection, it means that they are afraid of making a mistake and it’s a trade of confidence. What you need to do is—they are lacking the confidence in what you’re saying, they are afraid, they are hesitant. So they’re not that confident and you need to make them confident. You need trade your confidence for their confidence. So how you respond is much more important than what you say. Trust me. You need to be really good at that.
And having an objection management document, thinking about what other things people tell us again and again and again on the phone and what’s a good way to respond to that, is a very powerful way to prepare to be able to answer something in two or three sentences without rambling and still sounding confident.
If somebody has an objection all the time, make sure to address the elephant in the room. It’s the simplest thing in the world. If you know that everybody you’re cold calling gets a million cold calls a day, don’t just try to ignore that fact. How about embracing that fact? How about calling those people and going, “Listen John, let me guess. This is cold call number 500 today. It must suck to do your job. You’re interrupted all day long with people that are cold calling you. I know it. And let me tell you why I still called you. I know that you don’t want to talk to me. I know it sucks that you’re getting so many calls and I still decided it’s a good idea to cold call you. Let me tell you why.”
Do you think they are curious at this point? Do you think that they’re going to want to go, “Well, I’ll give this guy another 20 seconds because now I’m curious to hear why.” Why? Because I seem like I know who they are. I seem like I’m not an idiot. I seem like I know they don’t want to talk to me. I’m aware of that fact and I called because I have a pretty strong reason to do it, despite knowing that. That’s a pretty powerful way to start a conversation.
Whatever it is, if they you know that all of them already have a solution in place, don’t avoid that fact. Don’t try to pitch them on your solution, then like ten minutes into the conversation they go, “Well, but we already bought this other solution from a competitor of yours.” And you go, “Oh my God! Another prospect that already has ….” Like, don’t be stupid. If you know anyone you’re cold calling already thinks they have this problem solved, then make it part of your pitch.
Address the elephant in the room.
Go, “Hey, I know that you probably already bought a piece of software. What’s your solution?”
“Well yeah, we bought already blah.”
“Cool! Most of my customers said the exact same thing at this exact same time. Here is why I still call you. Because what you might not be aware of and I want to just give you the fact is that…”
Whatever it is, address the elephant in the room.
"Send me more information" hack
Here’s a little hack that I want to share with you guys, which is the “send me more information” hack. A lot of times on cold calls, if you get past the hello and if you are empowered to ask some questions, if you spend a little bit of time with them on the phone, if they at some point decide that they realized they don’t want to be influenced by you, they want to keep their guard up again, they’ll ask you for more information. They go, “Can you send me more information in email?”
This most of the time doesn’t mean they want more information. This most of the time means “I want to get off the phone”. Here is a hack on how to utilize it and empower this. When somebody tells me, “Hey, can you send me more information on this?” I always say, “Yes. Yes, absolutely. What’s your email address?”
Here is what happens next. They put down their guard. They relax a little bit. They go, “All right, good. This call will not go on forever. This guy just took the—he will send me more information. Cool.” So the person starts giving me their email.
Hey, even if I have their email, I’ll ask for their email, “Oh cool! What’s your email?”
“Well, my email is Steli@Close.io.”
“Can you spell that for me?”
“Yes.” They gave me their email address.
And then I go, “Just to make sure that I send you the right information…” and now, I keep asking them the question that I would have asked them if they didn’t ask me for more information. It’s as simple as that.
Six out of ten times, the conversation will keep going on if you ask good questions. You have good energy. And they will talk for you for another 10, 20, 30 minutes and you’ll have the entire cold call with them just by making that little trick by utilizing, Jiu-Jitsu-ing their ass, by utilizing their energy and getting their guard down a little bit, getting them to relax really and go, “Can you send me more information?”
“Sure. What’s your email? How do you spell it? Let me ask, just to send you the right information, how many people are you right now at the company? What kind of software do you use? What’s your budget?” And you keep going on.
Six out of ten times, they just keep giving you information. Some of them will give you a little bit more information and go, “No, really, can you please send me the info?” You go, “Yes, sorry. I wouldn’t do my job if I didn’t ask for a few more questions just to make sure that you’re going to read the email.” And some people will block you off from the get-go when you go, “Oh yes, sure. Just to make sure that I send you the right information, how many people are you guys?” And the person might respond, “No! I told you give me more information. I don’t want to answer any more of your questions.”
For that person, you have to push back. All you go is you go, “Listen, I totally understand that. But I don’t want to waste your fucking time. If I send you an email that’s generic right now, what are the chances you’re going to read it? You’re not going to read it. I’m just going to pollute your email. I’m going to waste 5 minutes writing you an email that you are going to waste deleting or archiving, then I’m going to have to follow up with you with another email that you’re going to delete or archive. Then, I’m going to call you again. We’re going to have another 3-minute conversation. Let’s just stop wasting each other’s time. If I send you something, I want it to be valuable and I want it to be worthy of you to read it. That’s why I have these questions.”
Once in awhile, even in a cold call, when somebody pushes, you need to push back. You want to be friendly. Don’t be an asshole. But you want to be strong.
Virtual closing technique
All right. So there is a virtual closing technique and I have written about this. I’m going to send all of you guys the link to this blog post. There is a video of me talking about this in detail but I’m going to run through this really quickly because we had so many amazing questions at the beginning that I want to get through the material here.
The virtual closing technique is very simple. Once you’ve qualified somebody and you’re sure that they’re the right fit, you ask them, “What would it take for you to become a customer of ours?” It’s the most powerful question ever. “Hey, now that we know that this is a great fit, what would it take for you to become a customer of ours? What would it take for you to become a customer?”
And then, what you do is whatever they answer you, you go through follow-up questions until you arrive at a virtual time in the future where they buy.
If they go, “Well, I have to talk to my colleagues ….”
“Cool. What happens next?”
“Well next, we would have another call with you.”
“Great. Let’s say that call goes well, what happens typically next?”
“Well next, we would have you go through our advisory board?”
“Interesting. Tell me more about that. And then, when I go through your advisory board, are we in business?”
“No, no, no. You have to go through our legal, and then procurement.”
“Cool! Are we in business now?”
Now, what you’ve done is you create a virtual roadmap of what will it take to sell them and that gives you all the information you need to build your pipeline, the deal size, the time to close, the confidence, the stakeholders that are going to be involved. It’s magical. Make sure to use the virtual closing technique once you’ve realized that they are a great fit.
Why you should use a sales script
All right. A word or two about sales scripts, use them even if you don’t like it. Just use them. It’s just good design thinking. What you want to do is, you don’t want to have sales scripts where everybody is a robot and just recites the script, word by word. But what you want to do is, you want to be conscious and have thought through the entire conversation, the journey the customer takes in that cold call with you from not knowing who you are to knowing who you are but being reserved and not trusting you, giving you a little bit of trust to now thinking they want to take the next step.
You want to design those different stages. You want to write it down. And you need to want—you need to think about your sales script as a piece [or] product that will have multiple versions. There’s no perfect sales script. So every sales script we have has a version. You always start with version one and you always make it simple. Version one, you give yourself 30 minutes to write. I don’t care what you sell, just write one version.
No matter how bad it is, it’s going to be the worst cold calling script you’ve ever written. Just get it out of your system. Write version one in 30 minutes and then what you do is every week, you revise that script. You look at the script after you’ve done hundreds of cold calls and you go, “What’s bad about this script? What doesn’t work? Oh, I’ve tried this new thing once and it was really good.”
You keep working on the script, making it better and better and better. It’s going to empower you to be really good and really professional. It’s going to empower you to train and onboard new people and skill. It’s going to empower you, even on bad days, to do a good job.
Some days, you’re going to just be flying. You’re going to be Michael Jordan in his best game. You’re just going to be better than the sales script, and that’s fine. Just rock it. But some days, you’re going to feel like shit and you’re not going to be in good mode. In those days, you’re not going to be shit on the phone. You’re still going to be professional because you have a sales script to work with.
I’m going to run you very quickly through this. And here’s the cold calling script that we used when we started Elastic Sales. We had the idea for Elastic Sales, outsource sales development on demand for startups on a Tuesday. On a Wednesday, I started cold calling B2B startups with a fake name, no website, no logo, no reference, no trust, no nothing. And we said, “We’re going to do cold calls for two weeks to see if the idea is worth building, if the idea that we had for this company is worthwhile. We’re going to just cold call our customers and let the customers or prospects educate us.
So here is what I was doing. On the very first day, this is the script. And just to give you an idea, our goal was in 14 days to get one customer as a validation that there is something there, and we got seven, seven customers in 14 days from cold—like from an idea on Tuesday, two weeks later, having seven customers cold calling them with a fake name, no website, no logo, no nothing. I would call up people and I would say, “Hey, my name is Steve. I’m calling startups in the area to find out if they might be a good fit for a beta program that we’re running. What we do in a sentence is we provide companies with a sales team on demand. Does that, in general, sound interesting to you?”
That was a powerful beginning. The first sentence was powerful because it would say, “Hey, my name is Steve Eli. I’m calling some startups in the area.” This is suggesting that I’m local as well. People like to buy from other people that are close in proximity. “I’m calling some startups in the area to find out if they might be a good fit for a beta program that we’re running.”
Here is what I’m answering: who am I and why am I calling you? And I’m using some startup lingo. I’m calling to find out if you’re a good fit for our beta program. I’m not saying, “I’m calling to sell you something.” I’m calling you to find out if you’re a good fit for our beta program. If you’re a startup and we only call startups, you know what a beta program is, you had one yourself. So at this point you go, “All right. So this is another startup in the area. They’re doing a beta program.” Yeah, but what is it about?
So now, I answer that. I go, “What we do in a sentence…” and this is important because I highlight by saying, “What we do in a sentence is ….” I’m telling you, “Dude, relax. This is only going to take a sentence.” I don’t want to start saying, “What we do is we blah, blah, blah” because the person think, “Oh my God! How long is this going to take? Is this going to be a cold call that takes forever?”
I don’t want to address that and go, “What we do in a sentence…” I say, “What I suggest is relax. This is only going to take a sentence. We provide companies with a sales team on demand.” Just one sentence. Don’t explain everything you do. And I will ask, “Does it in general sound interesting to you?”
At this point, it didn’t matter what they said. When said, “No.” I went, “Oh, interesting. Tell me more about your current sales process. When they said, “Maybe it’s interesting for me.” I would go, “Oh, great. What’s your current sales process like?” And when they said, “Yes, it’s absolutely interesting for me” I would say, “Great! What’s your current sales process like?”
It didn’t matter what they said at that point. Not that I didn’t care at all. But I didn’t care at this point because I knew they and I don’t know enough to make that judgment call just right now. But I knew I needed them to get it out of their system, so if they thought, “No, this is not for me” I didn’t want them to think it while I ask questions. I wanted to be able to get it out of their system, verbalize it, and tell me, “No, no, no. I don’t think this is for me.” And I go, “Oh, interesting. What’s your current sales process like?” “Well, we don’t do cold—”, whatever it is they say.
And then, I ask my qualifying question. I went through a bunch of questions and then, I went for the close. I test close. I basically tell them, “Listen. We’re doing a beta program. It starts in four weeks. Does that timeline work for you? It can be heavily discounted. It’s just going to cost you a thousand dollars a day. Is that in your budget? And then, we’re only going to be able to give you one salesperson. Will that work? OK. Let’s talk about the decision-making process in your company. Who needs to be involved? What other next steps that we would have to take to make this happen?” So, I would run through a potential [close], like what will it take to make this happen, to see if they are for real.
All right. So a quick question in the audience. How would you phrase an opening line if you do actually have a product or service? We sell videos and not a beta program. I mean you might do the exact same thing. You might just go and say, “Hey, my name is Steve. I’m calling…(whoever you are calling). I’m calling local restaurants—I’m calling restaurants in Palo Alto right now to figure out if they might be a good fit for a service that we are doing. What we do in a sentence is we offer restaurants a video service that does X, Y, Z. Does that in general sound interesting to you?” That might work. You might want to do something completely different depending on who you are selling to.
The cold calling benchmarks that matter
All right. So a few words on benchmarks and then, we’re going to be wrapping up. So, here are the core benchmarks that you care about when you’re doing cold calling.
You care about the number of dials you make: how many people did we dial today? You care about how many people you reached, as we said. You care about how many people that you reach were fully qualified And you care about how many qualified [people] we converted.
Closed here can mean any conversion, right? It could be we closed them to jump on a demo. We closed them to download a whitepaper. We closed them to do a trial, whatever it is.
You want to track the top of the funnel all the way down the funnel. How many dials did we make? How many people did we reach? How many people were qualified prospects? How many people we closed?
If you track these numbers, if your results are not good, you will always know why. You will know, are we not dialing enough? You will know, well, we are dialing a shit ton. We’re dialing 5,000 people a day but we’re only reaching 2. That’s our problem. It’s not the closing that’s our problem. It’s that we are not reaching anyone.
How do we fix that? If we are reaching a good amount, as we said, 15% at the minimum, but out of the people that we reached, only 10% are qualified, then we know that our leads are shit. Because if I spent all this time reaching people, the people that I reached, I should be able to qualify at a really high rate.
I would venture to say, you want to have a qualified rate that’s 25 to 50%. Out of the people that talked to you, you want to qualify a really high percentage. That means that you have a really good quality of leads. And you want to keep working on that to make the qualify rate as high as possible.
If I cold call you and if I have you on the phone and we talk, isn’t it a waste if you could have never bought and you were an absolute wrong business for me to call to begin with? That makes no sense. So make sure that you have a high qualify rate. And then out of the people that are qualified, I want to have a really fucking high closing rate.
So if you are qualified and you talk to me, I want to close half of them, if not more. I don’t want to have somebody that spent 5 to 10 minutes with me, they are fully qualified. We had a real conversation and then I only get 10% of them to take the action I want them. Then, my pitch sucks. So depending on what the numbers are, you know what sucks and what the problem is in your business and you focus on fixing that. But the highest leverage will always have—the highest point of the funnel will always have the highest impact in the end results.
You want to track the minutes on the phone. And the beauty is that Close.io tracks all of this automatically without you having to do anything. How many minutes am I really on the phone? And this is more of, like, making sure that you really have calling time. You’re not just dialing tons of people, but you actually are on the phone with people.
Just to give you guys some guidance, if you’re doing outbound cold calling, you definitely want to be at least in the hundred if you do really high quality. In some businesses, many businesses, they’re doing 200 to 400 dials a day. I know that’s a lot. But if you’re doing like 40, 50 cold calls, you’re dead in the water. You’re not throwing enough balls to make greatness happen in this game. You need to throw a lot of balls.
So depending on the quality of your dials and the number of reaches that you have, that number will go down. If every single person you call, you reach and you have really long conversations, of course, you can’t have 400 really long conversations in a day. But if you reach only 10%, you better dial 150, 200 at a minimum.
Just to give you guys some guidance on what it takes to make cold calling really work. As I mentioned already, Close.io was built around making millions of cold calls. Our phone integration is pretty powerful. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do it. If you have and you are a customer, let me know. I’ll give you some goodies. And if you have and you didn’t like it or you have some feedback, Steli@Close.io. Please let me know. Please start a communication channel. Anything I can learn from you guys, I highly appreciate.
The fastest way to master cold calling
The last slide of the presentation. If you want to become a master in cold calling, you want to start recording yourself. You want to—self-study is the fastest way to mastery. It’is the one thing people hate to do. They hate to record themselves. And then even if they record themselves even more so, they hate to listen to themselves. That’s why it’s so powerful.
No seminar, no webinar, no book, nothing will teach you as much about cold calling than listening to your own calls. Close.io offers that. You can make cold calls, record these cold calls, and you can listen to them. What was my energy like? How did I respond to this?
You can self-study. Every day, pick a good and a bad call and dissect it. What was good? What was about it? Every week, take your best and worst call and send it to somebody you respect, somebody in your team and go ask them for feedback.
The next day go, “All right. Yesterday on my worst call, I made this mistake. I’m not going to make—today, I’m going to focus on improving on that one particular thing.” Keep listening to yourself, recording yourself. And you know what? You can record your voice which is great. But even a level above you who you are really beast on some black belt shit, put up a camera and record yourself on the cold calls visually as well.
Look at you while you talk, your body language, your hand movements, your eyes, your face. Look at how your body reacts. Learn from that shit. It’s going to tell you everything you need to know and everything you need to work on. Self-study, there’s no shortcuts in greatness. If you want to be great at cold calls, you have to put in the work. And one great way to become amazing is to start recording yourself, watching yourself, studying yourself while you’re doing what you’re doing.
Free Startup Sales Course
All right. If you’re not on the 30-day Startup Sales Course, make sure to get on it, Close.io/free-sales-course. It’s a 30-day course where you get a bunch of emails with some amazing content from me. If you haven’t gotten the book, I’m saying here 50% discount code, awesome sauce to get the Ultimate Startup Guide to Outbound Sales. There are a lot of cold calling techniques in there. You know what? Fuck it. If you send me an email, Steli@Close.io, you’ll get the book for free. Just send me an email, you will get the book for free.
And that’s about it. I’m going to spend—for anyone that wants, I’m going to give you an extra 10 minutes. I know we run a little late today. I’m going to be answering some of your questions. For people that have to run, don’t worry. The entire session is recorded so I’m going to send you the recording. You are going to be able to listen to any and every question that you have.
Zee was saying, “Hack it with a mirror in front of yourself.” Yes. Have a mirror in front of yourself. Put a camera up. Record as much as possible. If you’re really into self-study, it’s going to feel little weird but again, if you’re in it for greatness, if you really want to improve the fastest and most powerful way possible, study yourself. And mirror is a powerful feedback device. Absolutely.
All right. John has a question. Steli, do you have any tips on how to manage the handover from an outbound prospector, who is making the cold call, to a sales rep who will actually go on site to meet with a customer and close the deal?
It’s an excellent question, John. Yeah. I mean what you need to really—what you need to do is if you have like prospectors that are calling to set an appointment, you want to make sure that not just they qualify that prospect very well but they sell the hell out of that appointment. They sell the hell of the sales rep that’s going to show up. Sell me on that person. Sell me on why, you know what? I think this is an amazing—there are studies about this. I don’t—I can’t recite them but I’m guaranteeing you, there are tons of tons of studies that I looked at, amazing results. Sell the salesperson.
“Hey, now that we figured out that this is a good fit, I want to set up an appointment to have John Jacobs show up and do an in-person presentation with you. And let me tell you, I have the privilege—we have hundreds of sales reps, John Jacobs is our number one account manager, has been for the past three years. He’s the most senior person we have here. He is magic. His customers—like his desk is constantly full of gifts because his customers love him. Now, John is fully booked out for the next three months. But just this morning, there was an opening. So it’s your lucky day. I can give you that one opening. But I need a promise from you that you’re going to make that appointment good. I don’t want to give that—if you’re not that certain, I can give you another really good rep but if you want John…”
And this is even overdoing it because I’m freestyling it, but you want to sell the appointment, why is this appointment could be really valuable, why is John really amazing so that people know why they should care. And then you want to make sure that you send them a calendar invite. You want to make sure that if you schedule things in weeks in advance that you check in multiple times. You call them again a week before to resell them on the appointment. If you set appointments, two or three days is really short. Still, send a calendar invite. Send them a text or call them and reconfirm. Make sure that they are top of mind and resold them on why the sales rep should show up. And really, sell the sales rep as this great expert that they are so that the person appreciates them.
Great question on how to sell the appointment, on how to make the handover work.
Yeah. So Zee has a good comment as a response that there are apps out there.
Yes. OK. So the question is like what kind of tool to record yourself? So, Close.io is recording yourself as well as others. You know what? I mean just be practical. This is my number one tip. If you use a Windows or a Mac, there’s a recording device. Just record yourself. You want to record yourself and others. You could use VoIP tools typically. They are good to be able to record. If you do a quick Google search, I’m sure that you’re going to find other things.
But if you don’t have the other side, you can just record yourself, the way you respond to things, your energy levels, you remember what they said most of the time. It’s good enough to get started. Be really out. Be practical. Just start recording yourself today! That’s going to make the biggest difference. Even if for the next two weeks all you do is consistently just using your phone, your smartphone to record yourself and it’s really shitty quality and it’s only yourself and it doesn’t record what the other person says, if you do that every day for the next two weeks and you listen to these calls and you analyze yourself, you’re going to improve. So don’t spend too much on the tools or the setup, “Oh, I’m going to research what is the best tool.” And then another week has passed, then you forgot about it and you never did it. Just be practical about this stuff.
So Kevin asked if people can share an inbound phone number on Close.io. Yes, you can have ring groups. You can do conference ring and you can share numbers on Close.io. Just shoot us an email at Support@Close.io and we’ll tell you all about it.
All right. Adam has the next question. “I read a blog of yours where you suggested refusing to send someone more information if they asked because it wasted everyone’s time. Do you suggest that to ask question and get more information before doing, sending the info? What’s the best approach?”
It depends. I mean if you remember, what I said if somebody says, “Hey, can you send some information?” really early in the conversation, I don’t know what to sell them on so I’m going to go, “Oh sure. Just give me your email address. Cool. Now, just to send you the right info, how many people work there? And how do you guys do this?” I’ll just continue with the conversation.
If the person gives me a push and he goes, “No! I’m not going to answer any questions. Just send me the email.” I will never say yes to that. I will never just send a bullshit email. I will go, “No! I can’t send you email because it’s going to waste yours and my time.” Like that’s when I do that.
If I’ve asked already all my questions and I had a really good conversation, then at the end they say, “Hey, can you just summarize all these and send it to me?” I will go, “Yes, but how can we make sure that it’s not going to be a waste of email? What’s the really next step?” “Well, just send the info. I’ll think about the next step.” I’ll say, “No. I know that you have good intentions. I don’t want to send you an email that you’re going to forget about. It’s going to get lost in the inbox then I’ll have to send you multiple follow-up emails then I’ll have to call you again and we’ll be at the exact same place seven days from now. Let’s think this through together.”
So I’ll push back at the right moment. But it depends. If I just told you, “Hey Adam, my name is Steli. I’m calling from Close.io. And what we do is we offer powerful inbound sales software. Does that sound, in general, interesting?” And you go, “Yeah, I don’t know. Send me an email with more info.” I’m not going to push back because at this point, I have zero credibility. I have nothing to push back on. I’m just going to go, “Oh sure! No problem. What’s the best email to send you that email to, Adam?”
But then, what I’m doing is I’m going to continue my call and ask you all the questions I wanted to ask you anyways. I hope that that answered that question. It’s an excellent follow-up question, Adam.
All right. Alexander asked, “How can I help my employees who overcome a fear of cold calls?” So, that’s an excellent question. There’s a blog post that I have about how to overcome the fear of rejection. I can get you that blog post. I’ll send you that blog post later on, Alexander. But if you go to Google and you search fear of rejection Blog.Close.io, you’ll find that as well.
So, here are a number of things that you can do. Number one is you have to go first. Somebody needs to demonstrate to these people why they should not be afraid. Somebody needs to show them what fearlessness looks like. And somebody and more importantly, it needs to demonstrate them how to respond once you got a kick in the face. When you have a good cold call, that’s always easy but when you’re on a cold call and somebody shouts at you and hangs up, now you can demonstrate to a voice how to deal with it. You go, “Wow!” It’s always sucks for a split second when somebody hangs up. It’s part of the business.
The most important thing to do next is pick up the fucking phone and call the next one with more enthusiasm and more energy. You pick up the phone and you call and you take it like a woman or a man and you display how to deal with that rejection and it’s going to teach them that it’s not that bad.
The other thing that you need to do is once we had severe case of somebody that was really afraid of—like somebody that was fearless in every other area in their life and really bad on the cold calls. So what I did was I forced them to fail. This is an advance hack so you need to have your shit together if you want to coach somebody to do this. But what I made this person do is I told them, “The next ten cold calls, I want you to stutter. So they had to cold call and go, “My name is Steve from…” It’s stutter until the other person hang up, and that’s so painful.
And then they had to make another ten calls where they talk so fast that the person couldn’t hear it. And have them hung up. And that feels so awkward, so weird. And then after they did 20 horrible calls and he had them feel it every single one of them. I went. “Go get them now and do an awesome job.” And they just magically—now that they failed 20 times and they failed in the most horrible way, they were fearless. And the next call, they crushed it.
So sometimes you have to face those fears to be able to overcome them and you have to push your people to really suck at it and to then see how great it feels when you can do a good job at it and to realize that it doesn’t fucking matter. It doesn’t really matter.
Kevin, this is going to be the last question that I’m going to answer live in the webinar. If you have more questions because I have to run to a meeting, if you have more questions, just shoot me an email, Steli@Close.io. I’ll answer any and every question I get. I promise it to you. I’m on your side and try to make you guys crush it.
All right. So Kevin asked, using a CRM and probably Close.io—do we still need our CRM as we use it? So the question is, does it make sense to use in some cases Close.io and probably another CRM. It might. Send me an email. Let me know a little bit more and I’ll put in touch with an awesome guy here on the team.
We have some customers that use [another] CRM and use Close.io for all their outbound campaigns. Most of our customers choose Close.io as their singular CRM. But we have all kinds of use cases. So it depends on what you do, if it’s a good fit or not. Send us an email. Describe your case and we’ll honestly tell you if we think it’s a good idea or not.
All right guys. Thank you so much for the amazing questions. This was kickass awesome. I want you go out there and crush today. And I’m looking forward to the next webinar and I’m looking forward to the next webinar. I am looking forward to getting those emails from you in my inbox. Guys, have an amazing day. Take care.
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