June 2019
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The Leading Edge - Taking Care of Business
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Embrace the Cold

 

Embrace the Cold

Almost everyone hates, or maybe it's fairer to say dislikes cold calling even though it's recognized as a necessary strategy to increase business. But what if you could discover a way to change cold calling to warm calling? The wonderful thing about cold calling is that, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, "Cold calling is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Sure, you may get rejected but you might also land the biggest deal of your life.

There's no doubt, cold calling, or outbound marketing, is still a valid sales technique. The two main challenges are: people don't like to do it, and when they do the success ratio is low. The question is why?

Why do people fear cold calling?

A fear of rejection accompanied by a feeling of embarrassment that they will come across as a pushy salesperson is the main reason. When we think of cold calling we think of annoying, sometimes sleazy, tele sales people calling us at dinnertime. Our immediate gut reaction is to expect them to be unprofessional, pushy, scripted - our first emotion is one of dislike. And, we don't want that to be us, do we?

Rejection - it's all in the numbers

Salespeople are generally optimists, but there is a difference between being optimistic and delusional when it comes to recognizing how difficult it is to get someone to buy what you are selling. Rejection is an integral part of selling - there is no way even the best salesperson could expect to call fifty prospects and sell to every one of them (interestingly, the average sales development rep makes 52 calls per day). The majority, in one way or another, will end in rejection. It's all a numbers game.

What's the biggest myth of cold calling?

That your objective is to get a sale; it may be your long-term goal, but it's not your objective. If you see the objective of a cold call as starting to build a relationship with a prospect, rather than making a sale, you will feel a lot less pressure.

Cold calling and gatekeepers

When making a cold call, it's not always clear if the person you are talking to is in fact the buyer, or decision maker, they may be a 'gatekeeper' someone who 'guards' the person you need to connect with. In this case your immediate objective is to discover who has the power to buy. Second, you need to sell yourself to the gatekeeper so that they become your supporter, even your coach, someone who can tell you who's the right person to talk to and how to reach them. Rather than try to get around the gatekeeper, recruit them. Never underestimate the power of these people, they often have the power to recommend a buyer meet with you.

When is a cold call not a cold call?

When you've warmed it up! The biggest challenge with a cold call is simply you are approaching a stranger and expecting them, at some point, to give you money. Remember, cold calling doesn't have to be random calling; when you are building your prospect list don't forget to ask everyone you know for referrals, there's nothing more powerful than being able to say, "Jen suggested I call you, she thought you might be interested in …" And, don't forget the six degrees of separation; LinkedIn is an amazing resource for finding someone in your wider network who knows the person you are cold calling and could make a referral.

How important are first impressions in cold calling?

In spite of the earlier comment about tele-sales people being annoying, occasionally you come across one that you actually warm to - something they say, or a certain warmth in their voice stops you from immediately putting the phone down. These people aren't rigidly following a script, or maybe they really believe in the product or service they are selling—whatever, you feel that they may have your best interests at heart. The result is you listen to them. In no other form of selling is a first impression as important as in cold-calling by telephone - and nowhere is it tougher.

Whether you are cold calling by telephone, or in person, remember it is far harder to close down someone who is smiling (yes, smiles do transmit along phone lines), pleasant, and showing interest in you personally than someone who obviously just wants to get straight to a sales pitch. Your personality can be an asset or a liability, it's up to you - you have approximately 10 seconds to warm up that cold call by making a positive first impression.

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Embrace the Cold

 

Embrace the Waste

In the article above we talked about embracing cold calling, in Embrace the Waste the discussion is about how we can utilize our excesses to help others in our own communities and maybe even the world at large.

Trendwatching.com recently reported on a program in an Indian school district that introduced a program to freeze leftover (but unserved) school cafeteria food and package it for students in need. While most students in the school district are provided breakfast and lunch at school, many go hungry over the weekend. Students who would normally have little to eat on non-school days are given a backpack with eight frozen meals to take home for the weekend. To bring this home, food insecurity affects 1.15 million, or one in six, Canadian children under age 18 (Source: Statistics Canada) and over 300,000 children visit a food bank every month.

The lesson we can get from this article is that what is waste to one person can be valuable, or even life-saving to another. Every company has waste, even one person working out of a home office produces some waste. It is up to us in the business community to embrace our waste and see if we can somehow use it to help others, or the planet.

Here are five practical ways your businesses waste might help others.

  1. Raw Materials—almost all manufacturing causes waste, could any of yours help others? Consider offcuts of wood, metal, plastic, or any other by-products of your manufacturing process.
  2. Excess Inventory—unsold inventory can take up valuable warehouse space, but just because it's a slow seller for you, consider whether a charitable cause could sell it,
  3. Machinery and Equipment—are you using your computers 24 hours a day? Is there some way a charitable organization could make use of them during periods when you are not using them? This may sound crazy, but it was common practice in the early days of PC's for businesses to rent out computer time during evenings and weekends.
  4. When you replace computers, printers and other equipment, do you take them to the landfill, or do you see if a local good cause you make use of them?
  5. Physical Space—have you got unused office or warehouse space a not-for-profit could use? Do you have space that is empty at weekends that might help not-for-profits with bottle drives, or other fundraising initiatives?
  6. Time—do you have employees that are temporarily underutilized? Could you second them to a charitable cause for a day, a week, even a few hours to offer training, or advice?

These are only a few suggestions, but if you are creative and carry out an audit on your business you might discover more ways you can turn your waste into other people's salvation. Or, simply help the planet.

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Embrace the Cold

 

Coach's Corner - What would we do differently?

Reflection is a good practice and a good habit to incorporate into your day. It does not have to be an intensive time commitment or too onerous, it can simply become a habit of looking back for a short period in order to determine ways to move forward.

Questions can provide us with a wonderful way to focus on our reflection and help guide us to more positive outcomes. Here are a few questions we might ask ourselves when we reflect on a situation.

  • If we had the chance to go back, what would we do differently?
  • What have we learned from the situation?
  • Looking back, who could have helped us?
  • What is familiar about this?
  • What was important for us?

"Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead." Yvonne Woon, Author

And here are some questions to help us move from reflection to action.

  • Is there a way we can take a step back and start over in part or completely?
  • What next steps do we need to take?
  • What is holding us back?
  • What has worked for us in the past?
  • What will remain important about this situation, six months or a year from now?

"Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous." Confucius

Asking ourselves some wise questions may lead us to look at things from a different perspective. The questions we ask will assist us in learning from our past and provide us with better answers for the future.

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Søren Kierkegaard, Danish Philosopher

With due reflection we can strive for continued improvement, for better outcomes, and for greater success in attaining our goals.

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach
Motivated Coaching

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WestShore Chamber of Commerce
2830 Aldwynd Road, Victoria, BC, V9B 3S7
Phone: 250-478-1130 | Fax: 250-478-1584
chamber@westshore.bc.ca

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