I’d Rather Work at McDonalds Than Make Cold Calls!
Thinking about this conversation…
In speaking with Mary, a financial planner who was talking about her business – or lack of it – she explained that because of the weak economy and the bottom falling out of the stock market, business had turned soft.
Actually, soft was an understatement. During the past few months new sales had slowed to a trickle. The phone didn’t ring much at all, and she didn’t make cold calls.
Her primary source of new business had come from doing seminars where she did presentations in front of a large audience of potential investors. But since last spring, when attendance began to taper off, she stopped doing her programs.
Her secondary source of prospects was referrals from existing customers. But, because of the problems in the stock market, she has stopped calling on her customers because she was sure they weren’t ‘happy’ to hear from her. So her sources of referrals had dried up.
She then told me that, “Everyone else is having the same problem, and nobody is doing any financial planning.” We asked her where she got this information from, and she said it came from her colleagues in the office and her friends who are in the business.
“But how many of your customer’s told you that they have no interest in discussing their financial planning needs?” I asked.
There was a long pause. She replied, “I know everybody’s putting their financial planning on hold, because that’s what I’ve been told.”
“But who has told you that?” We pressed for a better answer. She didn’t respond.
I continued, “How much time are you spending every day looking for new customers? You know, getting on the phone, calling new people, seeing what their needs are, looking for ways in which you can help them?
Margaret stated emphatically, “I don’t cold call! I would rather work at McDonald’s then pick up the telephone and make calls!!!”
Thinking about this conversation, it was easy to come to the conclusion that you must look for new customers in a tough market, business environment and difficult economy. If you have the belief that “there’s no business out there,” then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If on the other hand, you believe there is business out there, you’ll find it (you’ve just got to work a little bit harder to find it). And when you do, the business might just be yours for the asking, because in all likelihood, your competition isn’t doing any marketing or calling anybody either. They’re the ones who told you there isn’t any business out there.
They may just be sitting around complaining amongst themselves, whining and moping, feeling sorry for themselves because business is bad.
Seize the day! Close the sale! Make some money!
You have a choice: You can go through life being a victim, complaining how tough things are. Or you can become a warrior and show your fighting spirit. A common person looks at everything as either a blessing or a curse. A warrior looks at everything as a challenge, and thus, an opportunity.
Here are a few things you can do to find business in any tough market:
Look for new people to call
Call on people who you’ve never spoken to before. Look for new markets or groups of people who could be prospects for the products or services you sell. Stretch your imagination. Go out and generate more activity.
Spend at least an hour a day on the telephone calling these people
If you have no business, then you’ve plenty of time to get on the phone and start calling people. There’s a huge difference between being busy and being productive.
Your job is to look for customers. Don’t think about it. DO IT!
Create a great Elevator Message
You’ve got to have great telephone techniques. If your calls are ending in less than 10 seconds, you’re not doing it right. If people are saying “We’re not in the market” or “We have no money in the budget” then you’re asking the wrong questions. Develop a script, test it, measure it, evolve it until it produces results.
Expect to get voice mail
Don’t be disappointed if you get voice mail. It comes with the territory. And if you leave a message, don’t expect people to call you back. If they do, that’s great. But it doesn’t happen very often. Most importantly, it’s your job to make the call. So if the person isn’t around, call someone else.
If you’re not getting rejected, you’re not trying hard enough. Wouldn’t life be wonderful if everybody loved you and wanted to do business with you? Well, it’s not going to happen. Your job is to find the person who is in the market to purchase the products or services that you sell. If you’re testing and measuring, you’ll know how many “no’s” you’ll have to get before you get a “yes”. Make it into a game, keep score, get excited about the “no’s”, every one of them means you’re one step closer to that “yes”.
Ask great questions
When you speak with someone, don’t spend all your time talking about who you are and what you do. Ask some great questions to find out who they are and what they do. Try to discover their problems. Try to discover what they need. Two ears, one mouth, use them in proportion.
Identify decision makers
Only work with people who are decision makers. If you’re spending time – or making presentations to – the gatekeepers, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time, without ever making a sale.
Here are two great questions you can ask: “In addition to yourself, who else gets involved in the decision-making process?” Or, “Who do you consult with before making decisions?” And, “How does your company go about making decisions?”
Always ask for commitments
They can be big commitments, like asking them to buy. Or little commitments like scheduling an appointment to talk on the telephone or face-to-face one day next week. Have a goal for every call to move to the next step.
If you’re unable to get even a small commitment, like scheduling another call or meeting, you may not have a prospect or haven’t discovered their needs.
For example, when someone says, “Let me think about it, and I’ll call you if I’m interested.” And you say, “Could we schedule a date to talk about it further on Tuesday of next week?” And she says, “No, I’ll call you when I’m ready.”
At this point the message is that there really is no interest, and its best to put this prospect aside and find somebody else to call on.
Unfortunately, Mary made the decision not to go out and look for new business. At the rate she’s going, she may very well end up working at McDonald’s. But that doesn’t have to happen to you. Get on the phone and look for new business. You’ll find it!
Lisa Walker is a Certified Business Coach with ActionCOACH, the World’s #1 Business Coaching Firm. She has a proven track record of success with both small businesses and in the corporate environment. Business Coach Lisa Walker – When You’re Ready to Be the Best.