CS: Prospecting – The Purpose of a Cold Call

The Clarity Series is a series of posts all on one subject.  This particular subject is prospecting.  While the context is commercial real estate, these steps and principles can be applied to any sales.  To read the introduction of this series, click here.  To read an overview of the entire prospecting system, click here.  Thank you for reading!

via iStockPhoto

via iStockPhoto

I may have told this story before.  About a year ago, I was riding with a couple of guys through rural Kentucky.  As we drove through this one-stop-light town, we passed a Dollar General Store.  Because I was clear on my specialty and had built my database, I was able to look up the owner.  Before we were out of that small town, I was talking to the owner.  What started off with, “Hi, sir.  My name is Bo Barron and your Dollar Store in Perryville is not on fire,” ended with me in his office the next day.  Cold calling works.

The subject of the cold call is a big one.  I expect to break this up into at least three parts – the purpose of a cold call, the preparation of a cold call, and the anatomy of a cold call.  In this post, I want to address the purpose of a cold call and my philosophy of a cold call.  This first part will be a bit more philosophical.  The next posts will get into how to practically pull off a cold call

The Purpose of a Cold Call

The purpose of a cold call is very simple and there is no debate.  It is to get a meeting.  That’s it.  It is not to spend 20 minutes on the phone.  It is not to build a lasting relationship.  It is not to make the sale.  The purpose of the cold call is simply to get a meeting.

I had a guy who worked for me for a time.  Cold calling was not his favorite thing.  When he would call, though, he would make a new best friend.  These would be 30+ minute conversations.  He would have two of these in a day and think he cold called for an hour.  No!  Cold calling is a numbers game.  These calls should be short.  The more calls you make, the more meetings you will have.  The more meetings you have, the more proposals you will make…and on and on.

I want you to build lasting relationships with your clients and prospects.  I want you to know about their kids and their dreams.  It simply should not happen on a cold call.

My Philosophy of a Cold Call

I am going to give you the secret script to wealth and riches.  Regardless of what you are selling, if you use this script, you are golden.

Wrong!  I can’t tell you how many of my coaching clients have asked me for scripts.  Scripts don’t win in sales.  Connecting wins.

Many of you have probably read How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins.  This book is full of great sales tactics, closing techniques, and scripts.  I have read this book and use it as a resource.  You should too.  It is one of the best.  However, it was written 33 years ago for the previous generation.  It suggests that if you know the right words to say in any situation, you will always make the sale.  I disagree.

Sales is not manipulation.  Sales is about connecting and providing something of value that makes someone’s life better.  A cold call is the first touch of that process.  You need to have a plan for the call.  You need to prepare for that call.  You need to have great questions ready.  You need to be ready to listen and adjust.  You don’t need a script!

My next post will deal with preparing and the anatomy of the cold call.  But before that, what are your thoughts about scripts?  How do you try to connect with someone on your first call with them?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

And on the note of comments, this Clarity Series on Prospecting has been generating some great sharing of information and has led to conversations off-line.  I encourage you all to keep leaving those comments and engaging with each other!