Would you hang up on your grandmother? Of course not! Jennifer Standish, Founder of Prospecting Works, joins our Market Dominance Guys, Corey Frank and Chris Beall, in this second of a three-part conversation to talk about the perfect voice for cold-calling success. Certain voices cause people to react in a positive way, and it turns out that a female over the age of 60 has the perfect voice to get that positive reaction needed to be a successful cold-caller. Who knew?! Well, researchers like Jennifer did. She has discovered that with a little training, middle-aged women without an identifiable accent are phenomenal appointment-setters. Corey and Chris enthusiastically agree with her that “grandmas are the untapped labor market we need in sales.” If this sounds bizarre to you, tune in to hear how the nuances of voice affect the trust you need to establish in the first critical moments of a cold call. It’s all on today’s Market Dominance Guys’ episode, “Hire Yourself a Grandma.”
Jennifer Standish is Founder of Prospecting Works, an organization that assists salespeople in overcoming cold-call reluctance. She combines her 25-year cold-calling career with her skills as an intuitive healer, offering a “warm and fuzzy” approach that attracts introverts as well as people who don’t want to be considered salespeople.
Full episode transcript below:
Chris Beall (01:24):
Scott, by the way, his thing is commercial insurance. And I know he believes he's potentially saving these companies lives. I mean...
Jennifer Standish (01:38):
Chris Beall (01:38):
Saving those jobs.
Jennifer Standish (01:40):
Chris Beall (01:40):
I look at ConnectAndSell. Somebody asked me, "What do you guys do?", we are determined to pull the cork out of the bottle that keeps the value of the innovation economy on the inside. When it could be poured freely on the outside, where people could make use of it. We all rely on innovations. They're stuck inside of companies and they need to get out for all of us, and that's what we do.
Corey Frank (02:04):
That's a beautiful thing. We go back, because again, I keep seeing it on a t-shirt here. Jennifer's [inaudible 00:02:11] the Chick-fil-A, "Eat more chicken.", right? But you say, "Take more cold-calls, take the meat.".
Jennifer Standish (02:16):
Take the call, take the call!
Corey Frank (02:21):
Take the call. But, a lot of the trust is that I don't have a relevant list. If I'm talking to someone who I feel there's some relevancy, there's some linkage there. Some familiarity, some status tip off as our friend Oren Klaff talks about on the call. Then I have some credibility. But if I have, for instance, I get these alerts from Glassdoor. Glassdoor is a reputable organization, been around for a long time and rates socially how organizations are doing, how happy team members are. But, they also have these alerts that somehow I got on that says, "Hey, you're a good fit for X and Y and Z position.", right? Maybe we've all received some of those. Well, I got one the other day and I shared it with the team that evidently I'm a pretty good fit for short order cook at the Village Inn, down the street.
Chris Beall (03:14):
Corey Frank (03:14):
So there's no relevance there. Now, I don't think I have anything in my LinkedIn file that says that I've gone, now to me that's my ideal position is someday to retire and be a short order cook. But between now and then, so if I got a call from someone at Glassdoor immediately I would say, you don't know what you're talking about. Your list is garbage. You haven't put that human element attached to say, wait a minute, somehow I got a little disconnect here. So how important is that? When you create a list, we've talked about it on the Market Dominance Guy's level. When you create a list for a client, if there's no relevancy there, it seems like what you're saying is right. The whole house of cards kind of falls apart a little bit.
Jennifer Standish (03:56):
Yes. But, I would never talk to somebody that way. If I got a phone call, a cold-call, about a job as a cook, I don't think I would respond that way. I would say, oh my goodness. Wow. I think you've...
Corey Frank (04:09):
Jennifer Standish (04:12):
Yeah, I wouldn't say it that way. I would say...
Corey Frank (04:15):
I think internally, how'd you...
Jennifer Standish (04:17):
You need to talk a little bit because seems the algorithm that you're using somehow is misplaced or because I am not at all your target.
Corey Frank (04:28):
Jennifer Standish (04:28):
And I'm afraid that maybe your list is filled with people who are not yours as well.
Corey Frank (04:33):
Jennifer Standish (04:33):
But algorithms, they make mistakes. I mean, they're...
Corey Frank (04:37):
If you're a rep, and over and over and over again I've been instilled with this belief system from Jennifer and Chris and the battle cry. You're going back and forth like Braveheart, before we hit the phones in the morning at 7:59. Okay. Release. Okay. You guys are released to the world and third phone call, fifth phone call, 20th phone call, "No, that's not me. No, that's not my role.". Are we committing a little mal practice as sales leaders sometimes by not spending the time we need on the relevancy of the list?
Jennifer Standish (05:08):
Yes. Yes. Because I will tell you that, if you give me a bad list, I'm going to have bad results. I will have horrible results. So the list is actually critical to cold-calling, so you better spend your time. And what I tell people is, you need to have multiple, highly targeted lists, and don't be lazy, come up with multiple scripts. And, I don't like writing scripts all the time. I don't want to write 10 scripts in a row, but I do it because I want highly targeted lists. And I want the scripts to speak to each segment. Otherwise, I'm going to be calling a whole bunch of people and it's going to be irrelevant to them and nothing is going to resonate with them. And then they're going to get angry. So yes, it's got to be highly targeted. Really spend the time, don't call thousands of people and say something generic, because then you're just going to piss people off. I don't want to be that person. So on our side, yes, we need to behave better. We need to behave a lot better.
Chris Beall (06:15):
I agree. Lists are so fascinating to me because we make lists primarily, at first, cold list. Right? We make them based on publicly available information, which we know is limited and flawed. And we know it's limited in flawed in a bunch of different ways. Some of it is out of date. I was with my data concierge, Tom. We were looking at some calling data the other day and we were identifying individual human beings using some techniques that we have. And we found that there had been 476 calls to a guy named John T. I won't say his last name because it wouldn't be polite. And he died in 2013 and the reason that all these calls were going there was that his son, James T was still running the company, had the same email address. Why not J.T. at company name.
Chris Beall (07:17):
And it had fooled the various algorithms out there in zoom info and so forth into putting his late father into these lists. And so it was easy to tell from the data, by the way, there wasn't much to it really. One of the funny things is you get a lot of good information back from calling, but you have to do a lot of calling. So in our case, we do 60 million dials a year. So we have a lot of information and we use some of that information to help folks avoid these faux pas that one could make and at least avoid them a little bit, right. Avoid them. But you can't avoid them perfectly in much the same way you can't really be sure in any sales situation that you're not going to be obliged to say what you found out is that there's not a good reason to move forward.
Chris Beall (08:09):
I mean, if that were not the case, wouldn't the funnel just be a pipe. I mean, it would be odd, right? It's like everybody that we talked to, with whom we will do business with. That doesn't really make any sense. It's an exploration of the world in much the same way that if you go Google something, you can't just blindly take a research result that comes back and goes, oh, I'm going to get that one. Right?
Corey Frank (08:34):
Chris Beall (08:34):
Whatever it is. I mean, go look up Chris and Helen's wedding. Well, you'll find one in Italy that's going on on the same date as our wedding will happen in Washington. But don't buy plane tickets for Italy. If you want to come and hang with us and have been invited to our wedding. Check it out a little bit more and be ready to go back and forth. And I think this comes down to the essence of sales.
Chris Beall (09:02):
Sales has a lot to do with information exchange. We exchange information first to decide if we trust each other enough to exchange more information. That's actually what a cold-call is, cold-call is an exchange of information with the purpose of deciding if we trust each other sufficiently that it's worth exchanging more information. I mean, that's a cold conversation. A cold call by the way, is an attempt to get a cold conversation. Cold calls are kind of irrelevant, because most of them don't go anywhere, but you got to do them anyway. I mean, what can you do? You're going to try to talk to people who are busy right now. Great. Okay. So you found out they were busy, but a cold conversation has a very, very specific purpose, which is to exchange enough information to determine mutually that we trust each other enough to move forward, to exchange more information, right?
Chris Beall (09:55):
So some of has to be in charge of how much information that is and what the cost is. If the cost is about 30 seconds and the amount of information is something roughly on the order of say six or 700,000 bits, we're good. 20,000 bits, a second with the human voice, 30 seconds, 600,000 bits, it's about what it takes to get sufficient trust to decide to move forward. That's why cold conversations are so valuable because as human conversations with the human voice, because the human voice carries those 20,000 bits a second right into their midbrain. And theirs goes into yours too. And so you got a shot.
Chris Beall (10:36):
How many emails? I don't know. Somebody in the audience can do this math divide 600,000 by 5,000. What do you get? 600 divided by five. That's a hundred and something 120 emails. Can you get somebody, without losing their attention, to read 120 emails and respond to you intelligently to each one so you can adjust your next email. That's the equivalent of a 30 second phone call. You can't do it. It's the only practical medium to get sufficient trust between two people, if they're not sitting in the same room.
Corey Frank (11:15):
And the building trust, curious Jennifer, this is a staple of Market Dominance Guys, that Chris is just mentioning here. But from your perspective on modulation or inflection, I want to say tonality, because we always talk about tonality here. I'm thinking for maybe a little bit, even more nuanced, maybe rate of speech. What goes into your mindset? Forget about your team, talking to you as the expert, as the black belt, right? Making the call one shot one kill. I give you four leads. That's it. And we need two meetings of these four leads.
Chris Beall (11:50):
Oh, that's yesterday. She did that.
Corey Frank (11:51):
That's yesterday. That's good. Great.
Jennifer Standish (11:53):
Yeah. I didn't do it today though. Boy, I had one call and really screwed that up. Well, first of all, I say professional, confident, friendly, and a little bit enthusiastic, and that's where women excel. We can do the enthusiastic part very easily and still remain professional. It's where men really struggle because men come to business from a very different place. They come to business in a, I want to be the smartest person in the room, the most successful person in the room and it can be almost aggressive. And so they have a hard time with being enthusiastic. You want me to be in enthusiastic? I don't want to be enthusiastic. But over a telephone line, that enthusiasm really helps otherwise they sound disinterested. So, and it's like, if you want somebody to be excited about meeting with you kind of have to be excited about you and what you're calling about.
Jennifer Standish (12:52):
And that's my formula. And everybody executes that a little differently, but I look at professionalism, you have to sound professional, confident, friendly, and a little bit enthusiastic. And so when I'm working with people, I'll say, "Okay, well try this out.", and then it's very flat and they'll try it out again. And it's very flat. And then I'll say, well, let's pretend you're the leader of a three-ring circus and you're going to go so over the top, it's going to be absolutely ridiculous. And I'm like really go over the top and they'll try and it will be perfect. And I'll say, "There it is.".
Chris Beall (14:10):
That's so interesting.
Jennifer Standish (14:11):
And it was really uncomfortable for you, right?
Chris Beall (14:15):
Jennifer Standish (14:15):
And they're like, "Oh my God.", and I'll be like, "it was perfect.".
Chris Beall (14:19):
That's so fascinating. Wow. I went through this with radio ads. Working with Rich Kagan.
Corey Frank (14:26):
Oh yeah, sure. Right.
Chris Beall (14:27):
So we're up there in Tucson and we met at this very, very fancy studio. Well, okay. So I triple-locked the car and I, standing there in the sound booth in the studio, and he is telling me he says, "You are a naturally big voice, big range, you project. You will sound dead on radio. You must take it over the top. You've got to go to the point where it feels ridiculous to you.". And sure enough, when it played back the ads I'm like, "Geez, Chris, can't you bring a little something.".
Corey Frank (15:04):
Yeah. Well the impact of the camera is supposed to add 10 pounds right?
Chris Beall (15:08):
Corey Frank (15:08):
So some of the earlier videos, when my wife watches these, I say, remember the camera adds 10 pounds. She says, well, how many cameras did you use? But look at the Nixon and the Kennedy debates, right? Early on with makeup, if you have makeup on, right, and to the naked eye, if you were in front of me of like, "wow, you're very orange today.".
Chris Beall (15:30):
Corey Frank (15:30):
But on camera, you don't see it. So that's interesting though, Jennifer, I like the nuances between men and women and the enthusiasm.
Jennifer Standish (15:38):
Corey Frank (15:38):
Projection, because we predominantly call IT and we find that the gals on our squad, they do better on average than the gents do.
Jennifer Standish (15:50):
Yes. And I will tell you that if you're going to hire are an appointment setter, middle-aged women, without an identifiable accent are phenomenal appointment setters. Because we just are confident, if you sound like a little girl, you're going to have problems.
Corey Frank (16:07):
Jennifer Standish (16:07):
But I worked for an agency once and we were scheduling appointments for VP of sales and banks. And we had no message. It was basically senior vice president, so and so, so and so, would like to meet with you. And the very first meeting where all of the callers were on the top 10 cold-callers, they were all women and they all sounded like grandmothers. And I thought to myself, this is absolutely brilliant because nobody is going to say no to a grandmother. And they were consistent. And I was in the top 10 and I was younger, but they sounded like grandmothers. And I thought, does this company know what its just done? Or is this just happened to be that these women who were in their sixties needed a second job and they, day in and day out, we're the best of everybody. So I'm not saying go out and hire grandmothers, but middle-aged women without an identifiable accent are the people I try to hire all the time.
Chris Beall (17:05):
I am saying, go hire grandmothers. I read an article about this 10 years ago, and I still stand behind it. The biggest untapped resource in the economy is post-retirement women, in particular. Although the men start to become, I'll call it usable at that point also, maybe because their testosterone levels go down. Maybe because they're no longer bossing people around or maybe because now they're living with somebody's bossing them around and it helps them understand their place in society a little bit better. But it is very, very interesting that we make, I think, a huge mistake. And I think it's one of the biggest economic mistakes that's been made in the last 20 years of believing that the cold-calling job, which is a highly specialized job, it's like being an anesthesiologist. No, you don't cut the patient open and do all that stuff.
Chris Beall (18:01):
But if you don't do your job, right, somebody dies, right. It's really, really important to get this right. And it looks really routine like, oh yeah, you give them this amount of gas. You do this, you do this. But really it's very subtle. And that job has been now relegated, I'll say, to the world of the 24 to 26-year-old, who wants to become a salesperson. And yet if you take it seriously as a hiring manager or as a strategist putting together a company, you would say, well, wait a minute. Why am I overpaying for 24 to 26-year-olds...
Jennifer Standish (18:36):
Chris Beall (18:36):
Who don't want this job and want to go get another job when I could go to the other end of the economy and hire people in their fifties and sixties and seventies. And I have a great example, Israeli cybersecurity company selling to hospitals.
Chris Beall (18:50):
And they were using as their cold-callers, three people out of the Northeast who were living in a rural place, didn't have much accent. Youngest was 58, the eldest was, I think, 77, the leader was in 77. So yeah, something like that. And they created 32.788 million dollars of pipeline in seven months. And this company got sold for 400 million dollars with significantly less than that have been invested. Now they cheated, they used ConnectAndSell, and they were really good at it. And so they talk to lots of people, because it's considered an inaccessible market. Hospital IT, you can't get there, not with the telephone. Right?
Corey Frank (19:39):
Chris Beall (19:40):
And I have those numbers. And every once in a while, I'll publish the chart that shows the pipeline that was built, not a hundred percent from meetings, by the way, this is another really important factor.
Chris Beall (19:51):
Certain voices cause people to act in a positive way, even if they don't take the meeting. So you're actually conditioning the market for all your future communications that, "thank you", that comes after every conversation. "Thank you for our conversation today.", the only email in the world of B2B that always gets opened. The only subject line that works, everybody talks subject lines all day long. There is only one subject line that works in B2B. "Thank you for our conversation today.", now the only way that it's honest is if you just had a conversation. Now you're down to, how do they feel about it? And that feeling determines what happens to four out of every five of the pipeline dollars that will come out of calling because four out of five of the pipeline dollars that come out of calling do not come from the meeting that was set in the cold-call. They come in the communication that happened afterwards, that's been conditioned. By the trust that was built in the cold-call.
Jennifer Standish (20:51):
I trained a grandmother last year and she was phenomenal. To the point where the owner had to give her a week vacation because he couldn't keep up with all the appointments she was sending. It blew everybody away except for me. And I was like, "This woman going to be phenomenal.". So maybe we really, really, need to change how we're hiring. And these women love it, they feel useful, they're proud of what they're doing. They have a really thick skin, because they've lived a long life and they've seen things. There's just something about their energy and you just trust them immediately. So I don't know, Chris, we should come up with something on to use this talent.
Chris Beall (21:40):
Well, we should, I'm down here right now in Quail Creek, Arizona. And this community, I think, we have 3000 houses or so. And I would say of those 3000 houses, 2,937 of them have somebody of grandmotherly age of the female persuasion who's living there. And they arrange everything here, they make everything happen. I'm not retired, of course, and Helen's not retired, so we call ourselves the working stiffs and there are a handful of us around here. But I actually think every once in a while, that it's just the company that needs to be started. No one has ever made an appointment setting company that operates reliably at pace and scale. And the reason is that the inverted S-curve around hiring eventually kills them. So it's hard to find the marginal talent to add to that group. And then, Corey, you've done it within the companies and you know how hard it is, right?
Chris Beall (22:36):
That thrash at the edge, I call it, the thrash at the margin that occurs where the in and the outer happening at about the same rate.
Corey Frank (22:44):
Chris Beall (22:45):
It's like your drop of water can only get so big before it's boiling as fast as you're adding to it. And then all of your time is going there, and then the quality deteriorates at the center. It's just the way these things happen, right? And you're taking on customers that are less sincere and less interesting and less worthwhile and blah, blah, blah.
Corey Frank (23:02):
Chris Beall (23:02):
But I do believe, that it could be that grandmas hold the key to make in the world's first scalable appointment setting company that can grow without bound, without losing quality.
Corey Frank (23:18):
See that should have been your patent. Not the other thing.
Chris Beall (23:22):
Well, she didn't say what it is. We're not convinced yet.
Corey Frank (23:24):
Oh, okay. All right.
Chris Beall (23:25):
Well, it's not all about grandma's.
Corey Frank (23:26):
Just checking. Grandmas are the untapped labor pool market that this country needs right now today.
Chris Beall (23:36):
Yeah. The innovation economy...
Corey Frank (23:37):
Chris Beall (23:39):
Will not fulfill its potential for humanity, unless grandma step up.
Corey Frank (23:44):
You cannot move forward without looking back. That's what I hear you saying.
Jennifer Standish (23:48):
They're hard workers, they're really hard workers.
Corey Frank (23:52):
Chris Beall (23:53):
And they're self-managing.
Jennifer Standish (23:55):
Chris Beall (23:56):
They've been managing themselves for quite a while and managing someone else too most sure, sure.
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