Are you motivated to help the prospects you’re cold-calling? Jennifer Standish, Founder of Prospecting Works, joins our Market Dominance Guys, Corey Frank and Chris Beall, in this third of a three-part conversation to talk about different approaches to this process we call “sales.” Thinking of a sale as a “win,” implies that sales is a contest between you and your prospect — and your prospect is the loser. Does this sound like cause for a happy dance? Jennifer says it makes her crazy to hear salespeople say that they’re “killing” their numbers. Corey and Chris agree that this aggressive attitude could also kill the chance of developing a trusting relationship with a buyer, a relationship that would serve both parties now and in the future. Oh, these three savvy sales folks know what’s what when it comes to making magic happen between a salesperson and a prospect. You’re going to want to take notes while you’re listening to this week’s Market Dominance Guys’ episode, “The Magical Type of Cold Call.”
Catch the previous two episodes in this conversation here:
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:
Corey Frank (01:24):
Let's switch gears for a second and just talk about the exhaust, the results, the outcome of the cold call. The meeting. Whether it shows or it doesn't show. What's your philosophy around that? Folks at ConnectAndSell have a very interesting philosophy around no-shows, which a lot of folks have adopted, including us. But invariably, you're going to get folks that fires happen or maybe the interest didn't lock in or life gets in the way. What do you do about no-shows? What's the attitude about no-shows and how do you approach them?
Jennifer Standish (01:51):
I've experienced very few no-shows, so I don't know that I have a philosophy on them, just because my people show up.
Corey Frank (01:59):
How come? When you listen to an average cold call versus, I think Steve Richard from ExecVision always gave the stat that, I think you may know the most recent one, maybe from Trish [Pertuzzi 00:02:09], Chris. Was it 52% is the standard show rate for B2B calls, I think it is. Something like that. So then, what is that chasm that your team and you are doing that maybe gets them to lock in a little bit more than the average?
Jennifer Standish (02:23):
Well, I'll tell them, I'll say, "So I'm going to send you an invitation and if I don't see that you've accepted it, I'm going to call you back to make sure that you've received it. Because I want to make sure that you get it." And they're like, "Oh, okay, that's fine." And then I'll send it. And then if they don't accept it, I will call them back and I'll be like, "Did I get the email wrong? [crosstalk 00:02:45] going on?" And so they'll say, "Yeah, no, I don't see it. I don't see it." And I'm like, "Well, let me send it again." And then inevitably it gets to them.
Corey Frank (02:54):
So you will call them back.
Jennifer Standish (02:55):
I will call them back. And then if they still don't, then I call them the day before and I'll be like, "I'm just calling because ..." And he's like, "No, no, no, I got it. I just didn't accept it. It's here on my calendar." So I will follow up on people and I will nudge them. And then they show up. But that's just me. They can't get out of it with me.
Corey Frank (03:16):
I believe you. I believe you. Chris talks about the moral authority frame being broken when you don't show for a meeting and you use that, ethically, of course, to secure the second meeting. Couple episodes with Cheryl with, I think it's called I Heart No-shows, it's a very, very ... part of our popular episode. But certainly, if you can secure the meeting now the first time by a couple of nuances, like you're saying, calling them, "Hey, 10 minutes ago, we just got off the phone. You didn't accept it yet. Make sure I got it correctly." That's a simple tip, I love that.
Chris Beall (03:48):
Especially telling them you're going to do that. I mean, the big point over Cheryl's episode, the what I call uber point beyond I heart no-shows, is subtle. It's really subtle. And it's a different point, which is, when somebody agrees to meet with you, you actually now have a relationship within which you can turn, if there's going to be a meeting, into when. And I call it the operational regime. You're no longer in the sales regime anymore at all. In the sales regime, you're only ever answering the question if. If it makes sense for us to take a mixed step. That's all we do in sales. We exchange information and we make a single decision. That's an if. If we should move forward together. Once we make that decision, we must immediately exit the sales regime and go into the operational regime, which is around the question when.
Chris Beall (04:46):
Obviously if you didn't receive the invitation, then the when is not being handled. So I'm taking it on myself to help make the when happen. I'm not selling to you, I'm just helping. And I think that's the key to what Jen just said, it's like you say, this doesn't always work because everybody knows stuff doesn't always work, right? No matter what you try, you can't open a damn door and have that work every time. In fact, I had one bite me the other day when I tried to open it. So it doesn't always work. So I'm going to give you the heads up. Here's how I handle that. And it's also, there's a funny way that you said it, Jen, that I really like. It shows what I call persistent vulnerability. You are saying that it's not going to be perfect and you are going to persist in the face of that imperfection, that potential imperfection, on behalf of the team, that is you and them. You're going to persist. You're going to do the work. And that's service. I mean you're in service to them right at that point.
Jennifer Standish (05:45):
That is key. I believe that from the minute that they pick up the phone, I'm demonstrating client service. I'm demonstrating client service. When I call them, if I were to say, "I'm going to call you the day before to confirm, and if we need to reschedule, we can reschedule." I'm demonstrating client service. [crosstalk 00:06:03].
Chris Beall (06:03):
That's it. And I think sales people, in general, might have this problem. I think all the ones that I've ever worked with have this problem. That they don't get when they've left the world of if and they're now just a service person. And by just I mean, they're now exalted as the service person. So they've gone from being the second least trusted profession in the world, a salesperson, and they've crossed through this boundary, this membrane that separates the world of people you got to be careful of, to the world of people that are trying to help you. So the second most trusted profession is nurses. Why?
Chris Beall (06:41):
Because we're pretty sure nurses are trying ... No. The first, most trusted is nurses. The second most trusted is teachers. We figure they're trying to help somebody also, right? So in sales, if we can go from being a salesperson to being a helper and we can demonstrate our helpfulness while also increasing the odds that we'll be able to execute on what we decided to do, which is to have a meeting with each other, then I think there's magic in there and it's unappreciated magic. And the rough, tough, got to win salesperson has a really, really hard time at that. If see sales as a contest between yourself and the prospect, it's incredibly hard to turn off the if and become a when servant.
Corey Frank (07:28):
And that's endemic, it seems, of a lot of the hustle [inaudible 00:07:31] culture, must do today, crush your number that you [inaudible 00:07:36]. It kind of anonymizes all these relationships down to whatever number is on the board, as opposed to, the empathy is just wreaking from Jen's comments coming through my speakers. I mean, it's like, yeah, sign me up for an appointment. Whatever it is you have. And the antithesis of that is this, kill it at all costs. And that's the world of if versus the world of when. And they don't know when they've crossed that chasm.
Jennifer Standish (08:03):
I'm an empath. This is probably another reason why I'm really good at this. But it makes me crazy when I see LinkedIn and I see all the men who are kill the numbers, crush, crush, be the top 1%. All this stuff. And then I see people, the advertisements of, somebody's on a jet. Live this lifestyle, live this lifestyle. And I'm like, no, it's not about that. Why does it have to be that? I hate it. I hate it. I find it disgusting. I'm not motivated by money. I'm not motivated by commission. I'm motivated to help people. I want people to live better lives.
Jennifer Standish (08:43):
I wish that there were more women who were teaching cold calling, who were doing it ... I'm warm and fuzzy. I'm warm and fuzzy. I do it a very feminine way. Why a lot of women are attracted to my process, a lot of introverts are attracted to my process. I wish more women were out there teaching it because I think that the community would be better for it because that stuff is what is hurting. It's hurting us as a community of cold callers because it produces the thing that works against us. It's got to stop, but I don't know how, because these people sell programs. Chris, help me.
Corey Frank (10:06):
If you listen, Jen, to our first, I think, two or three episodes, we went in and talked about, we're not anti VC. We're not anti private act. We're not anti-capital. But certainly that capital, in some of the hands where they have this pressure, this need to hit a number, there's certain behaviors that certainly are justified or more rabid than others.
Chris Beall (10:28):
There's always been an issue with sales, since the beginning, and we haven't gotten over it yet. So we talked about this in one episode, sales evolved at the crossroads. You didn't sell the people in your village, that's a ridiculous concept. You have to live with them. You collaborate with them. So the classic stuff in sales where, I got you. I got the great deal and now you're going to find out that that sack of rice that I sold you actually was bottomed with sand. That doesn't happen in the village because they exile you and it's really, really bad to be exiled. It's worth the death. But when people started traveling near and far, like on the Silk Road, and they had to buy their supplies from somebody at a crossroads, well then the salesperson is trying to get the best of this stranger who's going to go off and die in the desert anyway.
Chris Beall (11:18):
So I think sales got locked in to a transactional model where it's, I win. We call them wins. Think about that. Wins against whom? It's an odd concept, when you think about it. And so now, here we are in this modern world where there's not much of value to sell that you don't go with. You're part of the product. It's very rare, now, that you get to leave behind some, whatever it is, and say, "Best of luck. Do your best with it." I mean, you can't use a piece of cloud software also as a door stop if it doesn't work out. It just isn't like that. You pretty much have to make it work with everything in your business. And in B2B, everything has to work with everything. There's almost nothing that I would call a legitimate product in B2B. Even our product, as simple, stupid as it is, push a button. I mean, that's the training, right Jen? Jen, push the button. How hard is that? And then wait. Well you have no choice but to wait.
Chris Beall (12:23):
I mean, that's kind of like life, it goes on if you just sit there. And then when it goes, bloop, talk to somebody. Who are you going to talk to? The person that's on the screen. Okay, good, that's it. But it doesn't live in that isolation. It has to be integrated into workflows and how they hire people, how they onboard people. It has to be integrated into some scripting notion that can be reused so that if you talk to this many people, you can hopefully get something done. It turns out you need a school to learn how to talk to people. On and on and on it goes. There is no such thing as a product anymore that is left behind after a transaction. And that used to be the standard. And I think that's changed the practical qualities with sales. That sales is a step along the way to an integrated relationship now. And in the innovation economy, it's all it is. It is all it is. And yet, the old habit of, I got to win. A win against whom? When we call it closed one, who lost?
Corey Frank (13:27):
Yeah, great stuff. That's great stuff. Well, that obviously contributes to, certainly the mindset that, am I learning call by call versus a binary outcome? Either I got the appointment or I didn't. Versus the exhaust and the residue of, which element of the call did I do well and which ones maybe I fell a little flat in that coaching piece? So how do you deal with that, Jen?
Jennifer Standish (13:53):
I'm going to answer that question next, but this is the question I'm going to answer is, as a cold caller, when I cold call for clients, and I haven't in a long time, except for now. What I tell my clients is that you're really hiring me to have intelligent conversations with your prospects. Because what I am doing is, in addition to scheduling appointments, I'm also having really smart conversations and I'm learning about your competitors. I'm learning about your prospects, an industry as a whole. I'm also keeping your data up to date because your list then becomes a real asset to you. And it may not always be appointments that you get from me. I worked for an early stage company and learned a tremendous amount about their primary competitor and the features that they weren't offering their clients. And I was able to go back and go, "Guys, they do not like the fact that big, big, big company over here doesn't offer this."
Jennifer Standish (14:50):
And they were able to integrate it into their services. And so it was like, you can inform product development. So it's not just appointments. Let's concentrate on something bigger. Yes, appointments lead to things, but you can inform product development. You can get industry intelligence, competitive intelligence. You may not be able to get an appointment now, but maybe in six months you do. Maybe in a year you do. I learned when people were going to be let go and a new person was going to be coming, before the person was going to be let go knew. So I knew to call back in a year because that person was going to be let go and then somebody else was going to be hired and I could with that person. So there's all of this information that, okay, immediately it didn't result in an appointment, but my goodness, it was incredibly helpful for the long road. And so, that's what cold calling really means to me is, intelligent conversations.
Chris Beall (15:49):
Wow. So I just came up with the phrase, Corey, and I want to throw it your way. The cold conversation is a short interaction as part of a long game.
Jennifer Standish (15:59):
I play the long game. I play the long game. And, I will tell you that, the clients that I brought in through cold calling ended up being the easiest clients to work with. They were the most forgiving. They paid their bills on time. They never quibbled with my fee. And they became friends long after I left the agency and so did they. And I know this to be true, that there's something that happens when you cold call somebody and they agree to an appointment. That there's a bond that happens because, on LinkedIn, I posted this and other sales people said the exact same thing. That there's something that happens with a client that you get through cold calling, that they become really, really, really great friends.
Jennifer Standish (16:40):
And, in my agency, a client that came in any other way, like through another person, they were miserable. They were awful. Especially if they were brought in by somebody who was miserable themselves. So they was just something about who you resonate with. Which leads me to then say, be careful who sets appointments for you. Because I may resonate with somebody, and if I hand them off to somebody vastly different than myself, there's going to be a disconnect. So be careful. Because I've set appointments for people where there was a big difference and there was a big disconnect. And I was not the right caller for them, because they weren't able to do anything with them, and they would've been better off calling for themselves. And they would've resonated with other people.
Chris Beall (17:27):
Which is a very interesting point too. We've been working with a number of CEOs to help them do their own calling for the purpose of being both the offerer and the offer. That is, they are the bait in the bucket. They are that person. And they can learn how not to have the meeting on the spot and allow the psychology of the meeting to be more practical, shall we say, because it's an agreement to come together. And it does start with a true agreement between two people to do the riskiest thing that we do in life, which is to open ourselves up to another person.
Chris Beall (18:03):
So I think that's where that deep bond comes from. These CEOs that we've working with recently, and Cheryl does most of this work, they are truly, I think, kind of transformed when they start to have their own calling sessions. And it's quite interesting. I mean, we've had one of them on the show who, he was already a pretty good caller, he now converts at about 30% and he said he makes magic happen out there. But he talks about how it's changed him.
Jennifer Standish (18:34):
Chris Beall (18:34):
It's changed him to be the person who's reaching out for himself. No chance of a disconnect. But I also think that it's very correct that, if you are the caller, you need to believe in the product. And the product is the person that you're setting the meeting for. That's the product. And if you don't believe in them, don't set a meeting with them.
Corey Frank (18:55):
Well maybe, Chris, you should mention that to Bob Perkins, is the next CEO Round Table session is, you conduct a session, live, where the CEOs, they bring a list. And they set up with ConnectAndSell and it's under the purpose, certainly, of teaching them a little bit of a mini Flight School. But you had said yourself many times on this program, every CEO should be spending a significant amount of time, or a fair amount of time every week, cold calling some of their customers to understand exactly what their frontline team members are doing. And I think for the next Round Table session, I could see maybe something like that.
Chris Beall (19:31):
Yeah, that'd be pretty fun. Yeah, CEOs only Flight School would be pretty wild.
Corey Frank (19:36):
There you go.
Chris Beall (19:36):
And yeah, that'd be something. I bet only half of them would push the button.
Jennifer Standish (19:41):
There is something that, when you learn how to cold call, and you face your fears, the stuff that's holding you back from cold calling are stuff that's holding you back in life. And what I have found is that, when people learn how to cold call, their life trajectory completely changes. And I've witnessed it where people have come to me and said, "I just came to you to learn how to cold call, but my life has completely changed." And many of my clients stay with me for transformational coaching. And they came for cold calling coaching, but it turned into transformational coaching.
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