“Find a Need and Fill It.” Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, author of “The Power of Positive Thinking,” summarized the secret to success with this simple phrase.
But if you’ve got a business, you know you need more than solutions: you need customers to survive. Businesses that prosper have learned that you’ve got to get customers and let them know how you can help them.
Cold Calling is invented
Fast forward: probably the most dreaded sales technique for both salesperson and customer is “cold calling.” Cold calling is simply a telephone call to someone who is not know or expecting contact, often in order to sell something” (© Webster’s College Dictionary 2010). Cold calling was at its most powerful in the post war period through the 1960’s, but these days, Cold Calling is Dead. There are just too many telemarketers trying to sell too many unwanted products to too many of us.
So what’s an ambitious salesperson to do? It’s just the opposite of “cold calling.” It’s the “warm referral.” A warm referral introduces a salesperson to a prospective customer along with a reason they believe the customer would benefit. Warm referrals come from many sources: family, friends, customers, business associates.
One of the most reliable ways to get warm referrals is by joining a group of like-minded business people who come together to help each other. These groups can be informal, spur of the moment, or structured and organized like Business Network International (BNI). BNI claims to be “the largest business networking organization in the world” with networking groups and members on every continent and ever profession.
The alternative to Cold Calling
Instead of cold calling, why not make a “warm” call instead. Cold calling success rates are infinitesimal, and getting worse. The warm call, preceded with a warm referral gives the sales person a very good chance that the prospective customer will accept your call and actually listen to what you have to offer. The cold call is an unwanted interruption. The warm referral is just the opposite. So why are you still cold calling?
Cold calling is dead. No one likes to make a cold call or receive one (do you?). The warm referral gives you all the advantages, and the best chance for success.