First cold call, sales conversations, deal busters, cold calling is constant.
Matt's LinkedIn Posts 2017
What does it take to win?
“Heart, you gotta have heart, miles and miles of heart.” Coach McGinty
When I first started out as an entrepreneur, on those days where pretty much everything went wrong (there were a lot); I would go home and watch The Replacements. By the time Shane Falco finished running out of the tunnel at halftime of a game he wasn’t even supposed to play, my glass was half full again and I was ready to go for the next day.
What’s your COMEBACK movie?
Deal Busters Suck
We’ve all been there, the big deal is all but signed and then boom.
It’s gone with a whisper. Whether it was because the incumbent came back with lower pricing or an acquisition put new agreements on-hold or a high level executive came in an axed your deal. It always feels the same way, it totally sucks.
Shortly after hearing the news it starts to dawn on you that you’ve already been congratulated for this accomplishment many times over. You also begin to realize that you’ve all but spent the commission check.
Months of work now down the drain. Surely you’ll be hearing “can’t close the deal” comments from the losers in the office. Oh and by the way, the contract was half this year’s quota.
The reality for sales professionals is that our deals can get busted. We can do everything right only to have everything go wrong. We can go from the company hero to the company zero in a single phone call or e-mail.
In this agonizing moment it’s important to remember that as sales people, our efforts are never wasted. With any busted deal comes learning and awareness that will make us much better prepared in the future.
Learn from these negative experiences, keep trying, keep selling, keep learning, keep hunting, keep dialing, keep smiling 🙂
Sales Conversations are a lot like Pizza
Even if they suck, they’re still pretty good!
Let’s face it, some of the sales conversations that happen on a day-to-day basis are pretty terrible. We’ve all heard stories and some of us have had our own share of these conversations.
Bad conversations in sales are very predictable. The most common scenario is probably an overzealous sales rep butting heads with a grumpy decision maker. Another frequent bad conversation includes a nervous sales person and a busy contact in an encounter where literally nothing is communicated. Don’t forget the NO CHANCE conversation where a brand new sales rep tries to impress a savvy decision maker with information they simply don’t understand (yet).
Whatever the result, a sales conversation is always a good thing. Every encounter with a prospect or client can bring a sales rep closer to great. The sales people that progress with each conversation are typically very successful.
Once you’re able to have good sales conversations, that’s when the profession of $ales starts to get really exciting. Keep calling!
Can you be shy and be successful in sales?
When I was growing up my older brother was the shyest person I knew.
When we were young, people would always make a point to tell him how shy he was.
Of course that just made him shyer.
As he went through middle school and high school things didn’t change, he was still really shy.
He graduated college still a man of very few words.
To this day, unless there’s beer in the room it’s difficult to get more than a couple sentences out of my brother.
My mom recently told me that he didn’t even talk until he was three.
I’m proud to say that he’s the most successful sales person I know.
He’s been working in the same sales position for the last 25 years.
He’s making so much money going into management would be a huge $tep back.
He’s won so many awards and been on so many trips to Hawaii he doesn’t even remember half of them.
Of course he works hard just like everybody else.
But even more importantly he works smart.
He listens, asks the right questions, and anticipates problems.
For him, it’s all about the customer and that’s helped him become so successful.
So if you’re shy, introverted, a soft talker, or an easy blusher, the answer to the question is simply yes.
You can be really successful in sales.
I connected on my first cold call today.
It scared the pants off of me for a second.
I started a new sales career a few months ago.
My job is to blaze the trail for a brand new network security software.
The cold call connection was with a Vice President of IT at a major bank.
I called him early last week and he picked up on my second dial today.
This was the first time I’ve spoken to a decision maker about our software.
I’ve been cold calling for over twenty years and I was even so bold to write a short book on the subject.
And still for a few moments during that cold call, I honestly couldn’t think or breathe.
And I still had to say words.
Let’s face it, this is WHY people hate and dread cold calling.
I’ve personally labeled this feeling PICK UP PUNCH! It’s never fun to go through it.
But I knew I’d be taking a pick up punch before I made that call.
I was prepared to feel that way and it helped me recover quickly.
In the end, the Vice President wasn’t the right person but we had a pretty good conversation.
I was still able to pitch him on our product and that was really important.
He gave me some information but left me with work to do.
But it felt really good to say the words.
I can’t wait to make cold calls tomorrow.
Everybody seems to have an opinion about cold calling. A recent comment from a Tech Support Technician said any sales person making cold calls was a vulture.
Wow, that’s really harsh considering this technician likely isn’t receiving any cold calls.
While scrolling through his profile, I quickly noticed this heavy handed commenter had just previously been in a sales position.
Albeit a short stint, it’s likely this telecom sales gig required him to make cold calls. I’m guessing it didn’t go very well.
We see it almost every day on our favorite social media site, people bashing cold calling because of their own bad experience making cold calls.
If you screwed up your own taxes, would you then go on to bash accountants?
News flash Mr. Technician, not everybody fails at making cold calls. Some sales people actually thrive with this very difficult skill and they’re far from vultures.
In many cases, these brave sales reps are providing valuable information to decision makers.
ATTENTION COLD CALLING WARRIORS: Please let the mudslingers know in the comments that you’re succeeding with cold calls.
Maybe that will help them drown out their bad memories and they can stop calling us names.
Have you ever had a great idea that was tossed aside because you weren’t at the right pay level? It didn’t matter if it meant mass failure. There was no way leadership could accept the company’s success coming from anyone other than the top brass.
Of course we all want to come up with the brain storm that sets our company’s revenue on fire. We’re all just humans playing business people. Some of us even go onto start our own businesses so we can finally make the calls.
The most successful business leaders find the best ideas because they’ve created a culture where creativity is encouraged and rewarded. It doesn’t matter to them if it wasn’t their idea and they’re always proud of their employee’s success.
Is this being lost? If your boss is a cultivator of creativity please let them know how cool they are in the comments.
My absolute favorite site for market research is owler. Every time I’m on there I can’t help but be amazed at how much capital some technology startups have received.
Here is my Top 10 List of Tech Startups for Acquiring Capital.
COMPANY YEARS TOTALCAPITAL # of EMP PER EMPLOYEE
Skybox 15 $280 Million 200 $1.4 Million
Deliveroo 5 $950 Million 160 $5.8 Million
Magicleap 7 $1.8 Billion 380 $4.7 Million
Kabbage 9 $1.6 BillIon 200 $8 Million
Houzz 8 $610 Million 260 $2.35 Million
Illumio 8 $268 Million 155 $1.7 Million
Rubrik 3 $292 Million 305 $957,000
Soundcloud 10 $460 Million 190 $2.4 Million
Draftkings 6 $705 Million 300 $2.35 Million
Instacart 5 $685 Million 230 $2.98 Million
IT ALL ADDS UP TO $8 BILLION INVESTED INTO 10 COMPANIES EMPLOYING 2400 PEOPLE.
APPLE STARTED WITH $1300.
If you haven’t made a cold call in at least the last 10 years, please stop advising about cold calling.
We see it everyday on LinkedIn. A thought leader strongly chiming in on an activity that they haven’t performed in a very long time. Possibly never.
This is an activity that can only be understood by those who are doing it. When you make comments or write articles, it is obvious to all of us performing this difficult skill that you don’t. Probably haven’t.
It’s not fear of rejection, it’s not laziness, it’s not what you think it is. If you want to understand what it is, then pick up the phone and make a cold call. Probably won’t.
Sorry, I normally don’t rant like this.
It always amazes me when people on social media admit they’re not willing to do every aspect of their job.
“I never take cold calls.”
“I only answer calls from people that I know.”
“I never listen to voicemails from sales people.”
Generally speaking, these decision makers are under the belief that they’re capable of doing their own research and thus have no need to speak to a sales person. This is an easy conclusion to make and I’d be withholding if I didn’t say that I’ve been guilty of this myself.
But in our tech driven business world, there is a ZERO percent chance that any decision maker is aware of everything that is out there for their company. We don’t know what we don’t know applies here.
Most sales people making cold calls are attempting to convey new information to a targeted decision maker. Every time they’re able to accomplish this it becomes easier and easier for them to pick up the phone.
Oddly enough, once a decision maker has been enlightened because of a cold call, it can become a lot easier for them to pick up the phone.
The cold call is hard for everyone because it’s COLD.
But finding gold is never easy, is it?
SALES PEOPLE EXPLAIN THINGS WAY BETTER THAN WEBSITES.
How often do you go to a website and leave having no idea what that company even provides?
One reason this happens is because the company has a technical message that’s difficult to convey with a website (i.e. videos, sales decks and discovery meetings).
In this case, a conversation by a sales person is really the only way to be certain you’ve effectively communicated your company’s value.
Yet there is an endless supply of companies in this position that are doing very little to create conversations.
If your website and inbound marketing aren’t getting the job done, it might be time to focus on SPEAKING WITH PEOPLE.
I know one way.
How are you creating conversations?
If you’re a sales person trying to improve your career and you could only endure reading one “how-to” book, I’d make it about COMMUNICATION.
One-on-one communication may be the most undervalued skill in the development of sales people.
Every sales team I’ve encountered, the best sales person was always the best communicator.
Of course they were motivated but their ability to communicate their company’s message made it seem like they weren’t working that hard.
If you have any recommendations for guides on COMMUNICATION please include them in the comments. My favorite will be there.
I keep seeing this dreary message on LinkedIn that more than half of all sales people are failing.
What’s really silly about this claim for me is that these people work for companies.
And sometimes companies don’t do so well.
Markets mature and competition increases.
Over time things can change and a sales person’s statistical performance can change with it.
Everyone is so quick to blame the people in this difficult profession but TIME OUT.
Just because the CEO of the company says the market is great, that doesn’t make it so.
Just because an investor thinks you need 400 SDRs, that doesn’t make it so.
In reality, there are a lot of good sales reps with little opportunity because of bad products or services, mature markets, stiff competition and probably a lot of other reasons.
So, let’s try to TAKE IT EASY on sales people with all this failing talk.
More than half of their companies may not be growing you know.
Companies that don’t cold call.
B2B companies that don’t perform any outbound cold calling have GIVEN UP on a major opportunity to open doors.
Even if all of the company’s marketing and sales tactics are working effectively you should never stop cold calling for these four reasons:
Cold Calling is Control – A sales person can contact a company at their discretion. There is no waiting for the prospect to maybe find your company on the internet.
Cold Calling is Critical – There is a portion of decision makers that are impossible to reach with anything other than the phone.
Cold Calling Changes Timing – Conversations allow sales people to impact the timing of purchases more so than any other form of sales communication.
Cold Calling is Constant – Cold callers can be consistently pursuing new business and decision makers.
Cold calling is one of the most complicated skills to manage in all of business. It’s hard for companies to find people willing to make cold calls and it’s even harder to develop those brave people into effective callers; especially if the company doesn’t have personnel already succeeding on the phone. These factors can push cold calling completely off the radar of business leaders as an unsolvable problem. It’s definitely not.
My first business partner was Chris “Weasel” Petersen when we were 10 years old. Our business model was simple; we were going to sell candy canes and oversized stick people in front of his house.
Weasel’s ties with a candy cane supplier and my access to scrap wood ensured us low startup costs. But like many ideas the business never came together because of a major logistical problem. Weasel lived three miles from my house and I couldn’t haul the 3 foot high wood figures on my bike.
Since the wood I acquired from my dad wasn’t exactly approved, asking my parents for help wasn’t an option. It wasn’t until I had five stick people ready-to-go that I realized my predicament.
After asking my older brother with a car for support, I quickly learned about monopolies and probably extortion.
After a few weeks of hiding the stick people, my dad finally discovered my inventory in our shed.
And just like that my business dream was over because he needed the wood.
What was your childhood business / dreams?
Thanks for reading, please share!
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About the Author
Matt Wanty is the Founder of Subroot and the Author of The Lost Art of Cold Calling. Recently launched Subroot is the latest sales tool to help reps reach more prospects and build a bigger sales funnel. In addition to writing a book on cold calling, Matt regularly shares posts on Linkedin, His sales content on cold calling, prospecting, sales career, SDRs and more has been read by millions of sales people around the world. Sign up below to receive Matt’s content directly to your inbox.