When Do I Give Up?
Ed sent an email with an excellent question we all struggle with from time to time.
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
“One issue I struggle with is knowing when to cut bait on cold-calling clients with whom I don't have a relationship and have never had a business conversation. Is there an average number of maximum cold calls (phone and visit) that if made and the contact still isn't established should indicate it’s time to stop wasting energy? Thank you!”
The answer is not an easy one because there are many factors. Let’s start with some questions:
What put them on your radar in the first place? Why do you feel like they are a viable client worthy of your investment of time? What do you know about them at this moment, without talking to them that leads you to believe you can help?
Harsh reality: They are not returning your calls because you have not given them a compelling reason. In other words, you have not demonstrated enough "value" in whatever contact you've had to cause them to invest the time to return the call. Please, don't take offense; I've cautioned that it was harsh, but look at your own personal experience. What calls do you return? People you know or things that have relevance, significance and value in your life. Calls that don’t meet those criteria don't get returned. Clients are people too. If you’re having trouble getting calls returned, I would encourage you to answer the questions that we posed up front. Start your contact with the client on that basis. Tell them why you are calling, what you have done to prepare for the call and why you think you can help.
In my experience, you must answer questions that every client has when taking a call from someone they don’t know.
Who are you?
Why are you calling me? (Valid Business Reason)
What’s in it for me? (Pay-off)
How long is this going to take?
Want more calls returned? Stop making cold calls. Try doing more pre-call planning before you make the call. Anticipate the client’s questions. The more curiosity, value and interest you can establish prior to making the call, the more likely you will be able to have the call returned or accepted.
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.