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Cold Calling is a Journey, not a Destination

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Let’s not kid ourselves, cold calling can be a miserable experience. If it’s quiet in the office, I tell our salespeople to get on the phone and start cold calling….and they groan. If not done the right way, cold calling is just prone to failure.

But cold calling, when done correctly, is an efficient way to bring new leads into the pipeline. It is predictable, it is profitable and it works.

Just like any skill, cold calling requires some practice…and, after that, it’s a numbers game.

So, before you let your staff off the hook when they whine and say that cold calling doesn’t work, remember that a cold calling campaign requires testing and tweaking, the same way that we test and tweak any direct marketing program until we get it right.

Because if we can up the response rate just 1%.....wow!

Here’s a real-life B2B Case Study from Beep DVM:
“We had a client that purchased lists from a data broker based on location, size, industry, and title – the perfect prospects. They called with an offer to share how their service saved time and money through a multi-touch cold calling campaign. They had a 0.5% meeting rate, and they declared the campaign (not the calling) a failure.

Revisiting what they could test, they changed two items:

• Added an additional filter/trigger: Use of a specific technology they noticed other clients used
• Changed the value proposition of the call: Offered a best practices discussion vs. a services
Overview

These two changes resulted in a jump from 0.5% meetings set to 4% (and growing) – an eight-fold
increase!”

One caveat, make sure you are testing a large enough sample to make this meaningful.

In a recent article, I wrote about direct mail response and how it’s important to learn from our results. Same holds true with cold calling.

If you get response like:
“I don’t know what you’re talking about”
“Our company doesn’t do that”

This tells you to revisit your list criteria and make some changes in the SICs or contact titles.

But, if you get responses like:
“We just bought from a competitor”
“I’m too busy right now, try me in a few weeks”

Think again - While these responses also seem negative (not to mention they didn’t buy anything), at least we know we’re getting close to the right target -maybe our timing is wrong, maybe we need to tweak our script a bit more….but we are learning something that will help us improve our campaign for the future.

Cemetery Sales

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 I am a relatively new cemeterian. We have had a rather passive pre-need program with a single person in the office handling sales.  We are now looking to expand that with 2-3 people handling sales/family service.  Are there any tips on how to best keep employees motivated and comfortable with each other, while sharing in commissions and keeping the office organized. Suddenly I have people diving to answer the phone thinking it might be someone they can sell something to.  Also, if people start with a family at the time of an at-need burial, but then that family would come in on a day that a different person is the primary on-call, what has worked best to be fair, keep employees comfortable, and yet reward those that hustle the most for the business?  Any suggestions.  Thank you as this is my first ICCFA Blog and hopefully I am doing this right.

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