"May I speak with the business owner?"
The number on my cell phone screen suggested the call was local. When I answered I was met by a long period of silence. Just as I was about to hang up I heard, "May I speak with the business owner?"
The call was definitely not local.
I was so gone. The cold caller had no chance to respond. They didn't deserve my time. Every ounce of my being was behind my pointer finger as I immediately hung up.
I thought to myself how sad as a salesperson it must be to have a:
- Sales job that allows this kind of mindless approach to prospecting.
- Sales manager who does not care to or does not have the skills to provide better script coaching.
Perhaps I should have allowed the call to continue long enough to ask the caller if they have access to LinkedIn in their country.
I wondered how disappointing a sales manager must feel if they are unable find the kind of salespeople capable of thinking beyond such a futile cold calling script.
A "Hail Mary" prayer is powerful.
A "Hail Mary" anything outside of prayer is an act of desperation and is anything but powerful.
Consider the "Hail Mary pass" in American football. The "Hail Mary pass" is a very long forward pass accompanied by a prayer that the pass be received and not intercepted.
Beginning a call with, "May I speak with the business owner?" is the "Hail Mary" of sales prospecting. It is an act of desperation, not respect.
Use LinkedIn to make respectful non-desperate cold calls.
I am always interested in learning how to make and save money. Some of the best ways to do so have come via a call.
The key to getting through to me is respect. I will take calls from respectful salespeople who take the time to understand who I am as a human being prior to dialing. A cold call from a salesperson who says, "I was just on your website and LinkedIn profile. We need to talk. I believe I can help you with..." will earn my attention for at least a few minutes.
Clearly getting to know a prospect takes valuable time. If it is clear that a cold-calling salesperson is not willing to invest time into me then I reciprocate by ending the call as quickly as possible.
Better yet... Combine LinkedIn with solid inbound content marketing.
Combine strong content that makes your target persona(s) think and engage them on LinkedIn. Then combine with strategic cold calling for best results.
Hire the kind of salespeople who do not resort to Hail Mary cold calling.
If you are unable to hire the kind of salespeople it takes to make cold calls that matter, then you will keep getting what you have always gotten.
If you insist on using an outbound sales prospecting strategy, strongly consider hiring the kind of salespeople who can actually do it well. Use a valid sales personality test to ensure you are actually hiring a salesperson who can prospect.