“Cold calls are God’s punishment for not having a full pipeline.”
A client said this to me. I love it. He gave me permission to use it because he’s pretty sure he filched it from another salesperson. So, with credit to whoever said it first, I share this phrase because it’s instructive for sales people. Now God likely doesn’t care about your SalesForce pipeline. It’s also common sales wisdom that you’re more productive making warm calls to referrals versus cold calls to strangers. Make “warm” calls if you can; make “cold” calls if you must. OK, we all get that. But let’s talk about the upside of making cold calls and why we encourage new commercial insurance brokers (producers) to make cold calls.
Here are 10 reasons to stop procrastinating and to make cold calls today.
1. Time is available. When you’re a new producer, you typically have zero clients to service and thus plenty of time to call strangers. If you can’t block one hour in the morning and one hour in the late afternoon — when the business owners and CFOs are working and their gatekeepers are not — you’re cheating yourself of the opportunity to set appointments with prospects.
2. It’s a productive activity. Sure, you should prospect by networking and referrals since these methods are effective and efficient – but cold calling is still a productive activity. If you have time available (and as a new producer. you do – see point 1) then making batches of cold calls is a better use of your time than doing busywork during business hours.
3. Improve your sales skills. Cold calling demands that you learn how to engage quickly with strangers (and gatekeepers), how to concisely tell your story and why you’re different and better, and how to be interesting enough to cajole a stranger to meet you face-to-face. The sheer volume and repetition of cold calling helps you to build your overall confidence and sales acumen.
4. Practice in a low risk environment. Want to test a new pitch or a radical new approach? Are you pretty sure that you don’t know what the hell you are doing yet? Cold call prospects that you don’t even care about meeting!
5. Have fun. Laugh off the rejection, your (often) clumsy calls, and your (often) pathetic voicemail messages — which you know will never be returned. Cold calling is correctly perceived as a low probability exercise — so relax, smile and make another call.
6. Reinforce good sales discipline. Get in the office early and stay late to do your cold calls. Write down your daily and weekly cold call targets and track your activity. In the beginning, when you’re building a starter pipeline and your sales are less frequent, you need to reinforce that you’re accomplishing the right daily activities. Like that feeling after a good workout, you’ll feel better after a good batch of cold calls, regardless of the outcome.
7. Sharpen your networking and referral prospecting. Cold calling helps you to test and hone your sales proposition into a concise, easy-to-say and easy-to-understand message that you can use in networking and asking for referrals.
8. Your competitors are making cold calls. If you don’t make the next cold call, your competitor who will gets the new business appointment instead of you. (Alternative thought: my competitor is NOT making cold calls so the prospects are waiting for mine!).
9. Set appointments. Maintain an even keel, a high energy level, be yourself, and keep grinding through your cold calls and, lo and behold, you will inevitably convince a stranger to meet you face-to-face. When you do, recognize that you got an appointment BECAUSE YOU COLD CALLED! It’s one more prospect meeting than you would have had — but for cold calling. And please don’t buy into any nonsense that a cold call is a lower quality prospect than one you get through networking or a referral – there’s no hard evidence behind that assertion and you don’t need this head trash deterring you from making cold calls.
10. Win new clients. Here’s the best reason: some of the strangers you cold call will ultimately become your clients. Really, it does happen. You win and get the client — AND YOUR COMPETITOR LOSES AND DOES NOT. Isn’t victory sweet?!