I love my dog. She is beautiful, smart, loyal, well behaved, funny, a good dancer, and concerned for my well-being. In fact, she is the most wonderful dog in the world. When I walk her, people sometimes stop me to admire her and ask what type of dog she is. ”She’s a Leagle,” I say. Quick intake of breath. They ask, “Why is she illegal?”
What do dogs have to do with cold calling, you ask? Have patience. I’m getting to that.
When I walk my dog with friends who have “purebreds,” sometimes people will stop my friends to say, “What a beautiful ____!” (Lab, Springer, Pug, or Chessie). When we walk with friends with mixed breeds, occasionally complete strangers will spend enormous amounts of time crouched down to admire the lab on basset hound legs or the tall black dog with Irish Setter wisps. I am regularly surprised and horrified when my dog takes a back seat to the others during these encounters. She, however, doesn’t seem to care.
I am curious about many things, and because there is time during walks to ponder, I decided to count to find out how many people who pass by admire any dog, and of those, how many admire my dog. Note, I walk my dog along many routes, in various locations, at different times of day, so this analysis includes a diverse set of passersby.
About one in twenty times, someone will verbalize a positive comment about a dog. The rest ignore them. When people admire dogs, the purebreds and the combination breeds are admired at about the same rate. Which mixed breed is most popular? That’s up for grabs. Surprisingly, only 2% of the time did people admire my dog. Of those encounters, a mere quarter of them bent down to admire her fully. Because I love my dog, and firmly believe she is the best in the world, I am shocked by this result.
That’s the thing about cold calling. The results are shockingly low. Whether you are calling to set up meetings or close sales, you have to get someone on the phone and then convince them to stay on the phone long enough to hear your name, your business, and the purpose of the call. Even then, you may find they prefer another brand. Or, they may find your business proposition unattractive. No matter who you are nor how much you like cold calling, the chances of having your offer admired fully on a regular basis are very low.
Yet, you react like I do when my dog is not given her due. Think how much easier cold calling could be if your response was more like that of my dog. I don’t mean you should sniff the lamppost or roll in the grass, but just take all that rejection in stride. It isn’t personal. These people don’t know you or your company. It’s a numbers game. Call enough people, follow a proven script and you’ll make some sales. Improve your script or the delivery, and you’ll make more. Nearly every one of the more than 100 entrepreneurs I interviewed said that they had to take “no’s” in stride, and just keep on working on getting a “yes.” And, they all got “yes’s” eventually.
While you’re calling, you might try keeping a tally. How many times did you get voicemail? How many hangups? How many people were indignant? How many were polite, but bored? How many did you have in the palm of your hand, when you couldn’t overcome one of their objections. And how many did you close? Go ahead and write it down. You see? It’s a numbers game! It isn’t about you, remember. It’s about calling enough times to find that one out there who will listen, who needs what you have, and who will make a purchase decision. They’re out there! You just have to find them. And every “no” brings you closer to one of them. And, if you do keep a tally, I would love to know the numbers!
It’s time to walk the dog. I’ll enjoy her oblivion regarding the passersby. In due time, someone will bend down to pat her head and tell her she’s beautiful. And maybe even give her a biscuit!
All the best,
This post was originally posted in January 2012. Reposting is a response to many recent questions about cold calling.