Cold call experiment continues

Following further ‘experiments’ in physical cold-calling, I think it is safe to say that the ‘surprise’ factor (shock and awe?) of doing something so very out of the ordinary (i.e. walking in off the street and asking for assistance from the receptionist in getting to talk to someone in their organisation) fails to engage. Worse still, the shock seems to trigger the organisations defences!

Admittedly I only tried very large companies – and the approach may work in smaller companies that still function on a human scale – but clearly such a direct approach to large targets is futile. A more informed approach is required, I think. The need to “have a name” was apparent – many receptionists don’t actually know who does what these days.

So, how to get “a name”? The company website may offer the names of the executive – seeking that person will likely garner you their PA. But that probably only works if you want to go to the very top as your opening gambit – and in many cases, those folk are based in another country. Perhaps a Google search – with sufficient search criteria to narrow it to the country and role you seek? This too largely fails, invariably you will get hundreds, if not thousands of results – almost all of which are job ads, or news articles about sexual harassment, with names withheld to protect the innocent!

The ‘social network’ might be next. You are looking for a name you don’t have – so Facebook won’t work. Linked-in it is then. Linked-in provides a fairly useful search function which, whilst inclined to overwhelm you with options (some relevant) does provide profile info that you may use to further refine your search. Of course, it can only find folk who are themselves members of Linked-in, and it doesn’t give you a phone number or email contact – but it does offer a linked-in connect request. I personally won’t send a connect request unless I’ve met (or at least spoken to) the person -I just think it’s rude and smacks if spam. Anyway, the key outcome is that you have a ‘name’ so you can call the organisation and ask for an individual (not a role) and hopefully the human firewall will revert to ‘maven’ and connect you up. Or will they?

Published by Malcolm Duffield

Malcolm Duffield provides advanced high-level sales coaching, ‘basic sales training’ and sales training for pre-sales and post-sales engineering staff. In ways markedly different to the typical classroom lecture approach. Like the game of ‘Go’ – selling is strategically complex, nuanced and more dependent on intuition than process. Sales – process alone is no guarantee of success because customers are humans, are fiendishly complex, intuitive and need to be met on their terms. Humans need to interact rather than merely transact. They have many needs, wants and aspirations – not all clearly stated. Having a proposal that is a good fit to the stated need is a start. Having a price that’s in the ball park will also help – but what will invariably make the difference between success and failure will be our ability to understand, connect with and provide value to the customer as a person. Focused primarily on IT sales, where solution and value, but above all human connection through respect, integrity and empathy, have to be brought together to win high-value deals - it would appear that other 'capital acquisitions' benefit from a similar approach. I have 30 years experience in such sales, and know what works and what doesn't work.