By Frank Costantino, Butler Street contributor and former Managing Partner
In today’s day and age, there should never be a “cold call.” Back when I was working full-time for Butler Street, I had a very important meeting with someone I never met. Traditionally, I guess you could define this as a “cold call”. I don’t know about you, but I graduated past cold calling many years ago. Actually, I realistically can’t think of a circumstance where I would be in a cold call setting.
Case in point:
My meeting was with Joe Minor. I didn’t know Joe, except for the fact that he has elevated himself to Chairman of an organization that could provide numerous opportunities for me and Butler Street Consulting. Again, in the days of old, pretty much a cold call.
Let’s warm this baby up!
1. With all of the social media available today, there is a no-brainer starting point. I am not really a Facebook guy and I don’t Tweet (both TMI) so I log on to LinkedIn and search for Joe. The first thing that pops up is a picture of Joe. Looks about my age. Well dressed. Full head of hair (I won’t hold that against him!)
What else did I learn?
2. Joe is a graduate of the same school my oldest son attended. A bit of a difference in age, so they would not know each other, but I know all about that institution and its culture. Already I am starting to think about the “commonality” I could bring to an opening discussion. Maybe, like my son, Joe participated in their renowned study abroad program.
3. Joe’s work history shows that for six years he was employed at a company that was a client of mine, coincidentally in the same office complex on the west coast. More opportunity to engage dialogue. It’s been a number of years, but I could try to dig further into this prior to my meeting with my former relationships.
4. Look at this! Joe is a second connection to one of my Butler Street partners through a client we have in Florida. What are the probabilities of this? This call is warming up, nicely!
5. Joe doesn’t appear to be a sports guy, so I don’t need to memorize all of the Sunday stats and start with OMG, did you see Georgia blow out TCU 65-7?
6. What about Joe’s hobbies? I see that he is a member of the local Rotary Club. I don’t know much about what Rotarians do, but I do know that my neighbor’s picture is in the newspaper every other week with other members of the club involved in community service. No doubt, he knows Joe. I will definitely knock on his door.
Here’s the bottom line: I learned an awful lot about Joe just with a few clicks at my desk. When I completed my prep, this meeting had no resemblance to a cold call, and I knew so much about this guy that the call started warm and we went on to build a very strong relationship. Why? I did the work necessary to invest in that relationship.
Researching your client is only the beginning of the process necessary to properly plan for a sales call. At Butler Street, we use and teach a Call Planning Process and Worksheet in our training programs - both online as well as virtual and onsite - that will provide you with a methodology to eliminate any “cold” situations. Moreover, we will properly help you elevate your position with both new and existing clients. Click contact to learn how my friends at Butler Street can help you and your people grow.