Author Topic: Ask the Author Series: Featuring Joanne Black, Author of No More Cold Calling  (Read 1702 times)

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Ask the Author Series: Featuring Joanne Black, Author of No More Cold Calling (Part 2 of 2)
by Brian Bachofner

AuthorSeriesJoanneBlackPt2 (2)

How can you turn customers and contacts into rich sources for referrals? In Part I of this blog series, we launched ?Ask the Author? with Joanne Black and shared insights from her new book, Pick Up the Damn Phone! How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal. In Part 2, we?re happy to reveal tips from her ground-breaking book, No More Cold Calling.  Below are insights from Joanne Black on how to leverage referral selling and leave your competition in the dust.

In your first book, No More Cold Calling, you defined ?cold calling? as reaching out to someone who does not know you and as is not expecting your call. Does that definition still hold up in the days of social media?

Absolutely! Salespeople often convince themselves they?re making ?warm? calls because they?ve done a little research or have bought lists. But unless you know the prospect or have a referral introduction from someone that person knows and trusts ?you?re cold calling.

With social media, there?s a new version of what I call the ?warm call fantasy.? You?ve researched prospects on social media, and identified trigger events and mutual connections on LinkedIn. You send emails making the business case for why they should talk to you. You really believe you?re not cold calling, because you know all about your prospects and maybe have a few common connections on social media. Your outreach isn't cold, right?

Wrong! There?s no such thing as a warm email, a warm phone call, or even a warm knock on the door. Whether you buy lists, send direct mail, drop off brochures (yes, that still happens), or send email to people who don?t know you, you're cold calling. And cold prospects really don't want to hear from you.

Social media is a great way to do research about prospects and to find out how you're connected. Then reach out to your mutual connections and have a conversation. Find out if they actually know the person you want to meet. Some people accept every request to connect, so just because they?re ?friends? on Facebook doesn?t mean they actually have a relationship. Then share with your referral sources why you want an introduction.

Eighty-four percent of executives say they usually or always accept calls from salespeople who have been recommended by a trusted colleague. Get that referral introduction, and your lead goes from freezing cold to hot, hot, hot. You'll get to walk straight into meetings with your ideal prospects, while your competitors are still trying to identify the decision-makers.

What?s your view of Social Selling?

My colleague, Jim Blasingame, The Small Business Advocate, says: ?Face-to-face is the original social media.? I love that!

Social-selling tools can be very valuable, making it easier and more efficient to do homework on prospects before we connect with them. In fact, when sales reps use the right social-selling approach?meaning to conduct research and find mutual connections, not to connect with or pitch clients?they are 25 to 50 percent more likely to get in front of prospects, according to a study by Social Centered Selling and A Sales Guy Consulting.

However, you can arm yourself with all the social intelligence available on a prospect, but this isn't likely to give you an advantage over your competitors, who have probably done their research too. What will set you apart from the rest and get you in front of the decision-maker hasn't changed a bit; it's still a personal connection and a referral from someone the client trusts.

Yes, use technology, but don't rely on it to make a sale.

What advice would you give to senior marketing and sales executives?

    Avoid pounding your team with numbers, numbers, and numbers to the point where they're desperate. (Everyone can sense desperation.)
    Stop the cold emails and cold calls?mindless activities that don't build relationships or close deals.
    Make sure your sales teams know how to have executive-level conversations. Don't just give them a phone, a list, and a password and have them go at it.
    Now is the time to aggressively build a 2014 pipeline. If deals aren't in your pipeline now, they have little likelihood of closing before year-end.
    Focus on the activities that matter. Don't get sucked into the digital snake-oil universe. Make connections that count.
    Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, told the 2012 graduating class of Boston University: "Take one hour a day and turn that thing off. Take your eyes off that screen and look into the eyes of the person you love. Have a conversation, a real conversation." I challenge all salespeople to do the same.
    Never stop nurturing your referral network. Referral selling is the only business-development strategy that converts prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. So keep in touch, keep those relationships strong, and ask for referrals. Bottom line: If you don?t ask, you don?t get.

About Joanne Black

Joanne Black is America?s leading authority on referral selling?the only business-development strategy proven to convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. As the founder of No More Cold Calling, Joanne helps salespeople, sales teams, and business owners build their referral networks, attract more business, decrease operating costs, and ace out the competition. She is the author of NO MORE COLD CALLING?: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust and Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal. To learn more, visit www.NoMoreColdCalling.com, email [email protected], or call 415-461-8763.

Plus, get your copy of Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. Or get the digital version for your Kindle or Nook.