EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 1, 2012

Forget about cold calling, just eat your spinach

Sales Moves
Jeffrey Gitomer

---- — “That’s all I can stands. I can’t stands no more!”

When Popeye the Sailorman says that, a can of spinach appears out of nowhere, he pops it open, and downs it to gain amazing strength. Then he beats up Bluto and rescues Olive Oil.

Well, I’m grabbing my can of spinach because I can’t stands no more! I just read an article referencing the “Seven Secrets to Cold Calling Success” originally written by a chef turned financial planner.

QUESTION: Cold calling is so dead, why are salespeople still doing it?

ANSWER: Their boss makes them, or they haven’t figured out a way to make meaningful connections without being annoying.

I’ll save you the trouble of trying to find the article. Here are the seven “secrets”:

1. Plan Ahead.

2. Investigate Before You Call.

3. Seek Out a Personal Connection.

4. Get Information Before You Give It.

5. Get Out of Your Chair and in Front of a Mirror.

6. Keep Careful Records.

7. Use Referrals in Your Voice Mail Message.

HELP ME! Where are the secrets? Maybe it’s a “Where’s Waldo?” game. Yeah, that’s the secret, er, I mean the ticket.

QUALIFICATION AND REQUEST: Please do not email me and drone on about how cold calling works. It doesn’t work 97-99 out of 100 times. It’s the most rejection-laden sales process in existence and the cause of more depression, low self-esteem, reluctance, avoidance, and disappointment than any other sales strategy I have ever seen (or used).

Excessive rejection from cold calling turns you into another Popeye character: Whimpy, foolishly begging for a hamburger and offering nothing in return.

This article will give you alternative smart ways to make positive connections. And be advised: they are NON-secrets. Rather, they are obvious strategies that you can easily and enjoyably employ. But they require work.

If there’s a secret:

It’s to attract new customers, not provoke them.

It’s to build value-based relationships with existing customers, not ignore them.

It’s to be proactive in a positive way, not call and ask, “Who’s in charge?

It’s to approach the process of getting new customers in a better, smarter way, because there is no worse or dumber way than cold calling.

Here’s my eat-your-spinach plan for you, the 7.5 one-a-day strategies that will earn you 10 times what the cold call will produce, build your reputation, and keep your customers loyal:

1. Visit one customer a day. Talk to the people that love you and already buy from you. Find out why they do and ask them if you can record it on your smart phone. Video is best. Just a documented minute about their “why.” NOTE WELL: If you are reluctant to do this, it,s because your relationship with the customer is weak or non-existent.

2. Have coffee with one customer a day. Start your day at 7 a.m. Build the relationship. Talk family. Share passions and goals. Look for ways to help. Look for ways to connect again. DO NOT ASK FOR BUSINESS OR REFERRALS. Keep it social.

3. Give one referral a day. This is a revelation, and an overlooked golden opportunity to most salespeople. Think of the WOW your customer will have when you refer business to them and think of the value you’ll build at the end of a year.

4. Attend one face-to-face networking event a day. Don’t just show up. Show up prepared. Meet new people. Get involved in the group. Give a speech on the value of giving value. This will help you become known as a person of value.

5. Make a wish list of five potential customers and post a daily value message for them. Incorporate your prospects and your customers into your outreach. When you name them by name, their search will uncover YOU!

6. Get business social media savvy. Write and tag every day. Post one customer compliment a day. Post one idea every day.

7. Start a meaningful blog. Something that can give valuable information to those you seek to connect with. Start by posting the qualities of your best customers. Feature them, not you.

7.5 Wake up and write. It’s the foundation of your messaging and communication success. It’s been my personal secret for the past 20 years -- and I plan to do the same for the next 20.

The big secret is, you gotta do everything on the spinach list. That’s the “work” part. The good news is it’s all positive work. It’s career building, value building, reputation building, relationship building, sales building, attitude building, pride building, and success building work. All the things cold calling is NOT, and will never be.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Bluto.

Want a few more non-cold-calling ideas? Go to www.gitomer.com and enter the words WASTE OF TIME in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible,” “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, “ “The Little Red Book of Selling” and other books. His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training, seminars, and webinars -- or email him personally at salesman@gitomer.com.